Saturday, February 14, 2009

In defense of the Emperor Palpatine

I think I mentioned before here that I'm not a nice person.

I'm not an "evil" person, either. In the sense that I do and enjoy doing unmitigated wrong for its own sake.

But I'm not a sweetheart. I'm not a "nice" person, being kind to strangers and pets and generally making safe and pleasant sounds to make the people around me feel better. When unprovoked I'm generally pretty civil, but I've done wrong, knowing it was wrong, for my own safety, or for my benefit and the benefit of those I loved. Or to further an end I desired, or for spite, or out of the pure pleasure of bringing the lightnings and hellfire and destruction. The last was in my youth, mind you, before I understood, deeply, truthfully understood the meaning of grief and pain. I was young and stupid and thoughtless, which explains but does not excuse my evil. But some of the wrong I've done I'd do again, eyes open, because I had reasons of my own for doing that wrong.

In my defense I will give you fair warning before I try and do you down. And I will admit myself in the wrong, the villian, and then do my best to do you the dirty.

There. Now we understand each other. Like I said: I'm an honest man, overall a decent man, but not a nice man.


Right now I'm frankly furious with someone, someone I considered a friend or at least the friend of a friend, who is acting out of pure lust, selfishness and greed and, in the process, hurting another friend and someone who should have been her best friend.

But y'know what?

That's not what I'm furious at her about.

Lust, selfishness and greed I can understand. "Lechery, lechery, wars and lechery; nothing else holds fashion." They are three of perhaps a dozen of the most simple and profoundly human reasons for action. Love, hate, lust, despite, self-esteem, self-interest, self-loathing, greed, vanity, honor, fidelity...all of these are more often as not at the base of the things we do and say, even if we try to ignore or deny them. I may not like them, I may not enjoy them - or I might, depending on whether I am giving or receiving of their often dubious but sometimes splendid largesse. But I can hardly pretend that they are not particularly human and as such pervade the entire world around us.

I can even understand deceit. How many of us would rather face blame and obliquy if we could lie our way out from under them? Human. Despicable but very, very human. I can condemn deceit while uderstanding and, to a degree, sympathising with the deceiver.

But what I cannot understand is the cravenness of self-deceit, in the form of moral cowardice.

Are you going to act in your own self-interest and give your dearest friend a hard kick in the balls? Kick away, darlin', but don't pretend you're on some delightful journey of self discovery. Don't talk about ow bad YOU'RE hurting. Don't try and excuse yourself, don't try and whine and whimper about your feelings. You are being a right bitch and in the best of causes: your own self-interest. Kick and be done with it. Walk away from those you've hurt, go on about your business and let them get on about theirs. Which may be revenge on you, mind you - and there you've no cause to complain. Just the knowledge of the vast stupidity of embarking on a quest for revenge. Kǒng Fūzǐ knew: "Before you seek revenge, first dig two graves."

Kick with a will, and own up to the fact that here, now, in this case, you are the villian. You will all live another day and then you can be as douce and kindly as your self-respect demands. But right at the moment you are as wrong as a person can be, and you need to be okay with that.

My little Peeper has been caught up in a fascination with all things Star Wars lately, and as a result I've been revisiting the movies I haven't seen for decades. And, interestingly, I found myself watching the "Return of the Jedi" with a particularly reversed sympathy. Instead of feeling the love for Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker when he finally turns on his master, evil Emperor Palpatine, and hucks the Sith Lord down the central cooling shaft of the New and Improved Death Star II, I was having a certain wry appreciation for the bad, mad Emperor.

Yes, he was a villanous bastard who killed millions. But you knew where he stood. He wasn't afraid to do wrong and stand up and take the blame for it. In his mind, his crimes were for the best reason in the world: his best interest, and he did what needed to be done and didn't ask you to love him for it. Darth only reforms when his own son is threatened. Palpatine is a rotten bastard, but at least he's a rotten bastard on his own terms and doesn't need to feel the love, of his son, his apprentice, or anyone else. He's an honest man, in his evil way.

It seems to me that, rather than be an outright son-of-a-bitch (or bitch, gender applying), way too many people - like the woman involved in this sad incident - want to have it both ways. They want to cut you like a razor, and then, as you stand bleeding, want to hold up their hands and cry "But I'm not the bad guy here!" They're the woman who sends out the racist e-mail and, when busted, doesn't say "I'm sorry, I was stupid" or "Yeah, well, that's how I feel about those #@%$$!" but instead mewls something like "I regret if my innocent prank offended some people" as if the real wrong is the taking offense rather than the being an ignorant racist prick. It's like the murderer who cries and tells his victims' families that he's sorry but still fights every death sentence to the Supreme Court, slinging as much mud on his victims as he can in desperate attempt to save his worthless, murderous life. It's like the Vice President who lies, orders tortures and breaks his own government's laws and, when questioned about it, snarls questions back accusing the accusers of treason and cowardice.

Evil is evil and you cannot refine it. But give me an honest villian before a sanctimonious hypocrite, with the one hand stabbing me and the other cadging me for my sympathy and good opinion.

Do your villany and be done. I will not love you better for your quivering self-justification or your pathetic pleas for understanding.

28 comments:

Charles Gittings said...

Hmmm.

Well I have to disagree with you a bit here FDC... evil always involves dishonesty unless maybe it's just madness.

Maybe dishonsty is just a form of insanity. Maybe we're all just trying to crawl out of the ooze.

FDChief said...

Charles" I should clarify myself, in that the sort of wrongdoing I'm thinking of isn't the cartoony sort of Eeeeevil that the Star Wars villians represent. I don't think any human being can, unless they are, as you suggest, insane, and their pastimes involve torturing puppies and watching snuff films.

What I mean is the sort of everyday casual wrong we do when our interests clash with our morals. Little workaday evils; betraying a lover, lying to a friend, undercutting a superior, and then trying to justify ourselves rather than admitting that we did someting wrong because we wanted something or someone more than we wanted to do the decent, honest thing.

I think we ARE all trying to haul ourselves to drier ground. And I think we fail ourselves twice in the doing, first when we do the wrong, and again when we try and make ourselves the victims...

Charles Gittings said...

OK, but isn't that just exactly a failure of honesty?

Or maybe a failure of due diligence?

"Philosopher know thyself" said Socrates, knowing damn well it was the hardest thing in the world to do.

But I get little prickly about such situations myself; been more than a little stupid and dishonest in such situations too. The bitch with emotions is they aren't rational by definition.

pluto said...

I'm going back to my philosohical post from last week on the four different types of people.

Types 1's don't do this sort of thing because they do stop and think before acting. There's no muss or fuss because they are self-correcting before trouble occurs.

Type 2's do fall into this sort of thing and they don't view themselves as bad people so that means that either they did something stupid (and it takes a LOT of emotional and intellectual effort to admit you were wrong) or that some external force caused them to act in a bad way. Now some of these people do own up although it sometimes sounds like they are blaming the victem and some just move on.

You can't really generalize about the Type 3's because they are kind of tucked in and working under a lot of different motivations.

Type 4's are the royal pains that make the newspapers and TV talk shows. They are morally opposed to thinking about the consequences of the actions before committing them and that tends to make their subsequent actions all the more entertaining.

The most recent example of a Type 4 in action is Ted Haggard, who had fire-and-brimstone sermons against the evils of homosexuality and drug use while living the lifestyle. Of particular rye irony are his attempts to evade responsibility and/or blame others for his own behavior.

Charles' comments about self-deception are very perceptive and accurate, as usual.

Very few people outside of the movies think of themselves as intentionally evil.

pluto said...

I should also mention that I'm watching two friends engaged in a similar situation to the one you're describing, Chief.

I'm not sure who's to blame because the fingerpointing got so intense so fast and neither of the the people involved are particularly angelic.

The particular sin that raises my wrath is that they've got two children who are at a vulnerable age and are geting ripped apart watching their parents behave in increasingly stupid and selfish ways.

Another aspect of this whole affair that is slightly cock-eyed from my perspective is that the two perpetrators are working from a very standard bad soap-opera plot. And yet they seem to be endlessly surprised that we (their ex-friends and audience) are well ahead of them in terms of expecting certain logical consequences from certain actions. And yet they continue to do these things even though everybody around them predicts disaster and it happens right on schedule!

These two idiots are now to the stage where they are hurting the people who are trying to help them primarily to get back at each other for previous wrongs. I have the good fortune to be somewhat removed from the situation and only have to offer emotional first aid for their victems while shaking my head in disbelief.

This is not going to end well, the only question is which particular bad soap-opera ending they prefer.

Lisa said...

Charles,

I respectfully disagree that evil always involves dishonesty. I believe it would be dishonest to deny our impulse to do wrong though I might wish it were otherwise.)

Chief,

I agree with you: the thing I can least bear is the sanctimonious backstabber -- the sniveling egoist and the passive-aggressive narcissist.

Children can often see to the truth when adults are swayed by masks. While watching one of the Star Treks while babysitting, the lad asked me which of his Star Trek characters I liked best. Not being a fan I can't tell you who it was, but he looked cute enough.

When it was his time on screen the boy warned me that it would be violent. I said innocently, "Oh, then I don't like him anymore." The wise child said: "I told you he was a monster when you chose him, and this is what monsters do. You can't hate him for being who he is."

WHOA! Just open your eyes, hunh? A NYT Science piece this week spoke about the intrinsic nature of lying to humans, and how, intriguingly, though we're pretty good at lying we're not so good at detecting it.

Why? Because our need to be secure trumps our need to know the truth. So we self-delude. I believe the seeds of betrayal are usually visible, if we had eyes to see. I am sorry to hear of the villain in your midst.

While I do not know that karma always works, I do know that she shall always have to face herself in the mirror, and she knows what we know (unless a total psychopath.)

Lisa said...

p.s.-- I must humbly disagree with your statement: "I'm not a 'nice' person." :)

Lisa said...

Pluto,

Re. your comment: "Of particular rye irony. . ."

I've known rye to be sour, but never ironic :)

Charles Gittings said...

Lisa,

The thing is, the impulse itself might be dishonest.

Lisa said...

Charles,

Interesting statement: "the impulse [to do wrong?] itself might be dishonest." So, you are presuming people would do well, if they would be honest with themselves about their own motivations and intents (?)

If so, again, I must differ. Most people want what they want, consequences be damned. They are angry when they get caught, and they dissimulate around the offense. But dishonesty is not what allowed for the transgression.

Dishonesty is in the impulse to cover it up. We do not like to feel discomfort, and do anything to reduce it.

I do not think most people need an excuse or must be dishonest with themselves to commit transgressions, moral or otherwise. However, they are offered in homage to societal and religious expectations. One must do penance, after all, lest one be seen as a total creep.

After confessional/baptism/born again-ness -- whatever, the slate is wiped clean. Pretty nifty deal.

sheerahkahn said...

"Most people want what they want, consequences be damned."

Well, I agree to the extent that "people want what they want" statement, but I've observed that the consequences are not so much damned as ignored...not addressed.
Hmm, I'm not articulating that very well.
I think people either
a) don't think about consequences, and thus are surprised by them.
b) Ignore the consequences, and either feign surprise at them, or curse the circumstances that they authored.
c) Find the consequences acceptable to the risk involved, and thus shrug their shoulders if things don't work out.

"After confessional/baptism/born again-ness -- whatever, the slate is wiped clean. Pretty nifty deal."

Well, hmm, leaving out the caveats to the confessional, the baptism, and the born againess, I think kind of simplifies the process.

Forgiveness is one thing, reconciliation is quite another.

I can forgive the person who offended me, and thus the power of the affront is shortlived.
The relationship is still toast, but I'm not harboring ill towards the individual.
However, if reconciliation is desired, then it is not I who needs to humble myself before me, but the person who offended me must desire to re-establish the relationship who must reconcile themselves to me.
People in general have reconciliationary processes in place in their relationships, it's just whether or not they care enough to employ them that begs the question.
I would therefore say that confession is then the beginning process of reconciliation, Baptism is the public display of the penitents desire for reconciliation, and born againness is the offended party's acceptance of the reconcilation attempt.

FDChief said...

Pluto: I cannot but agree with your comments; unfortunately, the people who seem to get the press are those CatIV's of yours...

Lisa: I agree that this sort of thing seems to stem from our need to see ourselves as the hero of our own movie. We'd rather delude ourselves and others than take what we want and be happy damning the consequences.

I don't fear the outright villian half so much as the self-blind egotist who doesn't just take from me what he/she wants but tells me - and his/herself - that it's OK and right and that there's no cause for anger or grief...

And I'm OK with not being "nice" - I am a decent man, and honorable to the degree that my self-preservation and circumstances allow it. Accepting that I am not "nice" keeps my eyes open to my own capacity for scoundrelry so I can keep a lid on it when not required.

"One must do penance, after all, lest one be seen as a total creep." I'd argue that you have only to be SEEN to apologize, and that can be hedged about with caveats, at that. I have almost never seen any wrongdoer stand up in public and simply say: "I was wrong, I DID wrong, and I will accept the punishment for my crime." - AND then do it.

True guilt and penance appears to have fallen out of fashion for the appearance of same; a common tale in our appearance-obsessed culture.

Publius said...

FDChief: "I agree that this sort of thing seems to stem from our need to see ourselves as the hero of our own movie."

Well, of course. How could it be any other way? Our world begins with our birth and ends with our death. All of that Freudian ego, superego, etc., shit is about getting to the point where we can coexist with other beings, some of them totally loathsome to us, while still being ourselves. If you ever run into anyone who doesn't understand that their own wellbeing rests upon their being the star of their own personal movie, run the other way. Balancing your own needs with those of others while always understanding that you're no good to anyone else if you don't first care about yourself is key.

All parents grapple with this; all fight it until they realize that, no, that kid's going to do it his/her own way. Those who don't learn this aren't going to be happy with their kids or themselves. Same goes for spouses, bosses, friends, you name it. My wife remarked to me tonight that she knows me better than I know myself. "No, you don't," I said. "You think you do, based on behavior, but the only things you truly know about me are those I allow you to know. What you don't realize is that when I behave in ways that annoy you and you call me irrational for doing so (and get the predictable flak), my behavior is actually eminently rational."

What my wife doesn't realize—or refuses to admit—is that I, and only I, am the star of my movie, the steward of my destiny if you will, which means I'm going to do it my way. This is something intelligence officers learn early, if they're going to be successful, and it's something Pluto should keep in mind when wondering why his friends persist in what he views as irrational behavior.

Insofar as Charly's comment re: evil always involving dishonesty, well I'm going to disagree. Evil just is. Now, an evil person may, and probably will engage in dishonest behavior, but the evil itself? Nah. It's who that person is.

Same with goodness. Or niceness. FDChief says he's not a nice guy. The evidence suggests otherwise. I think he's a real pussycat. His blog says it all. Sorry, Chief, but I'm going to disagree with you here. Now, me, OTOH, that's another story.

Very good thread, folks.

FDChief said...

Publius raises an interesting point: what is a "good" versus and "evil", a "nice" person as opposed to a "bad" person?

Is a "good" person one who behaves in a morally upright fashion all the time, meek, kind, loving, a sort of paragon of the virtues of the Golden Rule? Conversely, is an "evil" person one who lives daily by a code of force and fear, who works days as a concentration camp guard and spends his off time torturing puppies and searching the Web for snuff films and pornographic Barney videos?

While I agree that there are definately people who push the ends of the spectrum, I suspect that the bulk of people fall somewhere near the center; basically innocent, harmless, some a little more loving and giving, some a littler more greedy and selfish.

The issue here, I think, is those moments that the people on the "bad" side of the mean have more of but even the "good" people have now and then; the moment when you have to make a choice that forces someone else into a worse situation to provide the chooser with a better option.

Example: a year and a half ago were were presented with a helpless little child with serious health issues. To make her life better would have required us to be "good", to put forward extra effort, love, and care, the sort of thing that a "good" person would have done (and, I should add, that some good person eventually did). We chose not to do that. We chose to be "bad"; our choice, which was made in our own best interests, was an evil for her, returning her to a life with greatly diminshed hopes and prospects.

We agonized over the choice and grieved over our decision. But that just moves us a little closer to the decent side of humanity; we still made the selfish choice.

Now someone who was genuinely evil might have thrown this little person aside without a second thought. And then proceeded to rationalize their decision and try to make themselves the hero of their movie again by making the damaged child the villian, compounding the injury with insult.

But the end result was the same.

So getting back to my original rant; my issue isn't so much with the people - like me and my inamorata - who make decisions or take actions that end badly for others. Any good Buddhist will tell you that that's the price we pay for acting in this world, and short of retreating into a contemplative life I can't see any way to avoid that. I have a problem with people who NEED to be the sweet, delightful hero of their own movie that they can't abide the notion that they could do something wrong. Kind of a personal version of Tricky Dick's assertion that if the President did it it HAD to be legal.

Making a choice that you know will end badly and DOES end badly for someone doesn't have to make you capital-E Evil, in my books. But you cross the line when you fail to step up and acknowledge the dark elements of your choice, and the dark side of your personality. The ethical failure of the coverup is greater than the original burglary, to continue the Watergate metaphor.

Yes? No? Whaddya think?

Lisa said...

Sheerahkahn,

I'm pretty hardcore on matters of personal responsibility. While I agree with the excuses you suggest guilty parties often provide, such as "feign surprise...or curse the circumstances that they authored," they are still operating under the "consequences be damned" scenario.

As Chief suggests, they are not disappointed they did it, but rather that they are caught and face censure.

I agree with Chief here: "True guilt and penance appears to have fallen out of fashion for the appearance of same; a common tale in our appearance-obsessed culture."

There's a pill for everything, or like on the old Welcome Back Kotter show, a note from Arnold's mother. True responsibility is out of fashion. Dissembling is de riguer.

I do not know that the dissimulation is worse than the offense, but it certainly compounds it.

Evil, or bad faith, is done with eyes wide open. (Otherwise, it would be a mistake or an error.) The covert or self-protective response to poor action is where dishonesty appears.

Charles Gittings said...

"So, you are presuming people would do well, if they would be honest with themselves about their own motivations and intents (?)"

Actually, I think people do exactly what they think is best under the circumstances to whatever extent they are rational. How well they understand what really is best in a given situation is another matter -- we're all human. However, not all mistakes are innocent: there is such a thing as criminal negligence.

I wouldn't say that FDC and Mojo did something bad by rejecting the little girl with problems -- I'd say it would be a bad mistake for anyone to adopt a child unless they could do so whole-heartedly without reservations. You wouldn't be doing the child any favor by adopting them for any other reason.

And I don't think that evil just "is". Good and bad exist relative to goals and expectations; I try avoid even using the word 'evil' because it's use is so metaphysical.

Lisa said...

Charles,

When you say, "not all mistakes are innocent: there is such a thing as criminal negligence," you are presuming error has occurred. Remember, I am of the mind that poor behavior is not mistaken but intentional.

You, along with most, say
people do the best they can; Ranger says people do what they have to do; Lisa says, people do what they want to do. If it happens to accommodates another, that's fine, but if it inconveniences them or worse, I do not think most people sweat bullets over it.

They figure that's God's job, to separate the wheat from the chaff. Better: if we are pre-elect (pre-selected), then little we do in our petty lives will swing the scales one way or another -- in for a penny, in for a pound!

Yet I am not a cynic. I love people, but I see their crudeness and pettiness (and this is not just b.c I know some Army people!)

I agree: FDC did nothing bad in the adoption choice. Rather, they were being honest with themselves about their desires and capabilities. To endure someone out of guilt breeds the worst resentment, and that is no favor to anyone.

Your final statement about the relativity of good and bad is a provocative one. In this realm I am more Manichaean: I believe there is often good and bad, right and wrong. While one can only be be true to oneself, that does not negate the responsibility to consider the impact of one's actions upon others.

Therein lies the goodness or badness of an action: how well one avoids harming another.

FDChief said...

"Therein lies the goodness or badness of an action: how well one avoids harming another."

Lisa: this is why I still believe and will to my grave that we did a wrong and an evil in China. We condemned a helpless little girl to more than a year of sorrow and loss in an orphanage when we could have prevented that harm.

But I would not change that choice or undo it if I could. As you and Charles both said: we made our choice knowing what was best for us and our family.

But I accept that our decision harmed another. And in that respect I was evil and wrong that day.

Hopefully the good and kindly and honorable choices I've made elsewhen and elsewhere will balance the karmic scales for me when I stand before the Scales of Ma'at. But I won't know until then. And, until then, I have to acknowledge and accept the fact that I am capable, and have done, harm to others for no better reason than my own welfare.

I would add that, while removing me forever from the saints, that doesn't condemn me forever with the sinners. It just makes me human...a worthy enough designation and one I carry with both pride and humility.

Lisa said...

Chief,

Your decision did not harm another and was not evil. You make the presumption that you were the child's salvation, but you (along with many others) were not. It was the correct decision for you, and it brought neither harm nor gain.

If one takes a cosmic view, your bowing out allowed for the "correct" adoptee to show up. She was cared for in the orphanage, and for whatever reason she remained there a short period past your encounter.

I believe one of our jobs is to see with right eyes, be kind, but not labor under a burden of guilt when you know you are doing your best. And you are doing your best. You are kind and good, wear a kilt with finesse, and I like you lots :)

Charles Gittings said...

I have to agree with Lisa on that FDC. It's understandable to feel some guilt / inadequacy, but you did not harm the child any more than the thousands of other Chinese orphans you didn't adopt. Indeed, you could easily have put her more at risk by adopting her. We aren't gods, all we can do is make our best guess some times, and situations like that are as dicey as it gets when it comes to prediction.

In 1980 I was all set to get a promotion to project manager, my wife was pregnant with our second child, and we'd bought a house in
SF for 65K that now is probably worth 700K.

But I quit my job and we sold the house and we moved to Texas, where seven years later the marriage collapsed and my life completelky feel aprat on me. Why did I move?

Because my wife threatened to abort the baby and divorce me. Did I do the right thing?

All I know is I did what I thought was best at the time, and there are three people who wouldn't exist if she had carried through on the threat. Seven years later after the divorce I faced a different dilemma over whether to stay in Dallas or move back to SF. I moved, my oldest son is still berating me for to this day, and it was arguably disastrous in several other ways as well.

But all I knew at the time is that I thought I might crack up if I didn't get away from my ex. I didn't know how badly things would go for me or my kids afterwards. I'm not a fortune teller, and when something is that emotionally fraught, a sound objective analysis just isn't even remotely possible. All you can to is make your best guess.

*

And I guess maybe now is as good a time as any to pass on some bad news to all you the old intel dump folks since none of you are on my PEGC distribution lists.

My cat Lulu, died of heart attack two weeks ago today. The following day I had a needle biopsy on an enlarged lymph node in my chest. Last week I got the results: I have lung cancer. Next Monday I see the oncologist and find out where things stand and what my options are, if any.

But I'm in pretty good spirits considering.

FDChief said...

Charles, I'm so sorry to hear your news, both your health problems and the loss of your kitty. Although I can't ease the loss of little Lulu, I hope your medical prognosis is hopeful. I am thinking of you in what must be a very dark time indeed...

Charles Gittings said...

Thanks FDC,

Lulu was the tough part, but she was 12 and had a relapse after recovering from a really bad respiratory infection. It was different this time, she started wheezing and the medication just didn't seem to help much and she kept getting weaker. Finally we put her on an anti-biotic, but it didn't seem to matter and then she had a heart attack. I was with her; at least it was very sudden and quick.

And after, it was really hard the first few days, but she really hated being sick, she was 12, and I figure she's still with me and try to just remember all the good things we had... which isn't hard at all.

As for me, I have no clue. I've been trying to figure out what to do next on my project -- after consciously working toward this particular situation for seven years, knowing it was going to be the tough part.

And now the health problems on top of that. Weirdly, it simplifies things considerably in many ways, speaking of making decisions: all I can do is take one day at time and let the doctors do what they can do, within reason. Toughest part right now is not having much information beyond the basic diagnosis.

Lisa said...

Dear Charles,

I was thinking of Lulu when I saw your posts here. I am so very sorry. There are no words to ease the loss of a dear pet companion of 12 years. I am glad you were with her and that it was quick.

I was cautioned not to be with my kitty at the end, but how could I not be? I was devastated, so my sympathies.

As for your diagnosis, I am hoping for the best outcome for you. Please keep us informed, won't you?

As for your son still berating you, that is unacceptable. You have nothing to atone for. I have another friend in SF in a similar situation. I will not go into details, but be confident you have done your best. You do not need family drama. It is a tremendous time suck.

sheerahkahn said...

The key thing about the biopsy is if the mass is benign or metastatic.
Remember, benign is good, metastatic does not mean the end of the world. All metastatic means is what form of treatment you will get.
My father in law was riddled with tumors...stomach, lungs, bones, and the big ugly one in his head which had domed his skull.
The doc's went in, and found that the dam thing was huge, and they cut out as much as possible.
But the key thing here is that they weren't sure if he was going to make it.
Not because he had cancer, but because of the location of the tumor in his skull.
After the surgery, he went in for full treatment, and now...well that was near the beginning of last summer...he is now walking around, working at his job, and doing chores around the house.

Cancer is not the end of things Charly, it is just one more thing we have to deal with in life.
I'm hoping for benign, but I have confidence that no matter what the prognosis is you will still see justice brought down on the bastards of the Republican party. Even if that takes another twenty years.
I will pray for you, and you stay strong.

Charles Gittings said...

Thanks Lisa and Sheerahkhan... :)

Lisa said...

Charles,

p.s.--I just noted your comment that Lulu is still with you, and I would like to confirm that! From personal experience I believe animal's souls do persist, in a very real way. I am glad you maintain the wonderful memories of her being.

Charles Gittings said...

Well I met the oncologist today, and found out where things stand in more detail. The good news is I liked the doctor a lot. The bad news is that more data is required, so the next step will be to have a PET/CT scan done in Santa Rosa.

But it's stage III or IV non-small-cell carcinoma, and it's not good folks -- treatment and my exact prognosis are unclear pending the results of the next test, but it sounds like I'll be lucky to last another year.

Surgery is out because I also have emphysema and it's too advanced anyway. That was actually a relief, because I was dreading having surgery for something like this. It doesn't sound completely hopeless either, but the odds are not good.

Lisa said...

Charles,

I am glad you like your doctor, but this is not the news I hoped to hear.

While I am not a religious person, I do not rule out miraculous happenings. That is what I hope for in your case. I would like to hear news after your PET/CT, o.k.?