David Rakoff's Half Empty

Oddly, though, I reviewed David Rakoff's Half Empty about 2 weeks ago, I didn't actually finish it til the night before last. It lay beside my bed, sort of like a lover that I'd been shamelessly teasing all day until bed time, when in a fit of frustration, he finally looks at me and my peacefully sleeping form and blurts out, "Are you gonna finish me off, or what?!"

The last essay in the bunch, called "Another Shoe," deals with David's near loss to cancer and his relief at being able to keep his shoulder and arm.

But I am lucky in my background and prospects, my connections that allow me to marshal, at a moment's notice, three oncologists to save my arm, or another dear friend who is an attorney to challenge the insurance company. All of it means that I remained essentially affluent despite a near-zero bank balance. How are people supposed to manage? How did elected officials have the balls to even try to spin their wrong-side-of-history bullshit as being in our interests? Or moral? It is the duty of society to take care of its individuals, plain and simply. We will never be healthier than our sickest member. (221)

Everybody's got something. In the end, what choice does one really have but to understand that truth, to really take it in, and then shop for groceries, get a haircut, do one's work; get on with the business of one's life.

That's the hope, anyway. (224)


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