What does the proverb "Desperate times call for desperate measures" mean in in relation to "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona"
The thought "Desperate times call for desperate measures" is from a proverb that has no attribution to a specific author or speaker. This philosophical proverb, which is considered an English idiom, means that steps you would ordinarily not consider taking must be considered and taken when situations are of an extremely bad nature: In other words, it suggests that it is necessary to initiate extreme solutions for extremely bad problems.
In "This is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona," Victor takes the extreme measure of accepting Thomas Builds-the-Fire's money and allowing Thomas to accompany him on his trip to claim his father's cremated ashes and to salvage his father's few valuables. Another extreme measure Victor takes is to agree, after the subtly life-changing journey, to listen to one--"just one"--of Thomas's stories. The miracle is that Victor gained an understanding of his father returning home as a spiritual traveler in the spirit of a salmon and that Thomas, who had not told a new story since the night Victor beat him up, saw new stories when he shut his eyes following the receipt of Victor's promise.