The Way We Were

What will people say was your best moment?

The Way We Were
Capital Thinking | The Way We Were

Capital Thinking • Issue #5 • View online

Mike died of a sudden heart attack this past May, but three months earlier he told his story to a friend, Marc Maron.

The Way We Were

Eric Chunn | Capital Thinking:

Searching through hundreds of television shows and movies for something to watch one night, I eventually landed on an old movie starring Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand.

“The Way We Were” premiered in 1973 and I last saw it in the theater long not too long after that.

Nominated for six academy awards, it did reasonably well at the box office and Streisand had a major hit with the theme for the movie.

To be honest, I was far more interested in my date that night than I was in actually watching the show, but one scene stuck with me all these years.

The scene, written as “Best Saturday Afternoon”, opens with Robert Redford and Bradford Dillman lounging one beautiful summer day on a sailboat.

“Don’t get sloppy. You had some good days.”

“It’s the rum.”

“No excuse, buddy.”

“What the hell. It doesn’t matter anyway. She wasn’t much. It’s not like you know ... losing somebody like Katie.”

“That would be a loss.”

“Best Saturday afternoon?”

“1933, when "Brute” Holland was out with a bad knee.“

"Best month? April.”

“Best year?

Best year… 1944.”

“No, ‘45…”

What I remember most about that movie is this conversation, the theme song, and that in the end, despite all their problems, the two main characters at last came to the realization they would never be as great apart as they had been together.

But life moves on.

And what once was could never be again.

Best Saturday afternoon?

I’d have to think about it, how about you?

Best moment?

Harder still.

But I know of someone who did know his best moment.

Absolutely. Without a doubt.

I never met him, never saw his comedy act or his TV appearances on Comedy Central and Conan O’Brien.

I didn’t even see him as a finalist on “Last Comic Standing”, but I do know what he considered to be his best moment.

And it wasn’t what you may think.

Diagnosed with HIV at 21, Mike DeStefano knew his life was over.

He’d recently met and fallen in love with a girl – also diagnosed with HIV - and together they moved to Florida to live out their last days. Once there, she continued to get worse and he didn’t.

Finally, she had to be placed in hospice where she passed away.

Mike died of a sudden heart attack this past May, but three months earlier he told his story to a friend, Marc Maron.

Mike’s family gave their permission for the New York Times to print his story (click here for the link).

Ever since I read Mike’s story, I’ve had an old half-remembered quote running around in the back of my mind:

“Every man deserves to be remembered for his best moment.”

I sure hope so.

Because if that’s true, then Mike is an inspiration and his story hard to forget.

What will people say was your best moment?

* this story first appeared on Capital Thinking, December 30, 2012