On the way to Kitty Hawk to become the first man to fly an airplane Wilbur Wright got his pants caught in his bike chain and crashed into a sand dune. Meanwhile Orville spilled hot coffee on his living room carpet, making a stain that never completely came clean.
Before Bonnie and Clyde became world renowned bank robbers they spent several years running a laundromat near Fargo, North Dakota. Their first criminal activity was stealing single socks and then trying to sell them back to the mismatched owners.
The first time Ben Franklin tried to fly a kite in a lightning storm it got stuck in a tree and he nearly broke his sacroiliac when the branch he was climbing on broke as he was trying to get the kite down. The next time he tried he forgot to wear his rubber galoshes and wound up ruining a perfectly good pair of silk slippers.
When Columbus first sailed the ocean blue in search of a shorter route to India and its wealth of spices, he instead landed in Havana, Cuba and discovered how much he like smoking cigars and dancing the Mambo.
Before Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic she wanted to be an Olympic diving champion. Unfortunately she couldn’t swim. This led to many spectacular dives and near death experiences, with lots of practice for the lifeguards at her neighborhood pool who finally convinced her to pursue her dreams of soaring through the air and landing in a (theoretically) safer way.
Before Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel he spent several months painting his brother’s bathroom, being forced to re-do his work repeatedly because he kept drawing naked men on the ceiling whenever his brother left for work.
Before Josef Stalin became a murderous dictator feared by friends and enemies alike he was a published (and poorly paid) romantic poet, then flunked out of seminary when he failed to correctly answer the one question final, “Do you believe in God?” After being arrested for a series of bank robberies, hijackings, and failures to yield at a red light he was exiled to Siberia where he spent four years ice-fishing for sturgeon and making close friends with several reindeer. He was finally freed only to be drafted into the army near the disastrous end of WWI, arriving in St. Petersburg a few days after some of his comrades had already murdered the Tsar and passed out in the ballroom of the palace after drinking up much of the exquisite wine cellar. Lenin and Trotsky soon joined Stalin from exile forming the famous triumvirate of terror known in Russia as The Three Sopranos.
Before he was known as Billy the Kid everyone in his hometown called him “Billy, that kid who smells like he needs his diaper changed.” After a successful life of kidding people he retired to Palm Springs where he opened the first local miniature golf course and tanning parlor.
Buddha was born a prince and heir to a huge empire of Indian food trucks. Rejecting his inheritance and all worldly goods he moved into a tree house with his pet squirrel Max. After spending several years pondering the meaning of life, while Max went about the business of gathering nuts and feeding them both, Buddha finally came to the realization of the Four Noble Truths which led him to deliverance, Nirvana, and sleeping on a chiropractic mattress. Afterwards he spent the rest of his life traveling from temple to temple performing corrective third eye surgeries on all his near-sighted followers.
Joan of Arc originally wanted to be a stage actress but at the time only men were allowed to make fools of themselves in public. She cut her hair short and dressed in her brother’s clothes, but was given away by her high alto voice after she finally got her first speaking part as the Caped Crusader. She then went to work as a waitress at a Paris bistro but after repeatedly being stiffed by rude poor tipping English conquerors she decided that her divine mission is life was to free France from the tyranny of cricket and English Muffins.