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45 by Shinedown

Album: Leave A WhisperReleased: 2003
  • Many people think this is about suicide, but the song is actually about hope, to fight against the odds. Shinedown lead singer Brent Smith told Foundry Music: "I think a lot of people kind of take a literal sense because of the lyrics - but the song is basically about the day that you wake up and you look at yourself in the mirror and you finally decide that you want to try to become comfortable in your own skin, and realize that you're gonna have to make yourself happy before you're going to make anyone else happy. And basically, the 45 isn't an actual literal term for a gun, I used it as a metaphor for the world, the 45 is actually the world and what it hands you every day of your life. When you get up, it's a gift to be alive to begin with. A lot of different people, when I've talked about it, they said, 'Do you really honestly mean that?' And I'm like, 'Well, yeah.' Because I've been in that situation where I didn't know if I wanted to continue going on and I didn't know how to necessarily make myself comfortable with who I was, trying to find a way of learning more about myself. And you come from a dark place sometimes, and that's really the reality of the song. It's about overcoming and about moving forward. And it's basically about understanding that it's not always going to be good, but you really have no one to blame for yourself if you don't move forward. That's where the whole, 'Nobody knows what I believe,' comes from because we're all individuals. So that's really where it comes from, it's about moving on, really." (thanks, Justin - Franklin, VA)
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Comments: 55

To me, this song was hope and in a sense made me always think I wasn't alone. I listen to "45" all the time. I understand people think it's about suicide, but it made me calm. Now my life is different and happy. I still listen to it and it makes me smile to think everything I have done in a short time. Our world is full of tough choices and we just have to look down at our '45' and decide whether we can live with it.Melissa - Newtown, Pa
I think this song is about suicide, because of the fact that he states he is "Staring down the Barrel of a .45 (Colt pistol used mainly in WWII)" This means he is about to kill himself and that he doesn't want to live anymore.Michael - Las Cruces, Nm
For me this song somehow seemed like it was about a young man who went off to war and came home alive but cannot live with himself for what he went through. To me" send a message to an unborn child, keep your eyes open for awhile" means think things through. What ever happened to the young mans heart, swallowed by pain as he slowly fell apart, means he cannot live with himself from the events that led to his return home. Of course I had never seen the video until now and I'm glad to know its not what I thoughtJosh - Granby, Ma
I dont know what they were thinking when they wrote the song but I know the song has huge meaning to me when I hear it. I went through a bad divorce followed by suicidal thoughts and depression. I sat in my hall way one night convincing my self that my wife was coming back but realizing she wasnt, she was everything to me my entire life at that moment. I sat there with with a Glock 21 which is a .45 caliber pistol andI was starring down the Barrel swearing I could see the bullet (which in a calm state of mind you know you cant) debating whether to pull the trigger or not and hoping as starred I down the barrel maybe it would just go off and keep me from making the decision . I thought I was living a perfect world in my mind and it came crashing down on me and like the song I slowly fell apart till I came as close to rock bottom as possible. So this song maybe symbolic to many of you but it is a reminder to me of what I went through literelly and its a reminder that I made it through Im going to keep maiking it throughS - Miami, Fl
I Just got into this band and I love this entire album! When I first heard this song I did not think it was at all about suicide or the sitiuation with the unplanned parenthood, I actually thought it had somewhat of a politiacal meaning, or at least about standing up for what you believe in. I think the message about the "unborn child" was about fighting for the good of future generations. The 45 line I thought was just what the singer said it was, facing the challenges the world throws at you. Love this band, definately getting their other albums!Zero - Nowhere, Nj
Brea from alabama there is a gun called a 45, it's a 45 calibur i don't know guns at all and even i knew thatJanet - Canandaigua, Ny
the song is about a miscarriage of a unplanned child and he is getting blamed for it.Kayla - Cleveland, Tn
I think people can take this song many different ways. The first time I heard it I was going through a tough time, I was in a relationship with someone for over 3 years and she got killed in a car wreck. I was down and out, not knowing what to do. I felt like my life was over, I felt like I was staring down a barrell of a 45! This song hit real close to home and I just compared it to what I was going through at that time! It was a very depressing song to me, but it is one of my favorites!Blake - Pleasant View, Tn
i was told this song is about the lead singers uncle who lived a bad life dealing with the mafia. but then he leaves and starts a new life. gets married has a family and he is finally content with his life. then a mafia member knocks at the door with a 45. not sure if any of it is true but it kinda makes sense.Aaron - Spokane, Wa
I have no idea why but I always thought this song was about being in the middle of a war (any kind, you pick), and then they found themselvesat the end of it, "Staring down the barrel of a 45", and basically it's all over.[p3yt0n} - Somewhere, In
when i first listened to the song i kinda thought about it and like abunch of people here thought it might be related to a lose of a friend ect.after the 2nd round i kinda the image of hope and to never give up no matter the circumstance.

ps, yes brea from alabama,there is a such a gun as a 45'(not to pick on ya).im surprised someone from alabama would not know there is such a gun,cause its world renound in my opinoin is cause its the first gun ever made in 1911 with the first magazine clip.(just a little FF fun fact)
Josh - Barksdale, Tx
Hey Brea, from Alabama, The very first post on this song, first of all you admit that your not that bright and it's true, and secondly there is a gun called a 45. It is a gun with a .45 caliber round. There is a revolver colt 45, with a long barrel and a short barrel, and there is also a clip fed colt 45 depending on the era of the guns production, and what the shooter prefers. You say you know your guns but obviously you don't, oh and if you really were a hunter you would have done some research on guns before hand. Oh yeah and I'm just a city slicker high school kid that dosent hunt and I know a whole lot more about guns than you do(obviously).Kory - Wahoo, Ne
Even I could have told you it was not about suicide... and im not the brighest person in the world... I could have told you there is not a gun called a 45... I guess I know my guns after all I am a hunter lol. Love the song somtimes I feel like this... Sometimes I just dont wanna let go but I am learning to do so.Brea - Alabama, Al
so... acoustic version or regular? I love the acoustic!Ashley - Phx, Az
This song is not about suicide or anyone dying staring down a barrel of a 45 is used as a metofor its about HOPEJordan - Pine City, Mn
This song is actully about hope its a very very good songJordan - Pine City, Mn
This song is actually about finding urself and he is using a 45 as a metapfor to the world saying waking up is like having a 45 to ur head. U can check tis up at wikipedia.com by looking up shinedown and clicking on the link for the song 45Lorenzo - San Diego, Ca
whoever said this song is about Columbine is wrong, especially for the fact neither of the boys used a .45Justin - Franklin, Va
the box high up on a shelf is where you could keep a .45 - in a box on a shelf in your closet.Mel!ssa - Pittsburgh, Pa
I think this is about i guy whos child shoots himself. He has a gun(theres a box high up on the shelf meant for you, no one else)which to me he means meant for him to do what he wants with it. NOT FOR HIS CHILD.He actually thinks about killing himself because he is remembering when his child was alive(staring down the barrel of a 45,swimming through the ashes of another life) and he cant accept the fact that in a way it was his fault(no real reason to accept the way things have changed). I think another reason that he was thinking about commiting suiced was because everyone was blaming him(everyones pointing there fingers,always condenming me)In the line(send a mesage to the unborn child,keep your eyes open for a while)I think his girlfriend or his wife may be pregnant and he wants to do better with that baby...i know this could all be completely opposite of the true meaning but this is what i think it means...thanksAudreanna - Somewhere, Il
Hey haven't u guys notices. This song is abouth the Columbine masacre.Thulitha - Colombo, Other
Everyone's pointing their fingers----- They know what he did.Brianna - Ilost, Wi
I think he was requesting things he did not have or couldnt get and a world not like the one we live. And since people are programed to do as they are told (parents, then teachers, then employers, etc)and not waste too much time dreaming should he hold these dreams or let them vanish as he focuses on reality. Someone is asking what happened to his heart his love, his optimism and another responds it was swallowed by pain as he slowly fell apart. Staring down the barrel of a 45 is like being on the edge of life and death. Or staring at what could be his death. But throws at his assailant that he doesnt have a reason to accept what he is held to do since things are now different. So he decides to dream about another while being held at gunpoint in this one. A sort of denial and an acceptance of that denial. Second verse he warns the next generation or the next one to experience what he has by telling them to stay curious and observative to things before "falling in line" like the world. "In a box high up on the shelf".... that they should get high on drugs lol nah just kidding. But i think this means that there is something hidden out of reach only they can get that will help them to understand why they are staring down the barrel of a .45 and the wrapped in guilt part means that someone felt so guilty they should help. And the last verse, everyone is condemning him eventhought they don't fully understand his beleifs. Whether it's right or wrong to them, their response is only their opinion.Demetrius - Cleveland, Ms
the song is about this,

he doenst know how to handle on how to have a child. so he loses his mind.

Send away for a priceless gift---- the unborn child.

One not subtle, one not on the list----never planned on it.

In these times of doing what you're told---- his parnets telling him when he was growing up to support the a kid when he has one.

You keep these feelings, no one knows---- hes keeping them to himself becasue he doesnt know how to explain them to others.

What ever happened to the young man's heart
Swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart----before he had the child his heart was that of a young man, but since he had a child his young heart was now for the child to have and for the fathers heart to grow up and the father cant stand to grow up.

Swimming through the ashes of another life----the child

No real reason to accept the way things have changed---- he has a hard time accepting changes so he wants to take the eazy way out of life.

Send a message to the unborn child---- the father wont be alive to see him grow

Keep your eyes open for a while----for the child to live his young life to the fullest and when he grows up to relize why his father killed himself.

In a box high up on the shelf, left for you, no one else
There's a piece of a puzzle known as life
Wrapped in guilt, sealed up tight---- the gun, he wants his child to have when he/she gets older to have it and see that this was a part of his (the father) life and for it not to be yours.

Everyone's pointing their fingers
Always condemning me---- for getting a his gf or wife or whatever pregneant without planning it



this song is full of suicide and to not to take the eazy way out of life, personally me its very much a EMO gay song, (only cuz of suicide and cant take what he did) but i give it a 3 3/4 out of 5 stars of a good song.
Mark - Dont Worry Bout It, Ga
I do not think this song is about having a child at all, if you ever see them play this live, he usually tells you this song is about hope and says never give up. This is the way I found it to be. In the first verse he is in the middle of a struggle, feels the weight if the world is on his shoulders and he could never get a break. He feels the world puts too much pressure as you get older. In the pre-chorus he is thinking of his life when he is younger, wishing that life could be that simple again, and how the world smothered him. In the actual chorus he is in a struggle inside his own head, can?t figure any way out, has suicidal thoughts, and doesn?t understand why his life has changed the way it has. In the second verse he wants to send a message to everyone, especially the young and innocent, that life is complicated and it can throw you down. He wants them to know this before it happens unexpectedly like it did him. In the next part he is saying how much pressure the world has put on him, ?pointing their fingers?, and how they could not understand what he really feels or needs. Overall this song is not about suicide or the birth of a child specifically, it is really about a struggle with oneself, and how cruel life and the world can be at times. This is a story of someone who struggled through a tough time, and how they wanted life to be like it was when they were younger. They were hit with the reality that life will never be what they thought it would be, and through this experience they want to let anyone who has not experienced this know what can happen, how life can tear you down, but don?t give up. The message of this song is never give up, there is always hope, but be prepared. I put this together both from experience and watching these guys live, Brent
Smith shows the real emotion behind this song.
Chris - Cincinnati, Oh
I picked the song 45 by Shinedown. One reason is that if you listen to Brent Smith?s vocals, he sings with such enthusiasm, and the message he tries to get across with his songs can clearly be interpreted. Shinedown is Brent Smith, Jasin Todd, and Barry Kerch. They have been around since year 2002, and they have released 2 albums during the time that they have been together.
The song starts out by the words ?send away for a priceless gift, one not subtle, one not on the list.? In those words he is talking about an unborn child, and not just an unborn child, an unexpected one. The next verses are ?Send away for a perfect world, one not simply so absurd.? He is saying that in a perfect world unexpected things like having a child would not happen when you don?t want it to happen. The next verse ?In these times of doing what you are told, you keep these feelings, no one knows.? He is talking about how he has to work extra hard to support this unborn child, he feels suicidal, but he won?t tell anyone, and he feels as if though nobody understands him. The next verse is ?What ever happened to the young man?s heart, swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart.? What he means by this is that from having this kid, he has to grow up quickly, and become a man and except all of the responsibilities with that duty. He doesn?t feel like he is ready for this, and he is having a breakdown. The next part of the song is the chorus, ?And I?m staring down the barrel of a 45, swimming through the ashes of another life, no real reason to accept the way things have changed, staring down the barrel of a 45.? From hearing this I understood that he is strongly considering suicide. Even though he says that there is no real reason to accept the way things have changed, he knows that he should stay alive for his unborn child. Even though he knows that staying alive is the right thing to do, he is finding that quite difficult. The next verse goes ?Send a message to the unborn child, keep your eyes open for a while.? In this verse he is talking about telling his unborn child to stay alive and live out his years, and hopefully his father?s death won?t affect him so much. The next verse is ?In a box high up on the shelf, left for you, no one else? He is talking about the gun that he is going to use to kill himself which will be up on the highest shelf. Then the song goes ?There?s a piece of a puzzle known as life, wrapped in guilt sealed up tight.? The gun is the piece of the puzzle that his son would be looking for, and it is wrapped up in cloth, and hidden for he is ashamed of what he has done. Then the song repeats the words ?Whatever happened to the young man?s heart, swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart? and goes to the chorus. Then the song goes ?Every one is pointing their fingers, always condemning me? By this he is saying that everyone is looking down on him for getting this girl pregnant. Next the song goes ?And nobody knows what I believe, I believe.? He is saying that he can?t take all of this stress and pressure he is receiving from everyone, so he is going to kill himself, but he really does love his unborn child, even though he will never meet him. Then the song goes on repeating the chorus twice, then it ends.
Even though this song talks about him killing himself, this song is about hope. Brent?s point that he is trying to get through this song is that if someone is thinking about killing themselves, then they should think about everyone who they would be affecting, and then they would see that there is more beauty in life, and they are needed by a lot of people. Shinedown has very inspirational messages in their songs, you just have to listen closely to figure them out. I hope this helps people on interpreting this song.
Erik - Denmark, Wi
His unborn child is in the little box high up on the shelf...........He got a girl pregnant and when she had the baby it was a miscarriage. The ashes are in the box.

It's not about suicide. How can an unborn child commit suicide. Dont take things literally.

watch the video and like seriously listen because some of your answers are pathetic.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=vdZXT6tSKBQ
Sara - Lalaland, Ok
I personally believe that the singer is not singing about suicide, it just seems that way. I think that when he sings the first few lines he's talking about sex and having a child with his girlfriend and thinks its going to be easy and good. Than he realizes how screwed up his life is, and then he looks at his old man, the box up on the shelf holds his old mans ashes. The box is left for his dead father, and the memories stay in that box, figuratively speaking. He starts to reminisce about his father when the ashes line comes up. I believe that he sings about killing his wife or girlfriend, and he realizes his decision, and then at the very end, "THERE IS NO REAL REASON TO ACCEPT THE WAY THINGS HAVE CHANGED" he realizes what he has to do. The song is about his unborn child, and not wanting to have him screwed up, and decides to kill his wife, but realizes thats not the right way to go, stops himself than tries to kill himself for what other people think of himself, but than turns to hope. That is my personal belief on this song and thats what i believe it is about.Dylan - Lakewood, Nj
Hearing this song and looking at the lyrics; You really have to read them but he is talking about giving his child up for adoption. Look at it closely; me personally have gone through this. The lyrics:
"In these times of doing what you're told
You keep these feelings, no one knows
What ever happened to the young man's heart
Swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart"
"Everyone's pointing their fingers
Always condemning me
And nobody knows what I believe
I believe"
Bob - Schenectady, Ny
I think this is the treu meaning of the song, it's about a young man, who has an unexpected pregnancy. if you look at the lyrics you see that it says..."Send a message to the unborn child". He thinks his life is over, because he's going to dedicate his life to his child. And he can't accept the way his life is changing. So he wants to kill himself, because he doesn't want to get beaten by his parents.Jenny - Welland, Canada
This song resonates more with me right now at this point in my life. I listen to it everyday and I think if I should just end it all. What i think he's saying int he song is that he's feeling set up by the system and no matter what he does he will stil never be able to convey what he believes to others.Tony - Boston, Ma
I also think that the line "Swimming through the ashes of another life" means that he's reflecting on memories of the past and who he was at that time. His youth and innocence are now in a way dead ("What ever happened to the young man's heart") because he has to become a different person now that he has the responsability of a child.Lita - Hampton, Va
I have heard that this song is not about suicide. However when this song came out, I myself was VERY suicidal and this song struck a strong nerve in me. When he talks about a perfect world and being swallowed by pain, to me it said that he was at the end of his rope and looking for a way out. This is why he is staring down the barrel of a gun. His Wife or G/F is pregnant and the reason he is pondering this instead of pulling the trigger is the affect it will have on his unborn child. I have 2 young boys and the only thing that kept me here when i was in that state was not wanting my children to be left with that stigma. People always whispering "those are the kids who's father killed himself" thus the part that says "everyone pointing their fingers" condeming him for what he did to his children "How could a father do that to his baby?", but even though the song doesn't say what decision he made it's about the decision...to me anyway...the part about the box on the shelf was his way of explaining his reasons to his child explaining why he did what he did and hoping his child can forgive him...to me the guy has made ALL the preparations and is sitting there with the biggest decision of his life and the gun in his hand..."And nobody knows what I believe" he obviously believes that everyone around him would benefit from his death...i know that i too felt that way...but the decision i made was to be there for my children...and that's why i'm still here...maybe i only see the song this way because thats how i felt, but in reality isn't that what music does for us...helps us to put our feelings into words when we can't ourselves...this song is beautiful no matter how you interpret it, but for those that say "Shinedown even said...IT IS NOT ABOUT SUICIDE!!!" did you ever think that maybe they said that so they could get it played?...in the end the message to me WAS about hope...i wanted my kids to grow up with a bright future...not a scarred past....the hope comes in watching your children grow and being there for itMortrata - Utica, Ny
this song i think has a deep meaning that maybe none of us really get. but if you listen to it, you'll find out that it talks about how imperfect this world is. so.... yeah byeAshleigh - Biloxi, Ms
to that girl at the bottom the start of this song doestn sound a thing like that nothing else matters Metallica is way better then shinedownKyle - Lake Village, In
I think that the line about the box high up on a shelf is a reference to the Greek story of Pandora's Box in which Pandora is entrusted with a box containing the world's ills. Overcome with curiosity she opens it and releases them. This would fit right in with the unexpected child meaning.Dave - Greenville, Il
I'm sorry to say but everyone whose said that this song is about suicide is wrong. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion...however, the band themselves have come out to say that the song is one of hope many, many times. They had a lot of problems with television and radio stations when it came to airplay because everyone automatically assumed it was about suicide. The song is about not taking that option...to take what comes your way and embrace whatever may come.Jennifer - Jackson Hole, Wy
I don't think this song is about suicide, I think it is a guy that got a girl pregnant and is hit with responsibility all the sudden, he knows he affected his life by bringing a kid into the world the way he did, even though people had warned him, I think he doesn't like it but he is willing to help the kid out. When he talks about a gift high up on the shelf left for you and noone else I think he is talking about the life the kid will have because your life is your life and noone else can live it for you only direct you and he is saying he will do that. When you young and a kid pops into the equation emotions just run wild, especially when you don't know what to do. just because he talks about a gun doesn't mean he necessarily wants to end it all, I think the 45 represents a struggle maybe he can't cope but he is trying to find a way to.Phillip - Columbia, Sc
Sorry, i meant the "mase" guy below!Ryan - Greenwood, In
The "mace" guy below has opened up a totally new light on this song. I believe he got it exactly right. That is amazing. It is about a man's suicide cause' he cant handle the pessure of being a father and a husband. It all fits together flawlessly.Ryan - Greenwood, In
The beginning reminds me a bit of Nothing Else Matters, also. This is a good song, but it's the only one I know by Shinedown.Ashley - Moncton, Canada
this is not a suicide note, i heard an interview, and he explained that it is a song about hope and the ability to overcome depressionAndrew - Harrisburg, Pa
This song to me is a suicide note. Knowing his mistakes he decided to apoligize and show what he is really feeling inside...its like how you can put on an act but your true feelings show...but thats just how i saw it...but even if im wrong this song is my favorite and i hope more people hear them...they are a great band..and have great music...Khristina - Findlay, Oh
This is a great song. It's dissappointing not many people like them. I went to one of their concerts, and it ways a smal building. It was dissappointing cuz they had to start sending people away cuz the building was full.Rob - ???, Tx
I think the song is of course about suicide but i think when he got the girl pregnant they decided to get an abortion and that is the cause for "the pain that swallowed his heart" and that is why he is thinking about killing himselfIsaac - Black River Falls, Wi
I absolutly love this song. And I alos love the lyrics.Savannah - Dearborn, Mi
i'm very sure i know the meaning to this song i like this song so much that i've thought about it a long time until my conclusion made every sentance in the song fit into place with it. this song is about a man who accidently got a girl pregnant and can't cope with it. the song is his summary of everything he feels before he pulls the triger. i'll start to explain like this quotes from the beginning of the song to the end. "send away for a priceless gift" - priceless gift being the unborn child "one not subtle, one not on the list" - unexpected child "in these times of doing what your told" - working hard before the baby is born to try and support the child "keep these feelings no one knows" - being a man and keeping his feelings to himself, trying not to lose his mind "whatever happened to the young man's heart, swallowed by pain as he slowly fell apart" he used to be a nice man until she got pregnant then he turned cold hearted "swimming through the ashes of another life" - the unborn child "send a message to the unborn child" - he won't be alive to tell the child himself "keep your eyes open for awhile" - for the child to live out his young life and hopefully be not hurt too horribly bad when he's old enough to realize that his father killed himself "In a box high upon a shelf Left for you, no one else There's a piece of a puzzle known as life Wrapped in guilt, sealed up tight" - in his will he intends to keep the gun on a high shelf somewhere ( where you would normally keep a gun ) and when the child is old enough to know the truth he wants the child to have the gun, the gun is in the box, "wrapped in guilt sealed up tight" tells how he feels guilty for ending his life and not being a father to the child "everyone's pointing their fingers, always condeming me" - they all blame him for getting her pregnant i hope you liked this song as much as i did it's a very sad song but i like it so much because shinedown has so much power in their words and their lead singer has such an amazing voice. if anyone out there feels the urge to give in to suicide when they hear this song don't life is too great for that, i promise.Mace - Springfield, Mo
this song is in a awesome song, i always listen to it when im down

heatherz@wcs.k12.va.us
Heather - Bristol, Va
i love this song.

to me i think the chick is pregent or something i think he as the lead singer has or had a girlfriend and thy broke up problemy due to he depression or something i only heard this song a about 5 or 10 times i mostly listen to liknkin park but that is my thought about wat the song could be really truely talking about.
Rebecca - Peoria, Az
When i first heard this song...I thought the beginning of it reminded me of "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica...but thats just me.....other than that, it is a really good songAshlyn - Lawton, Ok
To Giovanni...I dont think that the box refers to a gun.."Send a message to the unborn child
Keep your eyes open for a while In a box high up on the shelf, left for you, no one else There's a piece of a puzzle known as life Wrapped in guilt, sealed up tight" It seems to me that its referring to helping out a child in life. Helping them by revealing to them past mistakes. It seems to be about hope.
Desiree - Church Hill, Tn
i think the song is about love and the hardships of a strained relastaion shipAnthony - Houston, Tx
The Video Version Of The Song Is Edited For Showing On MTV/MTV2. The Name Of The Song Was Changed From "45", To "Starring Down...", & The Words "Barrel" & "Forty" Are Cut Out Of The Chorus, Leaving "And I'm Starring Down the Of A 5" This Is One Of A Few Other Videos Edited By MTV, Along With "Last Resort"- Papa Roach- "Suicide" Censored,& "Hash Pipe"- Weezer- Hash Censored.Chris - Andover, Mn
After hearing 45, i have determined that this song is based on the accidental suicide of a young child. "In a box, high up on the shelf", relates to the fact that the child found the gun (colt 45) in an unsecure place. It is a depressing song but a good one nonethelessGiovanni - Biglerville, Pa
The way I view this song is that it's about a man who has led a hard life and he can't understand how all these things happened to him. The song takes place after he hit the climax of his depressed state of mind. It's a song about suicide but he doesn't actually go through with it because of that little shread of hope that things can get better. People don't have faith in him or respect him so he has to fight for his own life without anyone to help him. When he gets through it he has a new respect for life.John - Chico, Ca