HowTo:Become a legend
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How can one become a legend? Few people in history consciously attempt to become legendary, due to the unfortunate consequences which seem to come with the effort. Only a tiny handful of those who shoot for undying fame succeed. Often eternal glory is the product of accident, but as we cannot rely on accident to enter our lives and propel us to legendary status, we must often resort to the traditional method - constructing our own legends. There are three basic elemental steps, which are outlined below.
Step One: Leave a Legacy.
This may be the hardest of the four steps, so begin right away. There are numerous ways to go about leaving a legacy, some more effective than others. For example, if you manage to become the last human being on earth, you will automatically be legend, but this is unfortunately an infinitely improbable scenario. Seek your eternal glory in other fields.
There are two basic roads to lasting fame: either drastically improve the lives of millions of people, or kill them. Though many prefer the first route, results are hazy; you may save lives with medical cures, but the people you rescue sure as hell won't remember your name. For example, mentioning "Fleming" and "Pasteur" to the public today elicits undesirable responses (respectively “Didn’t he write James Bond?” and “That’s the milk guy!”). Hell, Fleming doesn't even have an Uncyclopedia entry. What kind of puny man was he?
Many historical figures have chosen military success as a path to legend, with varying results. If you want Colin Farrell to star in a movie about you, study at an early age with the greatest philosopher of your time before taking over your father's kingdom and conquering the known world, naming as many cities after yourself as you can (preferably at least three dozen) before you die young. For optimal results on the military path, become a ruthless bad-ass. It is advisable that you miscultivate your facial hair to give it a fierce look (especially if you are female) and build pyramids out of your victims' skulls. But really, your goal is to get into history classes of the future and be the correct answer to a multiple choice question for centuries to come (unless you are a prodigy and, within years, are writing the questions for the entire global population!), so any sort of lasting legacy will do.
That's because an altogether more important goal of any budding legend is Step 2:
Step Two: Have Eccentricities.
The ordinary masses will not remember your historical legacy as well as your bizarre quirks, so you will need to have as many as possible. Face it, American historians: Ben Franklin is a legend for his kite experiments, essay on farting, and affairs with French ladies, not for his insertion of "self-evident" into the Declaration of Independence. Albert Einstein's hairstyle will always be more popular than Charles Darwin's entire body. Sexual eccentricities and obsessions are, of course, even better. If practicable, you should regularly have your wives executed and send for new ones. And, though it sounds gruesome, it is highly effective to die while having sex with a member of another species, although this may fall in the third category:
Step Three: Fabricate When Necessary.
Of course, you can't do all the things you need to do to become a legend, so make some up. The example from the last point has always boosted Catherine the Great's legend; it is now generally known that she did not die under a horse, but that is of little importance. If you are a musician, you may wish to follow in the steps of the violinist Niccolo Paganini, who spread rumors that he had sold his soul to Satan. You don't need to see the ticket returns to understand the effect those stories had on his career. Don't worry about lying - if you are consciously attempting legendary status, you don't have any morals anyway.
These three steps - building a legacy, being eccentric, and inventing bizarre stories about yourself - are absolutely essential to the cultivation of a good legend. But it's not really dazzling unless you can include that all-important element of a great life: a great death.
Step Four: Die in an Awesome Way.
Not for you a quiet death in a hospital bed. No, you must find some more explosive way to depart the world - if not literally, at least figuratively. Consider being run down, alone, by a horde of enemy cavalry, half of which you smite with a broadsword before meeting your fate. If this is impractical, it may be a good idea to head out on a suicidal mission to save the world in an exotic location like Antarctica, Tehran or Wichita.
Even better is to leave a genuinely spectacular final thought for future millennia to remember. Some of the greatest legends of all time are built on great last words, so practice your skills by matching these famous last words to the great men and women who said them.
Here are the famous last words:
- 1. "Useless, useless."
- 2. "Kiss me, Hardy."
- 3. "I wonder why he shot me."
- 4. "Go away. I’m all right."
- 5. "Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something."
- 6. (stepped on the executioner’s foot) "Pardon me."
- 7. "Et tu, Brute?"
- 8. (after his wife told him he was getting better) “On the contrary!”
Now match the sentence with the legendary person who uttered it:
- A. Marie Antoinette
- B. John Wilkes Booth
- C. Julius Caesar
- D. Huey Long
- E. Admiral Nelson
- F. Henrik Ibsen
- G. Pancho Villa
- H. H.G. Wells
You are now armed with all the knowledge you need to become a legend. Use your powers wisely, and good luck. May your future be legendary, and may the movie made about your life gross millions.
Answers to the Quiz in Step Four
Answers: B, E, D, H, G, A, C, F