Most people have heard the assertion that every cat has nine lives. This is for the most part due to an automatic twisting reaction that protects cats from serious injury when they take a fall. The term is now used to characterize the amazing good fortune these lucky animals seem to possess.
We all know human beings who also appear to benefit from more good fortune than the average person. One of these people just so happens to be one of the greatest writers of short fiction in American history: Ernest Hemingway.
There was a time when Hemingway was the ultimate literary celebrity in America and he spent more than three decades in the spotlight. What many people either do not know or do not remember is just how lucky Hemingway was to survive his 61 years on earth.
Hemingway’s life story began in 1899 when he was born in Oak Park, Illinois. His early years were marked by rebellion against his mother which included the adoption of an overly masculine facade. The activities undertaken by Hemingway included hunting, fishing, and athletics. Hemingway caught the writing bug in high school and he began to develop the declarative style that literary fans have enjoyed for nearly a century.
Hemingway worked as a journalist after high school before the life-changing experiences that took place during World War 1.
Hemingway has always been addicted to action and found all he could handle as an ambulance driver in the first World War. Hemingway found himself under heavy mortar fire and took shrapnel damage in both legs at one point in the war. Despite the extensive injuries, Hemingway was able to save the life of an Italian soldier by carrying him to safety after the soldier was also injured.
Hemingway’s injuries required immediate surgery. He was rewarded with a Bravery medal and transferred from the frontlines of the war.
By 1926, Hemingway had built a strong following with his writing with a number of successful short stories and the full-length novel “The Sun Also Rises.”
Hemingway loved the spotlight and was on a constant mission to find new experiences. This quest for action destroyed his first marriage and resulted in both injuries, as well as, a number of near escapes with his life.
By 1928, Heminway was on his second marriage, endured a bout of anthrax, and survived a serious head injury after pulling a light down on himself in a bathroom in Paris. Hemingway was hospitalized for seven weeks in 1929 due to an automobile accident. The injuries from the accident included a broken arm and damaged nerves in his writing hand.
Hemingway continued both his writing and thrill-seeking. During World War II, Hemingway found grave danger in both mainland Europe and London. Hemingway was able to capture the many hardships endured by frontline soldiers while covering the fighting in the Second World War. He endured his own hardship toward the end of the war when he was diagnosed with pneumonia.
The last literary hoorah for Hemingway came with “The Old Man and the Sea.” It was written at a time when Hemingway suffered from multiple serious health problems.
Hemingway survived two 1954 plane crashes in Africa. He was buried in a bushfire accident and developed liver cancer from his excessive drinking. He also suffered nearly complete memory loss from the electroshock treatment given for his depression.
Ernest Hemingway eventually committed suicide in 1961. The thirst for action, literary ability, and naturally dark mood of Ernest Hemingway combined to get Hemingway in a number of precarious positions only to have him emerge each time with a heck of a story to pen. It turns out, Hemingway was a cat lover. And to those who know his life, this revelation comes as no surprise.