Throwback Thursday ~ In Defense of Lost Hope
“What is with all those people who are shouting their shitty statistics at us? Stop it! Stop trying to convince me that the world is a horribly dangerous and massively disappointing and unfulfilling shit-show!”
The doctor stands there with his hands together, fingers interlaced, the corners of his mouth downturned into a solemn expression.
“I’m afraid your prognosis is grim”, he delivers the news in an equally grim monotone.
Then it starts.
“The odds are against you. Only sixteen percent of people with this thing you have live past a year. Eighty-five percent survive the chemo and radiation only to expire after ninety days.”
Blah, blah, yadda, yadda.
I know you’re just doing your job but I can assure you, nobody heard a thing after the word grim.
I know some really amazing doctors who have saved a ton of lives but why do they insist on immediately covering us with a sauce that smells like death?
Because they don’t want to give anyone FALSE HOPE.
To look forward to something that has a strong chance of not happening—that you may or may not know.
Yeah, that would be awful. By all means don’t look forward to anything that might not happen.
Wait. Most things in life have a strong chance of going down the drain. We have no idea how they will play out. That’s why it’s called hope. We hope for the best. Otherwise, it would be called certainty, or ForSuresville.
I remember being a single forty-year-old when I was told that I was more likely to die at the hands of a terrorist than to get married.
A very successful and famous writer, who an entire room of us not so famous and successful writers had gathered in order to hang on her every word, ended a really sweet and uplifting day with this nugget.
“You can’t call yourself a writer unless you’ve been rejected many, many times.”
That was the “let’s get real” portion of her talk. It was supposed to be motivating but for me, it was mildly nauseating because if you know her story that was not necessarily the case for her and I think, like the gloomy-Gus guy in the white coat—she doesn’t want to prescribe any FALSE HOPE.
If you beat the odds you’re lucky. I suppose I agree. Or tenacious, delusional, persistent and optimist.
Here’s the thing, this is not a one size fits all world. If it were we would all be the same color, height, and weight. We would all look like Cindy Crawford or Bradley Cooper. Then and only then could anyone tell you EXACTLY how something was going to go down.
There are as many different possible scenarios as there are individual souls in this world. So, at last count just over seven billion.
I don’t care how many people survived six months. If you tell me that, I just may believe you because you’re a doctor—and then I’m fucked. I can’t have my own journey. I won’t make my own miracles.
I don’t care how hard it is to get a movie made in Hollywood. Four or five come out every week, so I know some bozo beat the odds.
I don’t care if ninety percent of writers fail at the premise. Ninety percent of screenplays and eighty percent of novels are rejected because of poor structure.
Dan Brown’s three novels before The Da Vinci Code all had printings of less than 10,000 copies.
Other rejection counts: Gone With the Wind, 38 times; Dune, 20 times; A Wrinkle in Time, 29 times; Lord of the Flies, 20 times; Kon-Tiki, 20 times; Watership Down, 17 times; Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, 18 times; Chicken Soup for the Soul, 33 times; James Joyce’s The Dubliners, 22 times; Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, more than 100 times; MASH, 21 times.
I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care!
I believe in FALSE HOPE. I love FALSE HOPE. I spread FALSE HOPE on crackers and eat it.
All of those people had hope, false or not, that they would succeed—or they would have given up. The same goes for those who survive past their expiration date. They didn’t listen to the statistics and I can guarantee you they mainlined FALSE HOPE.
I for one, think we all should all believe in FALSE HOPE. About everything. All of the time.
I shudder at the alternative.