Lessons From Josey Wales

I watched Josey Wales the other night. From my SPS perspective, I vividly remember the date my normal life was violently destroyed by total Stiff Person assault. With diagnosis, I buried my former life in a daze of disbelief and grief, like Josey buried his slaughtered wife and son.

In a daily fight for some kind of life, I am an SPS outlaw.  I can relate to being hunted down, ducking danger, and waging defensive counterattacks while continually planning survival strategies, yearning for my former peaceful normalcy.

With a satirical parallel to my life with SPS, some of Josey’s quotations had significant lessons in coping as a chronic illness fugitive.

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Josey Wales: Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.

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Josey Wales: Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’, boy.

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Carpetbagger: Your young friend could use some help.
[holds up a bottle of patent medicine]
Carpetbagger: This is it… one dollar a bottle. It works wonders on wounds.
Josey Wales: Works wonders on just about everything, eh?
Carpetbagger: It can do most anything.
Josey Wales: [spits tobacco juice on the carpetbagger’s coat] How is it with stains?

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Quote #1 – Attitude. “If you give up or lose your head you neither live nor win.” I need to focus, think with my mind not my emotions, & stay determined because “that is just the way it is!” 🙂

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Quote #2 – Perspective. The only guarantee life equally gives everyone is an unknown day of death. Fate dealt me a bum hand, but I choose to stay in the game. (Bluff?) Life is still a gift. To live each day like I am dying “ain’t much of a livin’.”

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Quote #3 – Humor & ‘carpetbaggers.’ Humor is vital to my well-being. I have a dark sense of humor about SPS that leaves some scratching their heads. Laughter diffuses the negative SPS grip on my life.

Carpetbaggers–opportunists who have a ‘miracle’ cure, whatever it may be? Really? I went to one of these miracle docs & deliberately messed with him a little. He became very angry at being exposed. How well do your pricey wonder bottles work on BS stains?

If only SPS would make peace with me like Fletcher did with Josey–just ride off to Mexico and quit stalking me.  Until then, don’t lose my head or give up.

The other evening, a body-jerking spasm gripped me in an unexpected assault. I fell against the patio wall, dropping some groceries, my hiking pole, but avoiding a tangled fall in my butterfly bush.  Shaken, I managed to regroup, leaning against the entryway as I shuffled the few remaining steps to the front door. Mentally I heard an appreciative chuckle whisper “whupped ’em again, Debbie”

Spitting dry fear out of my mouth,  I acknowledged with “reckon so.”

Copyright © 2012

The following movie trailer gives a brief idea of Josey Wales. While Josey was motivated by revenge, I am motivated by living.

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