The world mourned the loss of David Bowie on January 10 - a legendary singer, songwriter, producer, actor, multi-instrumentalist, painter, record producer, and overall human being.
Duncan Jones, Bowie's son, shared a tribute to his father, penned by the palliative care doctor that they came to know throughout Bowie's 18-month cancer illness.
Find the letter below.
Oh no, dont say its true whilst realization of your death was sinking in during those grey, cold January days of 2016, many of us went on with our day jobs. At the beginning of that week I had a discussion with a hospital patient, facing the end of her life. We discussed your death and your music, and it got us talking about numerous weighty subjects, that are not always straightforward to discuss with someone facing their own demise. In fact, your story became a way for us to communicate very openly about death, something many doctors and nurses struggle to introduce as a topic of conversation. But before I delve further into the aforementioned exchange, Id like to get a few other things off my chest, and I hope you dont find them a saddening bore.
Thank you for the Eighties when your ChangesOneBowie album provided us with hours of joyful listening, in particular on a trip from Darmstadt to Cologne and back. My friends and I will probably always associate Diamond Dogs, Rebel Rebel, China Girl and Golden Years with that particular time in our lives. Needless to say, we had a great time in Kln.
Thank you for Berlin, especially early on, when your songs provided some of the musical backdrop to what was happening in East and West Germany. I still have Helden on vinyl and played it again when I heard you had died (youll be pleased to hear that Helden will also feature in our next Analogue Music Club in the Pilot pub in Penarth later this month). Some may associate David Hasselhoff with the fall of the wall and reunification; but many Germans probably wish that time had taken a cigarette and put it in Mr Hasselhoffs mouth around that time, rather than hear Ive been looking for freedom endlessly on the radio. For me that time in our history is sound tracked by Heroes.
Thanks also on behalf of my friend Ifan, who went to one of your gigs in Cardiff. His sister Haf was on the doors that night and I heard a rumour that Ifan managed to sneak in for free (he says sorry!). You gave him and his mate a wave from the stage which will remain in his memory forever.
Thank you for Lazarus and Blackstar. I am a palliative care doctor, and what you have done in the time surrounding your death has had a profound effect on me and many people I work with. Your album is strewn with references, hints and allusions. As always, you dont make interpretation all that easy, but perhaps that isnt the point. I have often heard how meticulous you were in your life. For me, the fact that your gentle death at home coincided so closely with the release of your album, with its good-bye message, in my mind is unlikely to be coincidence. All of this was carefully planned, to become a work of death art. The video of Lazarus is very deep and many of the scenes will mean different things to us all; for me it is about dealing with the past when you are faced with inevitable death.
Your death at home. Many people I talk to as part of my job think that death predominantly happens in hospitals, in very clinical settings, but I presume you chose home and planned this in some detail. This is one of our aims in palliative care, and your ability to achieve this may mean that others will see it as an option they would like fulfilled. The photos that emerged of you some days after your death, were said to be from the last weeks of your life. I do not know whether this is correct, but I am certain that many of us would like to carry off a sharp suit in the same way that you did in those photos. You looked great, as always, and it seemed in direct defiance of all the scary monsters that the last weeks of life can be associated with.
For your symptom control needs, you will presumably have had palliative care professionals advise on pain, nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, and I can imagine they did this well. I envisage that they also discussed any emotional anguish you may have had.
For your advance care planning (i.e. planning heath and care decisions prior to things getting worse and before becoming unable to express them), I am certain you will have had a lot of ideas, expectations, prior decisions and stipulations. These may have been set out clearly in writing, near your bed at home, so that everyone who met you was clear on what you wanted, regardless of your ability to communicate. It is an area not just palliative care professionals, but in fact all healthcare workers want to provide and improve, so that it is less likely that any sudden health incidents will automatically result in a blue-light ambulance emergency room admission. Especially when people become unable to speak for themselves.
And I doubt that anyone will have given you Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in the last hours/days of your life, or even considered it. Regrettably, some patients who have not actively opted out of this treatment still receive it, by default. It involves physical, sometimes bone-breaking chest compressions, electric shocks, injections and insertion of airways and is only successful in 1-2% of patients whose cancer has spread to other organs in their body. It is very likely that you asked your medical team to issue you with a Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Order. I can only imagine what it must have been like to discuss this, but you were once again a hero, or a Held, even at this most challenging time of your life. And the professionals who saw you will have had good knowledge and skill in the provision of palliative and end-of-life care. Sadly, this essential part of training is not always available for junior healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, and is sometimes overlooked or under-prioritized by those who plan their education. I think if you were ever to return (as Lazarus did), you would be a firm advocate for good palliative care training being available everywhere.
So back to the conversation I had with the lady who had recently received the news that she had advanced cancer that had spread, and that she would probably not live much longer than a year or so. She talked about you and loved your music, but for some reason was not impressed by your Ziggy Stardust outfit (she was not sure whether you were a boy or a girl). She too, had memories of places and events for which you provided an idiosyncratic soundtrack. And then we talked about a good death, the dying moments and what these typically look like. And we talked about palliative care and how it can help. She told me about her mothers and her fathers death, and that she wanted to be at home when things progressed, not in a hospital or emergency room, but that shed happily transfer to the local hospice should her symptoms be too challenging to treat at home.
We both wondered who may have been around you when you took your last breath and whether anyone was holding your hand. I believe this was an aspect of the vision she had of her own dying moments that was of utmost importance to her, and you gave her a way of expressing this most personal longing to me, a relative stranger.
David, you will live on in our hearts.
David Bowie and Duncan Jones, shared by Duncan on Twitter.
When looking at a resume, it's easy to understand how prospective employers will assume someone is very intelligent based on their education and past experience.
But one shouldn't only assume someone's intelligence based on what they read.
More often than not, one can tell rather quickly that someone possesses above-average intelligence, based on how they speak, how they behave, or other telling details.
Redditor PadWanKenobi was curious to hear what people felt were the tell tale signs they were in the company of a possible genius, leading them to ask:
"What’s a sign of extremely high intelligence?"
"Ability to intuitively and quickly understand complex systems and how lots of parts relate in a coherent whole."
"Like I work with some people who just keep tons of concepts in their head and easily integrate new information into their understanding of those concepts."
"They immediately know what questions they should be asking to better understand."
"And these are things they're currently working on, not like things they spent time studying in school over years."
"They just have a very strong ability to synthesize new information into their understanding."
"I sit in meetings distracted and confused having forgotten what we talked about in the previous meetings, and these folks just consistently have a solid handle on everything."- Ok-Control-787
Innate Problem Solvers
"They know when not to solve a problem."
"This took me a while to understand but the smartest people I know do this."
"It could be a really simple thing like ignoring emails from people asking for help."
"The supervisor or boss might have a quick and easy solution for the situation but instead of just handing it to the person that asked they let them figure it out on their own."
"They know who they can do this with and when to do it."
"If they did that with all of their underlings it would just create a mess."
"Another example that I can think of is planned chaos."
"Some people can predict exactly where things will go wrong and they could fix it before it creates a problem."
"They don't because nobody ever notices what's going on in the background when things are working perfectly."
"Once things fails then everybody notices and if you are the one person that fixed it you become the hero."
"They can also use then chaos to reach a goal they couldn't get before if things were working correctly."
"There's many examples of this in every day life that I didn't see before until I realized what was happening."- atapesGiphy
You know what they say about people with small hands
"If your hand is smaller than your face."- FallofTheKnight
The all knowing glow.
"When someone asks you a question and you push your glasses up while light comes out of it and covers your eyes for some reason."- JonEregor
Those giveaway behavioral quirks
"Wearing glasses and saying things like 'ah yes', and 'I see' while you pensively rub your chin."- iuytrefdgh436yujhe2Thinking Reaction GIF by ABC TV + IVIEWGiphy
"When they explain something they make the people around them feel smarter, not dumber."- redkat85
Being one step ahead.
"The capacity to understand complex things, see patterns where regular people don't."- Ostepop234
"They have this tendency to make you go 'Ohhh, why didn't I think of that?' when listening to them talk."- did_it_forthelulzWhy Didnt I Think Of That Cillian Murphy GIFGiphy
An endless love of learning
"A passion for knowledge and expanding understanding of complex concepts."
"The plumber can be just as insightful as the scholar."- KatatoniK94
Of course, one shouldn't always be fooled by what they see.
As many people are masters at appearing much smarter than they are.
In fact, one important sign of super intelligence is being able to separate those who appear smart, from those who actually are.
With each passing year of a marriage, couples will often discover that while they don't love each other any less than they once did, that spark their relationship used to carry has faded.
This will often lead these couples to look for ways to spice things up a bit.
Among the more popular experiments is inviting a third member to their bedroom.
Enticing as this prospect is, however, it's also easy to be intimidated by the reality of it, or even the mere suggestion of it.
"Men, what advice do you have for men whose wives want to bring a third into the bedroom?"
Make sure you want to do it.
"You need to be completely honest with yourself, ask if this is something you want and could live with."- Dame87
Proceed with caution
"It’s like frolicking in a mine field."
"You both better be SUPER into the idea, you can’t have one person who’s reluctantly agreed to go along with it."
"And established rules."
"A threesome sounds like fun and games until you’re watching your partner make faces and sounds that you only thought were for you in your most intimate moments together, and a burning jealousy comes out of nowhere and breaks your heart."
"I’m not saying it’s automatically a bad idea and I know people do polyamory successfully, but dear god be careful."- coleosis1414
Make sure you're an active participant
"I had an ex that was adamant that she wanted to be a swinger or whatever."
"The one time I decided to roll with it, I hit it off immediately with the other dude's girlfriend and had a blast hanging out with her all night."
"The other dude was a total creep, though."
"Also, my ex could not handle the fact that someone else was giving me the slightest bit of attention."
"So, needless to say, that didn't go anywhere."
"Turns out she didn't want to be a swinger, she just wanted to have sex with other people behind my back, which she had no problems whatsoever with."- Ted_Denslow
Look out for ulterior motives
"Just remember that if you bring this up and your husband is against it, that could be the beginning of the end of your marriage."
"For a lot of people their partner saying 'I am seriously considering having sex with other people and I'm checking with you if it is ok', is a deal breaker."- gamerplays
Consider a test run?
"Go to a bar together separately."
"Watch them flirt/interact with someone else."
"If you get jealous, it's probably a bad idea to bring in a third."
"If it turns you on, go for it."- SinSlayer
Query people with experience.
"It’s something my wife and I have talked about."
"We both agreed that opening the Pandora’s box is not the way we want our relationship to go."
"While it sounds fun, we have seen way to many relationships derailed because of it."- DarthDujo
Consider going whole hog.
"Bring a 4th."- xxemrgmi
Evaluate your relationship first.
"Make sure you and your partner are secure in your own relationship before having another person join."
"Have boundaries, and no secrets."
"From my experience it doesn't usually work out in the end."- Thick-Procedure455
"Don't do it."
"For a long time, my ex harbored a fantasy of watching me have sex with another woman."
"Hey, who knows why any of us are wired the way we are?"
"After contemplating the idea together for a while, we decided to approach one of her more attractive co-workers, who had made a series of flattering comments along the lines of "you're so lucky" and "he's so good-looking'."
"She enthusiastically agreed."
"Our first meet-up was of course awkward, but the second, third and following were pretty good."
"In fact they got progressively hotter, as we all got more comfortable with each other's boundaries, erotic likes and dislikes."
"However, over a few months these occasional kinky weekends transitioned into the co-worker asking more frequently and aggressively to be invited over."
"We tried to explain that we had intended these threesomes to be rare and exotic highlights in our sex life, not regular occurrences, but she didn't take the message to heart and instead became increasingly insistent, bordering on smothering."
"After being turned down one Friday, that night she unexpectedly showed up at our door anyway, carrying a weekend bag and wearing nothing but a raincoat, stay-ups and heels."
"While that was quite a sight, it definitely creeped us out, as it made us finally realize the whole arrangement was descending into 'play Misty for me' territory."
"My ex and I agreed that her unexpected and unwelcome appearance signaled the end of future three-ways, at least until we were able to cool our own selves down, reassess, and perhaps later find a less demanding and insistent third."
"Things subsequently got very sticky at work for my wife, as her co-worker, with whom she had to interact closely, strongly resented being permabanned, and kept demanding to know 'what she'd done that was so awful'."
"Coworker eventually asked to be transferred to another office, but by the time that process was over and done, the discomfort / guilt / pressure / confusion my ex was suffering both at home and at work had begun to take its psychological toll."
"I must confess it didn't help that our own sex life was simultaneously going through a rough patch."
"Long story short, we ended our decade-long relationship less than a year after breaking off the threesomes, chiefly due to trust issues and growing sexual incompatibility, both perhaps triggered by our experimentation."
"Ever since, I've regretted agreeing to that first three-way."
"If I hadn't been so damned eager to take a bite of forbidden fruit, we might have kept our relationship intact."
"But I guess this can also be put down as what sometimes happens when you ignore that old advice, 'don't sh*t where you sleep'."- theartfulcodger
When venturing into the unknown, it's always wise to gain some first hand experience, to hear a variety of pros and cons of what you're possibly getting yourself into.
That way, deciding whether or not it's for you will become increasingly clear.
It's also important to remember, that it is always ok to say "no".
People Share Their Best 'You Either Die The Hero Or Live Long Enough To Become The Villain' Experiences
"You either die the hero or live long enough to become the villain."
Though not necessarily a universal truth, all of us have witnessed unfortunate moments in our lives where we've seen this saying become a reality.
Be it seeing our favorite public figures take a serious fall from grace, someone we know and admire eventually disappointing us in a devastating manner, or even seeing ourselves turn into someone we promised we'd never become.
One Redditor was curious to hear people's examples of this saying coming to light, either from a personal experience or seeing it happen to a well-known, public figure, leading them to ask:
"Who is your example of 'you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain'?"
"He originally stood up for civil rights when it was really unpopular."
"Was hospitalized and accidentally placed in the black ward."
"When the doctors found out, they tried to move him, but he refused."
"Then he became a cult leader and used his power and influence to end the lives of a thousand people."- Crvsby
Earning a position of power
"Working in restaurant kitchens."
"You either burn out young, or become the boss that everyone hates."
"There's exceptions, but that's the rule."- grandpas_old_crow
"Henry Heimlich, inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver."
"Made up a bunch of untested uses for it, treating people having asthma attacks, and drowning victims were the two I remember that he publicly talked up."
"Later, he funded an experiment that involved injecting people with Malaria to see if it would treat other conditions.
"The experiment was found to be unethical by American review boards, so he conducted them in Ethiopia." - User Deleted
"In WW1 he led the French to victory at Verdun, one of the worst battles in human history."
"In WW2, after France was beaten, Petain was the head of state of Vichy France."
"Guy went from the Lion of Verdun to the biggest Nazi collaborator in France."- arthuranymoredonuts
"Every organ until it gets cancer."- SuperBaconjam
"He had the whole country behind him here in Ireland at one point bar people who thought combat sport is grotesque."
"He was witty, original, backing himself up and having a Hollywood like rise to stardom."
"Now he's someone who the whole country is ashamed of, goes punching old men, clearly sleeps around on his wife while she's at home with the kids, just a walking caricature of himself."
"He didn't listen to his own advice."
"Get out."- StephenPigot2020
Turning into our parents
"My dad used to annoy me by calling my Pokemon cards 'Pokey-Mans'."
"Now my kids have them and I do the same thing and it annoys the sh*t out of them."
"Thanks for the (Pokeyman) gold!"- rumpel4skinOU
"Almost died during the revolutionary way, if I recall correctly, and if he had he would have been remembered a huge hero, and a martyr."
"Instead he lived and changed sides, and is remembered only for his being a traitor."- uniqueperson22
Be it someone we knew quite intimately, or someone we admired from a far, it is always heartbreaking to see someone evolve from someone we love, to someone we utterly hate.
Sometimes we do things that have to be done.
And some of those things live in life's gray area of right and wrong.
What comes as a surprise to some is when we don't care if we're wrong.
We may still technically be in the right.
But morally and ethically, there may be some issues.
But still, many people don't care.
Redditor BirdyPizzawanted to see who would fess up about some of the worst things we're responsible for but have no shame.
"What is the darkest thing you have ever done and don’t regret?"
I've stolen from department stores that overcharged. I was arrested. I didn't care. So there...
"Five years ago my dad suffered a catastrophic stroke. Left paralyzed and robbed of his speech and ability to communicate he was a shell of the once vibrant, charismatic man he once was. He was moved into skilled nursing where he lived for nearly two years, he was miserable."
"On my last visit I told him it was okay if he wanted to leave us, that we would miss him but he should go. A week later I received the call that he had passed. Instead of immediate grief I felt relief. Relief that he was finally free. The grief came later and I still miss him every single day."
"Got into a car accident and had to stay with my mom for a couple days to figure out what to do. Went back to my apartment (I had two roommates) and everything was missing from my room. Long story short one of my roommates had everything hidden in her room."
"I called and told her the things were missing from my room and she came up with a lie that a couple girls came to look at my room (I was moving out bc of the accident, long story) and that they must have taken my things. She had everything I owned. Including my grandmothers perfume bottles, stuffed to the back of her closet, under her bed, behind her dresser etc."
"So I packed all of my stuff up. Then took a giant black garbage bag and stuffed as much of her closet in it as I could. Took it to the middle of nowhere, dug a hole and burnt it. She called screaming at me that her stuff was missing. I told her the two girls must have come by and taken her stuff too."
"I hit my uncle left right and center when he was trying to choke my father to death. I was 16 years old at that time, a very skinny girl. I beat his face neck and every part of him that I could target with so much intensity that my knuckles turned blue the next day. I had an animalistic rage that day trying to help my father get away from his death grip. I hate my uncle even today."
"I got anger issues because of growing up around him. And I don't regret beating him that day at all. He was physically abusive to his wife as well. One fine day, his wife retaliated by beating him blue with a stick. And he stopped being physically violent towards her post that."
"A neighbor like 10 years ago was neglecting their dog badly in the heat. The dog escaped often and ended up at the shelter a lot. One day she jumped the fence and got her tie-out cable stuck on the fence. (She was not in danger of choking.) Neighbor put her on a 3-foot-long cable tied to a doorknob, no water, 90 degree day. I let some kind folks steal her, watched the whole thing and said nothing to stop them."
"When my father was dying and in pain I was the one who told the doctors he had been through enough and we couldn't see him suffer anymore. Doctor injected him with something, I assume a morphine mega dose and he passed peacefully moments after. Euthanasia may not be legal in UK but compassionate doctors know what's what. I don't regret it because my pa made me promise I would have his back when he got sick or old. I'm sad he got sick and never got to get old."
That is a lot of mess. But sometimes we have to do what we have to do.
"One of my ex best friends in high school was a real narcissistic lunatic. Had so many egotistical fantasies about what he deserved but I remained his friend because we met through my close friend (his girlfriend). As I started realizing what a terrible person he was I convinced him to go after his fantasy of a harem by asking to add a 3rd to their relationship, that led to a fight between his gf."
"I called her about it and asked how she felt about him adding someone to their relationship and about him sleeping with her. She said she knew nothing about that and started crying because he cheated on her. I basically helped orchestrate their breakup and have no regrets. She is happy with her first child now and he is in a toxic af relationship with 3 kids, 2 of which aren't his and his partner is 8 years older than him."
"Had to make the choice to take my dad off of life support after he got Covid this year. He was sedated for a couple of weeks and one of his lungs collapsed and I couldn't watch him fall apart anymore. My dad was a bulky dude. Constantly did a lot of outdoor work and to see him bone skinny and have no muscle left killed me and I knew even if he somehow got through it, he would have been so miserable and depressed in that state he was in. I don’t regret it. I think it was the right thing to do by him. I’ll never not miss him though. That was my buddy."
"Turned a close friend into the fish and game. He would poach mountain lions and bears. His whole family would literally shoot them and leave them. He would brag about it. I couldn’t stand it and felt that I needed to stop him. He’s in prison and so is his uncle. I know I ruined his life but he was literally killing so many mountain lions and bears."
"In middle school, there was this group of boys that would corner me in the hallway and try to scare me. I was the perfect target for these little b**tards. I was short, skinny, and had (and still have) and anxiety disorder. One day I just had enough, and asked a friend if I could have an extra pencil, sharpened it as much as I could, and when I saw one of them in the hallway, I stabbed the hell out of his leg. Sh**head got what he deserved."
Wow... we really are a dark and secretive people.