Sunday, January 11, 2009
It is no secret among my circle of friends that I am a huge fan of Patrick Swayze. Not only did he star in two of the greatest bro-films of all time, "Road House" and "Point Break", but me and the fellas actually went as far as naming our band, Dalton, after his quintessential protagonist from the former film. His life outside his film career has always been just as much an example of his awesomeness as his time onscreen, happily married for 33 years and living a quiet life on a remote ranch far from the plastic Hollywood pantomime. To paraphrase an internet buddy of mine, Pat is "broness personified".
I was crushed when The Swayz was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer just over a year ago, an especially deadly form of cancer with a 5% survival rate. Coming to grips with the mortality of one of your idols can be a sobering experience, something I realized when Hunter S. Thompson ate a shotgun a couple years back. When someone embodies the ideals you hold so closely to your heart so completely, you can't help but put them on a giant pedestal and view them as immortal, a timeless moral compass by which you can navigate your own life.
I watched his first interview since his diagnosis the other night (with Barbara Walters on ABC), along with about half of the people in America. I was struck by the man's courage and strength, and I realized that this cancer doesn't have him yet, not by a long shot. Swayze IS Dalton, and he will kick the ever-loving shit out of anyone or anything that stands in his way, be it an overzealous patron of The Double Deuce or or a deadly form of cancer. The Swayz is a fighter, and FUCK the odds. The doctors gave him a couple weeks, maybe a couple months to live. He said, "Suck it" and filmed the first season of a new TV series.
Anyhow, I know he'll never read this, but I'd just like to say something publicly:
Mr. Swayze, you have all my respect and support, along with that of millions of others. Every time I plug in and shred a wicked solo, you can consider it a tribute to the strength you've shown me inside myself. Godspeed, sir. Our thoughts are with you.