Friday, 30 October 2015

Deserve's Got Nothin' To Do With It

There is a scene in the movie "Unforgiven" where Will Munny, played  by Clint Eastwood, is standing overtop of an injured Little Bill, played by Gene Hackman. Little Bill says "I don't deserve die like this..." Will Munny says "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it." I thank my brother Adam for reminding me of this.

That quote says a lot to me, both from the positive and the negative side. I didn't "deserve" to get ALS. I didn't "deserve" a failed marriage, financial ruin, the complete physical loss of my body. Deserve's got nothin' to do with it. This is just the way it is. On the other hand, I don't deserve the love of Katherine, of my children, of my brothers, my parents, my friends. I don't deserve the incredible opportunities that have come my way in the last few years; opportunities to travel, to eat fine food, to drink fine wine, to laugh, to enjoy life. Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.

Today I am sitting in the window of a luxury hotel, albeit slightly less than perfect for me, but excellent nonetheless. I am looking out the window towards San Francisco Bay, brilliant under the warm California sun. I'm ready to go explore in my truck, fully decked out for handicapped use. I'm sitting in a customized wheelchair, lightweight, easy to push around the city streets. Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.

We'll start our day of exploration with Ghirardelli Square, scarfing down a gigantic ice cream treat. Then we'll drive around the Marina and through the Presidio, eventually making our way across the streets of San Francisco to Chinatown, where Katherine will no doubt order us a completely sumptuous meal. Then we will come back to the comfort of our hotel, have a glass of wine and relax for the evening. We might even walk back down to Pier 39, or roll in my case, just for the fun of it. Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.

I am going to enjoy this day. Katherine will enjoy this day. Neither of us deserves it. I, most certainly of all, have done little in my life to be given this gift, this opportunity to end it reasonably well. I think of people I know fighting cancer, living with MS, dealing with the loss of parents or children. They don't deserve any of that. It's just how life works. Today, I plan on making this day, and every day, worth it, as if I really did deserve it.


  1. reading your blog.. as my partner has ALS/PLS... Inspiring, as well as scary. Absolutely love your poems..