You may re call—that is, a) if I ever explained it upfront in the first place, and b) you go back with me here to the beginning, that doing this series Cancer Funnies was the last thing I wanted to do, that blogging about cancer and other ailments has become a veritable cottage industry, albeit a nonpaying one.
And who wants to read a self-serving, self-indulgent blog about someone’s life-threatening illness anyway?
But then I came up with the title Cancer Funnies and laughed out loud at my sense of irony and offbeat cleverness. If nothing else, I figured, I’d amuse myself, and besides, the title was too good to let go of, even though in retrospect, now, I most obviously should have.
I mean, cancer isn’t particularly funny to being with, and neither am I. Hence neither is Cancer Funnies.
This hit home hard last Thursday night at The Beacon Theater, when I left an early set by the legendary Standells to get there on time for the Ledisi show and ran into a friend in the lobby, a “cancer survivor,” she would say, whereas at this point, I remain a “cancer sufferer.”
An old friend, she’s one of the few people who know I have cancer, even though I’ve written about it extensively and pretty much tell everyone who wants me to work for free that I’m too ill to do it. Which tells you, a) that nobody reads this blog, and b) nobody is much interested that I’m too ill to work for free.
I’ll say this for her: She’s the exact opposite from me. Bubbly, upbeat, positive. She asked how I was doing and I honestly told her.
“You wuss,” she chided. “You didn’t have chemo. You only had radiation. I had chemo, twice!”
Well excuse me for livin’, Sister. At least, I waited the fuck long enough for it to metastasize before having a biopsy. Shit, I could have stayed at The Standells. Not only were they great, I left before they got to “Dirty Water.”
I winced and walked away—and then into the theater to catch the end of Robert Glasper opening set. As bad luck would have it, she was seated at the other end of the same row, as I found out at intermission. And while I may write Cancer Funnies, she sensed correctly that I didn’t have much of a Cancer Humor and came over to apologize for making light of my radiation.
She tried, too, to engage me in some kind of private cancer patient secret society, which of course I neither feel nor identify with.
“We’re cancer survivors!” she proclaimed, trying to cheer me on. You and me against the world, to borrow from Helen Reddy.
“Not me, baby. I’m the original zombie: I drink your blood. I eat your skin.”
Dear Ledisi, maybe the most wonderful, bubbly, upbeat and positive artist ever.
She spotted me in the crowd and gave me a shoutout, and after the show she asked how I was. I shrugged and didn’t say anything.
If I do say anything, I say, “Old Man’s Disease.” Of course, that could be interpreted to mean something other than prostate cancer.
As my late father used to say, nearing the end: “Pneumonia is an old man’s best friend.”