Friday, January 30, 2015


I begin radiation on Monday. As I've said previously, I've taken to referring to it as "roasting", because I needed a word to describe it that doesn't sound like I traveled to Chernobyl or Fukushima.

Speaking of words, I stumbled across an interesting cancer essay in my Facebook news feed that has me all riled up. Living With Cancer: Coming to Terms is the antithesis of what I'm trying to accomplish by writing this blog, which is to communicate my experiences using plain, hopefully humorous language, rather than sounding like an elitist windbag, or a medical professional intent on regurgitating a textbook. Yes, I understand the "medical lexicon" is rife with terminology that is contradictory to everyday language, but that doesn't mean I have to succumb to its existence. Granted, I am not living with metastatic disease like the author of the piece, and I hope never to be in that situation. Excuse me if I get all "Brooklyn" here for a minute, but chronic illness, in my opinion, is not an excuse to flout one's intellect in order to get a grip on the situation. I mean, not for nothing, but, ya know? 

Now that I've gotten that off my flat, magic-markered, tattooed chest, I want to explain why I used an image of Joan Rivers at the top of this post. Joan was an incredible woman (again, my opinion). She used humor to get through some excruciatingly tough times in her life, and I respect the hell out of her for that. Her quote, "Life is very tough. If you don't laugh, it's tough", is something I keep repeating to myself because it reminds me not to take everything so seriously. Do I feel that way all the time? Of course not. I do, however, try to spend a portion of every day, sometimes against my will, laughing at something. It certainly beats trying to figure out why "fine words [are used] in grotesque settings." 

Come to think of it, Joan Rivers and roasting do have something in common. A few years ago, she was "roasted" on Comedy Central by a group of comedians, similar to those Dean Martin celebrity roasts that used to be held at the Friars Club in New York. Comedy, in particular, stand-up comedy, is a skill that requires one to be particularly verbose, in a way that will make people laugh. Said comedy sometimes utilizes a great deal of profanity which can be offensive, but genius when coming out of the right mouth. The key to striking a balance between profanity and genius is to know when to apply them in the context of a particular conversation. Joan was an expert at that. 

Speaking of experts, the author of the essay used this quote from the poet W.H. Auden in her writing: "Language is the mother of thought, not the handmaiden of thought." I prefer this one: "Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about." Fuckin' A. 


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