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   All right boys and girls, it's story time. So sit back, perk up, and listen as I tell ya about the roughest, toughest, rootinest tootinest son of a bitch who ever set foot in the western hemisphere. A man so tough that he raised his own army and freed the Cubans. A man so noble that he stood for conservation at the height of the Industrial Revolution (ensuring that he would always have animals to kill). A man so butch that, when his wife died, he didn't cry like a pussy; he moved to the badlands and became a rancher/lawman. Oh, and let's not forget that time he stabbed a cougar through the heart.
   Soldier. Historian. Nobel Prize winner! Genius?! President of the United States!?! This man was SEVERE. I know what you're thinking: who the hell could I possibly be talking about? Surely no U.S. President has ever had such raw, masculine energy. Jefferson? A bookworm sissy-boy. Washington? An overrated prick. Lincoln? Oh, don't even get me started. No, kids, I'm talking about the one man who embodied the idea of America better than anyone ever has, or ever is likely to again. I'm talking about the one man in modern history who became a legend in his own lifetime. I'm talking about one of the only men who DESERVED to have his face carved into a fucking mountain. I'm talking about the one man who just might kick Julius Caesar's ass. Who am I talking about? Teddy. Fucking. Roosevelt.
   I know what youíre saying to yourself, "Teddy Roosevelt? WTF? Wasnít he like that guy with the moustache and the big stick? He couldnít be that cool. Hell, he wasnít even as cool as Franklin Roosevelt. I mean, dude, FDR was like a cripple, and stuff, and like, he beat up Hitler, right?" To which the only thing I have to say is "SHUT THE HELL UP!" because itís obvious that you donít know anything. Itís sad but true that nowadays TR is all but forgotten when compared to his cousin Franklin, and, yeah, FDR was certainly a stone cold badass, but he got lucky, what with having the Great Depression and WWII to deal with.
   But did Franklin Roosevelt go blind in one eye after a boxing match in the White House? Hell no. Did Franklin Roosevelt get word that he was about to become president of the United States while he was in the middle of climbing a mountain? Of course not. Did Franklin Roosevelt regularly swim naked in the Potomac River during the winter while president just to stay tough? Youíre damn right no. Do you want to know why (and, NO, it was not because he had polio)? It was because he wasnít Teddy Roosevelt. In fact no one else in history has ever been Teddy Roosevelt. Well, except for his dad. He was Teddy Roosevelt Senior, but thatís not important, because even though he was a badass, he wasnít TR. Yeah, thatís it, no one else in history has ever been TR, and thatís a good thing too, because if everyone were TR, then no one would ever die. Now youíre probably asking yourself, "What do you mean no one would die? TR died. If everyone were TR theyíd still die too, right?" Well, no, youíre wrong you see, because TR is not dead, but, well, never mind . . . Alright, I think Iíve made my point, so letís get down to it.
   Theodore "Moustaches are Manly" Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858 in New York City to a family of means. In the beginning, he gave little indication of the awesomeness yet to come. He was asthmatic and sickly, and for most of his childhood, he had to sleep sitting up. At the age of seven, however, young Teddy saw a dead seal in a local market and thus committed his first awesome act: He acquired the seal's head, learned taxidermy, and founded his own museum filled with animals which he caught and stuffed. He completed this phase of his career at age nine when he published his first scholarly article, "The Natural History of Insects."
   But his father was not content that his son was merely a genius, he knew Teddy had to be tough as nails as well, so he taught him to box and made him do push-ups. This inspired Teddy, and he decided to murder all his ailments with a little old-fashioned hard work (and lots of murder). Thus, Teddy took up boxing, tennis, hiking, rowing, polo, and horseback riding. By the time he was eighteen, he was the toughest human being alive.
   Up until this time, Teddy was home schooled by private tutors, because no primary or secondary school could possibly keep pace with him. Now that he was a man, however, he knew he needed to go to college and kick its ass if he was to ensure that his genius kept up with his toughness.
   Well now, it's question time, boys and girls: What was the only college that Teddy could possibly go to, the only one that could challenge him enough to reach new heights of awesomeness? Why, Harvard, of course, and if any of you Yale men disagree, itís only because youíre pussies. At Harvard, Teddy did all the usual stuff: Whipped ass in his classes, joined clubs, edited magazines, graduated with honors, and came second place in a boxing tournament (it should be noted here, kids, that his second place finish in no way represents a lack of awesomeness, Teddy was merely demonstrating the superiority of good-sportsmanship, kind of like Jesus).
   I should stop for a minute here kids to tell you just how severely awesome was Teddy's intellect. He had a photographic memory and devoured books like they were candy-covered steaks. He always talked with the smartest people, and he was capable of dictating to two secretaries at the same time while reading a book or letter. It is said that Teddy Roosevelt read over 10,000 books in his lifetime. In a list of the smartest people who ever lived, Teddy ranks right up there with Isaac Newton and Julius Caesar.
   When Teddy graduated from Harvard, he decided to go to law school, but upon finding in tremendously dull (like all self-respecting bad asses), he decided to write his first book, a history book, "The Naval War of 1812," still considered the best on the subject. Eventually, he decided to drop out of law school and become a politician. He was elected assemblyman for New York State in 1881. Teddy was active in politics for several years, and a Republican to boot, giving him mad street cred in those days.
   Tragedy struck, however, on February 14, 1884 when both his wife and mother died. His father had also died a few years earlier, when he was in college, and he was very close to all three of them, so itís safe to say he was pretty devastated. But this wasnít any ordinary person; this was TR, and nothing could keep him down. So after an acceptable and private grieving, Teddy did the only manly thing: He gave up politics and moved to the Badlands to raise cattle. After learning how to rope and ride, among other things, Teddy took to keeping the peace. One story (among many others, I assure you) involved tracking three outlaws in a stolen boat and bringing them back across country for trial.
   After a brutal winter killed all his cows (but not Teddy: he loved the cold. In fact, one of his favorite hobbies ĖĖ besides reading, ranching, politicking, and boxing ó was naked winter river swimming) he decided that while many a badass lived out in the Old West, he needed to flex his intellectual muscle again, plus he needed a new wife. To this end, he returned to New York, ran for governor for the hell of it, and when he lost (only because his heart wasn't in it, of course), he went to London and married his childhood sweetheart. He knew better than anyone, though, that women like a man to play hard to get, so he decided to climb Mount Blanc during their honeymoon, just to make sure she knew how to live without him.

   Returning to America, Ol' TR took to scholarly pursuits for a while, writing historical pieces for magazines and also a four-volume history of the Old West. By the end of the 1880s, he was viewed as a major American thinker and had been elected president of the American Historical Association. This would not be the last time that "president" and "Teddy Roosevelt" would appear together; he was simply too severely awesome to avoid it.
   History scholars rarely make history, though (they merely catalogue it), and Teddy knew that that was not for him. He boldly struck back into public life, working on the United States Civil Service Commission under Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland. In 1895, Roosevelt became president of the New York Board of Police Commissioners (presidency number two!). It's easy to see why he made the move: civil servants are lame; cops are cool.
   As in all things he did, Teddy revolutionized the way a police department was run. He made officers pass a physical fitness test, he installed telephones in the offices, he employed an expert marksman to teach his officers how to shoot, and just for the hell of it, he used to keep tabs on his officers by walking their late night/early morning beats, making sure to keep them on their toes.
   This was one of the most active periods in his always active life, so Teddy left the New York Police Board almost as soon as he joined it (after leaving everyone far more badass than they had already been, of course) and immediately was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy (1897). If you've been reading carefully, kids, you probably surmised that TR was a big fan of the navy, and Hey! youíd be right. Days after taking up his post, he was already pushing for a bigger, better navy. He knew that the world was changing, and that a powerful navy would spell the difference in American influence and power worldwide. He had just enough time to explain this to the country, when America went to war with Spain. This was Teddy's opportunity to test his mettle, so what did he do? That's right: he resigned his cushy office job, joined the fucking army and raised his own regiment of cowboys and former ivy leaguers to go to Cuba and fight. Of course, just about everyone thought he was fucking insane, and yeah, if it was anyone else, it would be a sure sign of madness, but once again, this wasnít anybody; it was TR. For him, it was absolutely natural to go to war because that was the true test of a manís mettle. It was the only way he could really demonstrate his awesomeness. Sure he had money. Sure he had a nice cushy desk job and was set for life. Sure he was a nationally recognized historian. Sure he had single-handedly revolutionized the idea of a police department. Sure he had a beautiful wife and loving children. Sure he had climbed a fuck ton of mountains. Sure he spoke three languages. But it wasnít enough. He had to go to war.
   Distinguishing himself and his troops at San Juan Hill, Teddy was later awarded the Medal of Honor. At this point in history, however, Spain was a really shitty country and the war ended quickly, but not before Olí TR managed to kill him some Spaniards. It was one of his crowning achievements, he felt, and he loved to talk about it. Ever after, his favorite nickname was "The Colonel" which was his rank in the war. Teddy returned home and, jumping right back into politics, ran again for governor of New York and won this time (1898).
   Let's step back for a second, boys and girls. In a period of just a little over a year, what did the great Mr. Roosevelt accomplish? That's right, he was appointed Assistant Secretary to the Navy, quit, raised his own army, fought the Spanish, and came back in enough time to run for governor of New York and win. I tell ya, I get a tear in my eye when I think of how beautiful it must have been back then, knowing that you had a gen-u-ine hero looking out for America.
   Now, by this point, everyone in America knew how fucking tough, fucking smart, and fucking awesome Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was, so it's not surprising that William McKinley picked him to be his running mate when he ran for president in 1900. They won (of course), but Teddy found being vice-president unfulfilling (as well he should, we all know that the vice presidency is most assuredly NOT a severely awesome position). He was even considering leaving politics and going back to law school, presumably to become a badass lawyer. History seems to have been conscious of TR's greatness, and so she made certain that events conspired to keep Teddy in politics. These events took form when President McKinley was assassinated by a dirty anarchist. Of course when news reached Teddy, he was in the middle of climbing a mountain. I mean, a vice president has to find something to keep himself occupied, right kids? (and TR sure did. It was also during his vice presidency that he famously knife fought a cougar with nothing but a knife and balls.) Thus, TR became president. It was a match made in heaven.

   I know it's been awhile, kids, but are you still with me? Yeah? Good, because this is the best part. Theodore Roosevelt was now president of the United States. Never in the history of America has another man as worthy occupied the White House. And what a White House it was while Teddy lived there! He still lived by the same maxims that made him tough as a child, and their incorporation into White House life was truly severe. He took cabinet members on long hikes, regularly boxed in the White House state rooms, romped with his kids all throughout the place, and swam every winter morning naked in the Potomac.
   He also found time to be the best damn president we've ever had. He busted trusts, campaigned for better conditions for workers, pushed Congress to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, founded our National Park system, built the Panama Canal, worked to eradicate yellow fever in Latin America and the Philippines, built the Great White Fleet (a massive expansion of the Navy), mediated the Russo-Japanese War (for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1906, the first American to do so), arbitrated France and Germany over the division of Morocco, appointed the first Jew to a presidential administration, and invited Booker T. Washington to dinner (the first time a black man had dined in the White House), among other things. during one of his many boxing matches in the White House, he was blinded in one eye, once again proving that severe awesomeness can have severe drawbacks.*
   Now, I could go on and on with stories of President Roosevelt. I could give you all the severe details until your eyes bled out onto your chest and your fingernails were twelve feet long, but I wonít. No kids, Iím just gonna tell you one story, one story which will encapsulate all of the greatness of the TR presidency, and that story is the story of the Panama Canal.
   For years, people had been talking about building a canal through Central America. There were plenty of good reasons to do it, mainly having to do with moving ships from one ocean to another without having to go all the fucking way around South America, but no one had done it yet. Well, TR decided that it was the most important thing in the world to do, and he made it his mission to have a canal built. It was decided that the best place for the canal was right the fuck through Panama. There was just one problem: At this point in history, Columbia was in control of the tiny little Isthmus of Panama, and they were greedy sons of bitches who wanted more money than Olí TR was willing to offer. Now, tell me kids, what do you think Teddy Fucking Roosevelt did then? Do you think he paid them their exorbitant demands? Do you think he decided to build the canal somewhere else? Do you think he cried like a pussy? Well, if you think any of those things, youíre an idiot. No, TR did the only thing he could do: he convinced the Panamanians that Columbia was full of a bunch of crack smoking troglodytes that had no right to rule over them, and you know what they did then? Thatís right: they STARTED A REVOLUTION AND DECLARED THEIR INDEPENDENCE. Then TR was able to get that canal built. Yep, we can all learn a lesson from Teddy Roosevelt. When people donít want to accept your proposal, just convince some other guys to start a fucking revolution. What could go wrong? I think itís pretty obvious at this point that TR was the greatest president ever, and it was a sad day when he left the White House but thatís the nature of American democracy, and TR was nothing if not honorable. Besides, he had lots of other badass things to do. . .
   In 1910, just after finishing up is second term as president, Teddy went out on an African expedition. Not just any expedition was this, however. This trip was sponsored by the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian and was dedicated to conservation. Teddy knew better than anyone about the importance of conservation, so he and his party killed or trapped over 11,397 animals. No, I am not making that number up. In fact, 262 of the animals were eaten during the expedition, presumably because Teddy had skipped breakfast that day.
   Of course, murdering animals wasn't the extent of Teddy's activities after leaving office. In fact, he even ran again. Naturally, he had to create his own party in the process since the Republicans just could not compete with TR's severity. The main reason that he formed the party was because of President Taft, whom TR had personally picked to run after him. Basically, Taft, while cool, just wasnít nearly as awesome as Teddy, and he ended up making just about everyone hate him. Teddy ran against him for the Republican ticket, but he lost, because most of the other Republicans were a bunch of pooh-pooh heads who never really understood what kind of mensch TR was. To stay in the running, he created a new party, the Bull Moose Party, and set to campaigning across America.
   To his severe credit, Teddy managed to come in second in the presidential election of 1912, losing to Woodrow Wilson, a badass in his own right. Now, the irony of the Severe-Awesomite, boys and girls, is that he is simply so badass that the universe has to compensate by causing bad things to happen to him in order to prevent the collapse of the entire universe into a singularity (it's all fairly technical, so I'll spare ya the details, kiddies). Teddy Roosevelt was almost badass enough to overcome this handicap, but it did manifest itself occasionally, like when he was blinded in a boxing match, or on this occasion, when his creation of the Bull Moosers caused long-term damage to the Republican Party that he loved.
   Teddy wouldn't let a silly little thing like losing an election keep him down though, and before you could say "Speak softly and carry a big stick," He was off on another expedition, this time to South America. It would prove to be his severe downfall.
   On December 9, 1913, Teddy and an expedition set off into the jungles of South America, at the height of the rainy season. Before long, Teddy caught malaria and got an infection from a leg wound. As the terrible, terrible South American jungle weighed itself on every member of the party, and Teddy inched closer to death, only the leadership of his son Kermit, and the dedicated work of the physician Josť Antonio Cajazeira kept TR alive and the expedition going. Donít get the wrong idea, though, kiddies, the expedition was not a total failure. In fact, it was record breaking. TR and his party had explored farther down the Rio da Duvida (River of Doubt) than anyone had ever gone, ever. In fact, it was later renamed the Rio Roosevelt in his honor. Still, though, the expedition was taxing; Teddy had almost died, letís remember. When he finally got back to America, TR gradually recovered, but he was never the same. He had constant flare-ups of malaria, and he was never the energetic, great man he once was.
   But fuck all that, Ol' TR was no pussy, and he wouldn't let a little thing like malaria keep him down, so he did the only thing a great man prevented by infirmity from performing great acts can do: he wrote books, lots of books, including his "Autobiography", Rough Riders and histories of the Naval Academy, ranching and wildlife.
   He tried to stay active in politics, too, though his time had passed. He was heavily in favor of the U.S. going to war against Germany in WWI, and when American finally declared war in 1917, he even tried to reenlist in the Army so he could go to war one last time, but Wilson wouldnít allow it. TR was just too much of a loose canon, and he was too old.
   In the end, his tropical expedition did him in. On January 6, 1919, six years after his South American trip, Teddy died of a coronary embolism. Of course, everyone dies eventually, and we can't let a little thing like death detract from Theodore Roosevelt's true severity. Hell, even though the story's done, there's still more to tell, like the time Teddy was shot, but survived because of a speech he had in his pocket, or the time he created the teddy bear (well, okay, he didn't create the teddy bear, but it was a direct result of his severe awesomeness that the stuffed animal was so named!) In the end, Teddy Roosevelt was just about the greatest human being who has ever lived, except for maybe Julius Caesar.

   Did you stick around, kids? Good, because now that all the proles have gone, I can tell you a little secret: Theodore Roosevelt is not dead. In fact, he can never die, because he is the manifestation of everything that has ever been or will ever be great and good and true in the cosmos. He is gone from this world, however. It just simply wasnít awesome enough to contain him. Maybe youíll find him one day, if your heart is pure and your balls are ten feet across.

 Let it be known that being blind in one eye never even slowed Teddy down; he just traded boxing for Jujitsu. That's right, Teddy Roosevelt knew Jujitsu.