The Diving Bell & The Butterfly; San Jose, CA
March 9, 2022

Every now and again a story is told that reminds us just how amazing, as well as seemingly random and destructive, life can be and how we should be taking each breath in with an eye to it's own singular unique beauty. Each of us walks through this life with an idea that we control what we are doing; that we control the outcome; ultimately, that we control our lives. The catch? We can not control so much within that life, of course. None of us knows when our lives could be completely transformed in an instant. Jean-Dominique Bauby no doubt felt these same things, until he had an extreme stroke in his early 40's.

Bauby was left unable to move any part of his body, save one eye that he was able to twist maniacally. His voice was also taken from him by the stroke, leaving his one eye as his only way to draw in information from the world around him. As it would turn out, it also became his only way to transmit information back to that world as well.

Jean-Do Bauby was able, through painstaking patience and heroic efforts of those around him, to construct a way to spell out words to others through a series of blinks. The listener would cycle through the alphabet until they reached Bauby's desired letter and then he would blink, thus beginning a word. He was able to spell out entire words this way, as well as sentences, paragraphs, and eventually his own biography, which is titled, "The Diving Bell & The Butterfly". Poker Videos

Bauby wrote this tale from his hospital bed using one eye and nothing else, other than a listener's patience and effort.

Upon a first glance this story is heartbreaking. The sheer effort required to write a book using only "eye-language" staggers the mind. Somehow though, I was left with so much hope and love after watching "Diving Bell". Through all of the incredibly awful and crushing circumstances that Bauby is faced with, he finds a way to fight through it all and refocus on his life. He is able to look at his successes and failures, as well as his sweet memories and regrets. In short, he learns how to become a different type of human. One who isn't able to walk or talk, but one who can also, "go anywhere I ever would like to", by his own words. The triumphant power of the human spirit is on full display here.

It is amazing how Bauby is able to live in his imagination and his memories in such a vivid way. He was able to also store away his sense of humor, if you can find some, in his situation. This movie is such a startling commentary on the inspirational nature of the human psyche, as well as so many other human conditions, that I was left touched long after it ended.

"Diving Bell" reminded me so much of why it is so wonderful to be alive. You can't help but feel petty about your own troublesome circumstances when you see someone like Bauby, who has gone through so much and still manages to find a way to bring something beautiful into this world, through his book, and later this film.

The movie left me with so many mixed emotions, which is probably why this blog is so convoluted, that I actually was a little confused when walking out of the theatre. Do we feel sorry for Bauby? Do we celebrate what he was able to overcome and still accomplish? I don't know, honestly. Probably a little bit of both. Films like this are so important to remind us to seek out as much as we can from this life before it is taken from us.

I think the story is like so much of life; dichotic. There is so much pain and triumph wrapped up in this one's man life that it's hard to separate the two at times. He was loved fiercely by those around him, and then so much of those relationships are violently taken away from him. I believe that much of all of our lives are like that. A sprinkle of one strife and a dash of another success. It's impossible to truly love the sweet in life without also, in many senses, loving the sour. I have always believed that was the only way to truly take life in it's entirety in.

What I took from "Diving Bell" was just that. To understand both the beauty and pain that is present in my life and to try to comprehend both. Also to try and touch as many people while I am here as possible, as well as allow myself to be touched in the process. No small feat, eh? Bauby's victory over so much leads me to believe that I can effectively deal with whatever comes my way as well though. "Diving Bell" left me all at once haunted and inspired to do more, which is I guess how life should be.


@howardhlederer @the_USO @HuckleberrySeed @phil_hellmuth @AnnieDuke @Tom_Dwan safe travels + great trip for you all.

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