Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Act As If:

The best scene in Breaking Bad was when Walter White was waiting for a check-up to see if his cancer was still in remission. Another cancer patient confessed he was frightened and asked Walter if he was afraid. Walter replied:
To hell with your cancer. I’ve been living with cancer for the better part of a year. Right from the start, it’s a death sentence. That’s what they keep telling me. Well, guess what? Every life comes with a death sentence, so every few months I come in here for my regular scan, knowing full well that one of these times – hell, maybe even today – I’m gonna hear some bad news. But until then, who’s in charge? Me. That’s how I live my life.
Something important was conveyed in that monologue, but at the time I wasn't sure what. How could he be in charge? Cancer is deadly. Sometimes there's not much that can be done except to wait to die. Stuff happened to Walter all the time that was way beyond his control: the thug stole his drugs, his wife cheated on him, his partner couldn't control his addictive tendencies and put Walter in danger, and on and on.

But this is what I think Walter meant. He meant he lived his life as if he was in charge, as if he was in control. There were many things beyond his ken, but he controlled what he could. The point was that he believed his actions could affect outcomes and so he acted.

That's why I loved him.

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