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Living and Dying - A Scene From SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION

Andy Stamper (Cliff Potts)and his brother, Hank (Paul Neuman), are loggers. Andy is under water, pinned there by a sudden movement of the logs they are working. This is one of the most tragic and difficult scenes I've seen portrayed in film. It's from SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION, a 1970 flick based on Ken Kesey's novel.

Andy, instead of panicking, starts clowning around. He knows he's going to die, yet he makes funny faces as Hank relays gulps of air, mouth-to-mouth. They look like two gay guys kissing. The water's crystal clear, and you can read every expression on Andy's face over his brother's shoulder as Hank gulps air and dives under, gulps air and dives under. Eventually Andy starts laughing, loses all his air, and drowns, not once showing fear.

The dramatic juxtaposition of comedy and tragedy has never been for me so present and powerful. I am reminded that, though we're all dying, we must live until that final moment. The point is to really, REALLY, live. If we want to watch TV, fine; that's one way of living. Play football, kick the cat, agonize over injustice,whatever. It's all using up the time we're allotted to draw breath.

Rejoice in the Choice.

We can live... or we can LIVE!