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Salute

20 Aug 2017 - by @黄野

James&Niki

  • Niki: Why? You have to. To prove to all the people who will always say you just won it because…
  • James: Because of what? Because of your accident? Jesus Niki, is that other people, or is that you? I won, okay? On the all-important day, when it came down to it, we raced on equal terms, equally good cars. And I put my life on the line, and I saw it through.
  • Niki: And you call that winning?
  • James: Yes.
  • Niki: The risks were totally unacceptable. You were prepared to die. To me, that’s losing.
  • James: Yes, I was. I admit it. I was prepared to die to beat you that day. And that’s the effect you have on me. You’d pushed me that far, and it felt great! I mean, hell, isn’t that what we’re in this for? To stare death in the face and to cheat it? Come on, there’s nobility in that. It’s… It’s like being knights.
  • Niki: You English, you’re such assholes. You know my position, 20% risk.
  • James: No, no, no, Niki, don’t bring the percentages into this. Don’t be a pro. The minute you do that, you kill what’s good about this. You kill the sport!
  • Niki: James. You know, in hospital, the toughest part of my treatment was the vacuum. Pumping the shit out of my lung, it was hell. And while doing it, I was watching television. You winning all my points.
  • James: Your points?
  • Niki: “That bastard Hunt,” I would say. “I hate that guy.” And then one day the doctor came and said, “Mr Lauda, may I offer you a piece of advice? Stop thinking of it as a curse to have been given an enemy in life. It can be a blessing, too. A wise man gets more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.” And you know what? He was right. Look at us. We were both a pair of kids when we met. Hot-headed jerks in Formula 3. Disowned by our families. Headed nowhere. And now we’re both champions of the world. It was not bad, huh?
  • James: No, it’s not bad.
  • Niki: So, don’t let me down now. I need you busting my balls. Get back to work.
  • James: I will, Niki, I will. But I intend to enjoy myself first. Some of life needs to be for pleasure. What’s the point of having a million cups and medals and planes if you don’t have any fun. How is that winning?
  • Niki: I’ll see you on race day, champ.
  • James: You will…champ. You look good, Niki. The only guy to have his face burnt off and it be an improvement.
  • Niki: [Smile and a middle finger]
  • Niki’s monologue: He didn’t listen to me. For James, one world title was enough. He had proved what he needed to prove, to himself and anyone who doubted him. And two years later he retired. When I saw him next in London seven years later, me as champion again, him as broadcaster, he was barefoot on a bicycle with a flat tyre. Still living each day like his last. When I heard he’d died, aged 45, of a heart attack, I wasn’t surprised. I was just sad. People always think of us as rivals, but he was among the very few I liked, and even fewer that I respected. He remains the only person I envied.
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