More likely than not, all that you really know about Theodore Roosevelt is that he liked bears, softly carried sticks around, and built a big canal. While these things are true, History fails us by only emphasizes these points.
The important thing to remember is this: Teddy Roosevelt was more awesome than you will ever be.
Of course there are commonly known stories about the 26th President of the United States of America. Of course he was a war hero. Of course he inspired one of the most popular children’s toys ever. Of course he was notoriously charismatic and could get along with a brick wall. Everyone knows these accomplishments.
Most people don’t realize that he lived his entire life by the motto “Be awesome or die trying” (copyright 2011 The GBOAT)
The Greatest Blog Of All Time presents the first post in a series on Theodore Roosevelt.
The story of Theodore Roosevelt is a true American story. After all, it’s about facing the odds and coming out on top. It is the true underdog story. It epitomizes everything The Greatest Nation On Earth is about.
And it all starts with some scrawny kid with asthma.
The only thing Teddy had going for him as a child was that his family was fairly wealthy. But even that was sort of mocking, as he a had a large house he couldn’t enjoy, as he was super sickly. He often had to sleep propped up or sometimes slouched in a chair. The dude basically had your allergy problems, but on steroids.
But instead of sitting around whining about it, Teddy jumped out of that bed and started just straight thuggin’ it with nature.
As a 7 year old, he found a dead seal in the nearby marketplace. There is no explanation as to what the seal was doing there. But Teddy saw this gross dead seal and did what any 7 year old would do.
He took the seals head home and made a museum.
After learning some taxidermy, little sick Teddy (sick could mean many things here) would kill animals, stuff them, and put them in his homemade Roosevelt Museum of Natural History.
Besides his hobby of stuffing dead things, Teddy took up boxing as a very obvious metaphor for his battle against his weaknesses. Boxing carried on to his college days at Harvard, where he rowed, edited a student magazine, and came in second in the Harvard boxing championship.
After graduating, a doctor advised Teddy that because of serious heart problems, he should just find a desk job somewhere and avoid strenuous activity. Teddy said something along the lines of “Okay cool. I’m just gonna TOTALLY ignore that and be awesome now” and promptly became the youngest person to serve on the New York State Assembly.
Oh by the way, Teddy Roosevelt got a Harvard education. Not sure if you caught that part. He had a photographic memory meant he could be memorizing details of a book while still dictating multiple letters to separate people at the same time.
He was tougher than you AND smarter than you.
However, Teddy Roosevelt was not some reckless muscle-man. He was close to his parents and siblings, considered his late father to be the greatest man he ever knew, and also was happily married. When his wife and mother died on the very same day, Teddy wrote a massive “X” in his diary, along with the words “The light has gone out of my life.”
Then, like a badass, he never spoke about his wife again in public, because she meant that much to him.
Along with that, he had already developed a love for history, specifically war history. And even more specifically, naval warfare. While at Harvard, he started writing a book, entitled The Naval War of 1812, which was published soon after his graduation.
The book was an instant success. Modern historians still praise it, some 130 years later. Teddy was just like “Whatevs” and kept on keeping on in politics, though.
However, the stress of losing loved ones, combined with his clashing with what the the Republican party stood for at the time, led Teddy to become disillusioned with politics. After some deep debates with his good friend Henry Cabot Lodge, Teddy decided to just ditch everything, move out west, and become a cowboy.
By 1884, Teddy Roosevelt had overcome sickness to become a very strong man, earned a Harvard degree, published a highly successful book, enrolled at Columbia law school, dropped out of Columbia law school cause he was already awesome enough to get into politics, dropped out of politics because he was already awesome enough to get bored with it, and become a cowboy.
By the way, he was 26 years old.
What in the world had you accomplished by 26?