When you hear the term "YOLO," you might be inclined to think of some ill-mannered millennial at a party in Las Vegas with their buddies who's about to make all kinds of awful life choices they'll share on Instagram for everyone to see -- You Only Live Once, right? And you know what? You might be right. However, "YOLO" didn't start with that millennial, as history is want to prove.
Reddit user, u/lilcardist1, wanted to do a deep dive into history's craziest S.O.B.s when they asked:
What are some examples in history of YOLO or 'F-ck it Lets Just do This' type of mentality?
Isn't This What We Learned From 'Moana'?Giphy
Ancient seafaring people, for sure. Sailing off into the unknown just hoping to find something.
Think about it: two Polynesian ships reached Hawaii. HOW MANY OTHER SHIPS JUST F-CKING WENT OFF TO NOWHERE AND DIED AND THEY KEPT DOING IT
Walk Of Fame
"Napolean's Hundred Days" for sure. Already in exhile in Elba, he catches news they are gonna send him to an island in the middle of the Atlantic, so he figures "f-ck it" and sneaks on a ship to France.
Upon landing in France, the 5th Regiment is sent to intercept him. They were mostly his former soldiers. He dismounts his horse, walks within firing distance of them, cause f-ck it, and announces "Here I am! Kill your emperor, if you wish" They all join him and march on Paris.
Louis the XVIII dips to Belgium and Napolean reclaims his former spot as emperor. With an amassed army over 200 000, he tries to drive a wedge between the coalition forces of Britain and Prussia, cause f-ck it why not? Well, Waterloo is why. They lose the battle and he is exiled to St. Helena, but f-ck, what a few months that was
Hey Bro, How We Gonna Cross This Water?Giphy
The one time Alexander the Great built a kilometer long bridge to take over an island.
I was so going to mention that one.
Tyre: "You can't capture us, we're an impregnable island fortress!"
Alexander: "Fine! Then I'll make you not-an-island!"
They Had Great, Big Chernobyls
The people who volunteered to go into the reactor at Chernobyl to stem the damage as it went critical, knowing they would die.
Their sacrifice prevented much worse damage and radiation.
Really, Who Does?
"For Christ's sake, men, come on! Do you want to live forever?"
Dan Daly epically leading a charge in WW1.
8 Is Greater Than 11Giphy
Apollo 8. Easily the most important of the Apollo missions.
First time we put actual humans on the monster Saturn V rocket. First time we sent 3 humans from the safety of our orbit, to the moon, and orbited it 10 times.
A marvel of scientific achievement. It's far more deserving of a movie than 11 or 13.
Fighting On The Water
Grant at the Vicksburg Campaign.
Vicksburg was the main obstacle to the Union in using the Mississippi river as a supply route.
After trying for months, different ways to get past the Artillery on the high Vicksburg bluffs, He finally sneaks his 17,000 troops over (using ironclads and steamers snuck past the batteries at night) and says goodbye to his supply line, believing that he could feed his troops from foraging the rich Confederate countryside.
His commanders believed that the next step would have been to take out Port Hudson with General Banks who would be waiting for him, down river in Louisiana so he wouldnt have them threatening his rear. But since Banks was indisposed trying to take that fort, he decided to use the momentum he had, and march inland Northeast to take out the state capitol, Jackson, as a transportation hub (where they can quickly reinforce Vicksburg with men and supplies via railway), fighting and winning 5 battles and finally surrounding the city. They surrendered a month or so later.
Really fascinating. It was the largest amphibious operation in American military history until the Invasion of Normandy.
Not to mention that the Union had suffered embarrassing defeats at the hands of Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and with Lincoln running for reelection, and Gettysburg was occurring right around the time they surrendered.
Let's Do It Anyway!
When Chicago was planning to reverse the flow of the Chicago river, but St Louis filed a complaint with the feds because that would just send all of Chicago's waste down to them, so before the federal courts could make an official ruling Chicago just went ahead and did it anyway. Then they made the argument that it would be silly to spend a bunch of money just to re-reverse the flow so they got to keep it.
Now We Know Where We Got This Phrase FromGiphy
Julius Caesar standing at the Rubicon, pondering whether to cross it with his legions. If he did, he'd be in open rebellion against Rome. In the end he crossed it, with one of the great lines in history: The die is cast!
Literally, Ulysses S. Grant Every Day
Being a careless drunk made Ulysses S. Grant a war beast. Basically, the dude, a well-known alcoholic, did not have any reputation to lose, so thanks to this dignity hollowness he allowed himself to be overwhelmingly ferocious in his battle tactics, since there was no fear of defeat shame.
They do not tell you this sh-t in AA meetings.
So You're Saying There's A Chance?
Probably won't get read, but read up on development of the atomic bomb.
There was some real concern on the part of some scientists involved in the project that the the bomb would ignite the Earth's atmosphere, thus killing ALL LIFE.
They didn't THINK it would happen, but they considered it to be a POSSIBILITY.
And they blew it up anyway.
Blazing Your Own PathGiphy
Heinz Guderian's tank invasion of France.
Dude blazes through the Ardennes (mountains) and Meuse (a river) in three f-cking days. Then then broke the main allied line, and kept trucking. His commander's kept telling him to hold back so the other divisions attacking through the lowlands can catch-up. He just said, "YOLO" and keep going until he was at the English Channel.
"Sorry, Sir. I can't hear you over all the meth we're taking!" - Quite literally what happened.
"Turn A Blind Eye"
I'm going to say Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was blind in one eye. His commanders gave him orders (using flags) not to attack, but he raised his spyglass to his blind eye, said, "I don't see the signal," and attacked anyway.
It's where we get the phrase, "turn a blind eye"
A contemporary example would be the UK Government's handling of Brexit (the UK leaving the EU).
Following the referendum, which "Leave" won by a really slim majority (51.9%), it was declared that it was "the will of the people" to leave the European Union.
To that end, the UK government triggered Article 50 (of the Lisbon Treaty), which in broad strokes did two things:
- It formally declared the UK's intent to leave the EU.
- It started a two-year clock on negotiations, which exists to prevent a member of the EU that wanted to leave being "trapped" in the EU indefinitely in the event of negotiations being deadlocked.
By itself, this wouldn't exactly be "YOLO", just international politics. The "YOLO" lies in the Government's preparations to actually negotiate the UK's exit from the EU.
Which I think could be quite well summed-up by the fact that, even a year-and-a-half into negotiations, there's still disagreement over what "Brexit" even means, what is an acceptable form for Brexit to take, and how to practically accomplish any of it.
They were, by no stretch of the imagination, prepared to undertake these negotiations. But, they erred on the side of YOLO, rather than actually making any preparations.
Not Just Some...ALL Of The Cheese.Giphy
Andrew Jackson and the 1400lb cheese wheel.
New York made him a 1400lb cheese wheel and a couple smaller ones for winning the presidential election. Jackson gave away as much cheese as possible but barely made a dent in it. It sat in the white house forever and Jackson decided a couple days after losing the election to have a party to eat the rotten cheese wheel. It was a public feasting. The feast was an impressive event as people passed out from the smell and it could be smelled all around town.
Jackson was then given a smaller cheese wheel afterwards. Jackson not knowing what to do with another cheese wheel he hid it in a room in the white house. The next president spent months having the white house be redone but still had the smell after cleaning where the great cheese wheel sat. This is when they discovered the one Jackson left.
A Flight To Honor
United 93 and their passengers revolted because they knew they were in danger and decided to do something about it.
Don't Bring A Bow To A Gunfight
In World War 2 there was a British soldier named Jack Churchill, he is the only person to have a recorded bow and arrow kill in world war 2, on D-Day he stormed the beach with only his bow and arrow, a sword and a pair of bagpipes which he played as he marched towards the enemies, he was captured multiple times but managed to escape from the axis powers on all occasions, after the war had ended he was riding a train and decided to chuck his briefcase out of the window, when asked why he responded that the train passed his house and he threw it into his garden, because he couldn't be bothered to carry the bloody thing home from the station
A Whole List O' ThingsGiphy
- When the Scottish invaded England and got as far as Derby.
- When somebody brewed an IPA and thought "F-ck it" and just doubled down on all of the ingredients to make a DIPA.
- Caesar, sitting on his horse looking at a river and saying "F-ck it" and just crossing with his entire army, de facto declaring war on the Senate.
- King Leonidas, his kingdom facing invasion and subjugation by rival city states and the Persian king, took 300 of his best men and blocked the road. "F-ck it" lets just see how many we can kill before we get smooshed.
- Napoleon, having conquered most of Europe and the Mediterannean, looks at Russia and sees an easy victory. "F-ck it", let's march to Russia in the autumn and try and win before winter.
What Else Were We Supposed To Do With Coffin Liquid?
After the Great Fire of London in 1666, the tomb of the Dean of St Paul's (who had died in 1519) broke open from the heat.
Two men came across his coffin, and opened it. It was full of a brownish liquid, around the body.
Apparently the two men said "f-ck it" and decided to taste the liquid.
They reported that it was "ironish, insipid" and the body (which they naturally poked with a stick) felt like brawn (meat jelly).