3The Pocket Change That Saved a Senator from a Bullet
Do you remember how in Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks shows up at momentous spots in history: meeting JFK, teaching Elvis how to dance, busting the Watergate burglary and showing the world how good the Chinese are at Ping-Pong? It was a triumph in cinema. In some ways, Hawaiian senator Daniel Inouye has lived that kind of life.
"Life is like a box of chocolates, only all of the chocolates are for me."
After all, not many people can claim that they've been a part of so many important moments in history, like the ratification of the statehood of Hawaii, delivering the keynote at the riotous 1968 Democratic Convention and serving on the committee that investigated the Watergate scandal. Even today, Inouye is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee -- so he helps decide who gets what, tax-money-wise. He's also third in line to succeed the president, should something terrible happen to Biden and Boehner.
Not bad for a guy who should have died almost 70 years ago.
The Tiny Thing That Saved the Day:
While fighting during World War II in France, Inouye led a charge against a group of Germans and was shot in the heart for his trouble. Luckily, it didn't go through, because it hit two silver dollars he carried in his shirt pocket. Two little coins that he was probably saving to buy a steak when he got back to the States were all that stood between him and a shot to the heart.
Back then, two dollars was half of all the money on the entire planet.
Not that the senator made it through the war unscathed. He later lost his arm in a devastating attack in Italy, and he was eventually awarded the Purple Heart for his service. But it was those two little silver coins that allowed him to put his mark on the next 70 years of history.
2The Leonard Cohen Song That Saved Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert is the most prominent movie critic ... ever, we think. Being the best at it helps. (He also reads Cracked, and tends to say kind things about us. But it's that first one that earned him a spot here.)
Even a less than enamored/obsessed fan of Ebert is probably aware that he's battled cancer in the past few years, bouncing back from the life-threatening disease to do some of the most powerful writing of his career.
He probably wouldn't have been around to do any of it, if not for one song.
"You're welcome -- ain't no thing."
The Tiny Thing That Saved the Day:
According to this must-read Esquire piece, it was a Leonard Cohen song that did it (specifically, "I'm Your Man.")
In 2006 Ebert's cancer resurfaced, this time in the jaw, part of which needed to be removed to keep the nastiness from spreading. After a few weeks of recovery time, he was finally declared ready to return home from the hospital. He got his stuff packed up and let his doctors and nurses pay one last visit before he hit the road. The car was practically running at the hospital entrance, but Roger lingered for a few minutes to listen to Leonard Cohen.
"Shhhh ... the gangsta rap break is coming up."
An artery in his neck burst, as in broke, as in exploded. Blood spewed from his mouth and pooled at his feet, and everyone looked around for Hugh Laurie and a hidden camera. Once it was confirmed that, no, this was not a surprise taping of House, the nurses and doctors got to work stopping the disaster bleeding. Now imagine if, instead of happening right there in the hospital room, the blood vessel had burst while he was sitting in city traffic.
Instead, the doctors were right there and, after even more surgery, more therapy and more hospital time, Ebert was finally declared well enough to get home and start living his life again.
A life saved by the one radio station that didn't spend 2006 playing "How to Save a Life" on repeat.
Now, think about if you were the one in that hospital room and you'd just been given the OK to go home. You would have bolted, right? Most of us can't stand hospital rooms longer than it takes to get our face moles removed, let alone long enough to sit through a whole song when we could be on our way home to our Xbox.
Such is the power of Leonard Cohen, we guess.
"I'd love to stay and chat, but my songs have an asteroid to deflect."