On not being “The Guy with Cancer” | Street Jazz

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

On not being “The Guy with Cancer”

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2018 at 4:30 PM

Tracy asked, “Have you noticed people treating you differently?” And thankfully, I can say that so far, they haven’t. But I also know that eventually I’ll run into someone who can only relate to me (or perhaps even you) as merely someone with cancer. I won’t be an individual to them, I’ll be just another guy with a Dalek inside him.

Oh, there may come a day (not anytime soon, keeping fingers crossed) when my Dalek may come to dominate my life, but that day is far from here.

Yeah, I have some crappy days - I do have these radium beads sloshing around inside me, after all - but I’m still the same as I ever was, to mangle a quote from the great philosopher David Byrne. I love sunsets, walking on the beach, my wife, the writings of Harlan Ellison, the music of Lalo Schifrin, writing, my friends and the occasional human sacrifice.

See? I’m just like you. Well, I admit, not everyone loves Harlan Ellison as much I do, but still . . .

It would pain me beyond words if people were hesitant around me, simply because I am sick, or if they felt they had to tiptoe on eggshells, as it were. And, it goes without saying, I have less than no patience with those who are over-solicitous, because they think I might keel over and die right in the middle of a conversation.

Christopher Reeve said it best in the title of his autobiography: Still Me.

I’ve been having these curmudgeonly thoughts the past few weeks because I recall my own behavior around sick friends in the past, when I was every bit as guilty of the above sins - whether it be hovering over them like a death-watch beetle, or falling into uncomfortable silences around them.

I am fully compos mentis, and can carry on a conversation about many things other than my medical condition. Or, to put it more simply, let’s just quote the great Zero Mostel, who once sang:

Old situations,

New complications,

Nothing portentous or polite;

Tragedy tomorrow,

Comedy tonight!

Something convulsive,

Something repulsive,

Something for everyone:

A comedy tonight!


I hate you, Peter Parker

Not that I don’t harbor some resentments. I’m only human, after all.

Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider and gets the powers of a spider. I get radium beads and get the runs and lethargy. As I said to Tracy one night, “That’s just bullshit.”


Today’s Soundtrack

Enjoying the marvelous Sinéad O'Connor today, and her album “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.”

Words to live by, I think.


Quote of the Day

WATSON: They’re the most powerful missiles we have.

THE DOCTOR: On your standards, perhaps. I think we should try much older weapons . . . Diplomacy . . . Conversation. - The Doctor (Doctor Who - “The Hand of Fear”)




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