By Bridget Robertson
I thought it would be fun to make this conversational.
I know that most people believe very strongly in the power of positive thinking. I can enjoy a positive thought coming down my Facebook feed every now and then. But, what really holds my attention and fuels me, are the ones that can make a statement using wit, sarcasm and/or sass. This is true in my life as well as in my cancer groups. Pretty, happy. peppy, thoughts rarely if ever make any chemical reaction in my body. When I am laughing, I can feel my body begin a chain reaction that beats any medication known to science! I even took a poll among the other people in my cancer group, hands down, humor wins!
When you have cancer, many people, even your friends can become very uncomfortable. In particular, nervousness becomes apparent when we use humor relating to cancer, illness or death. My intention is to make people feel at ease and welcome in my life. So, I thought I would just lay some of these on the table along with my often odd sense of humor about life.
1. Lifetime Warranties. – On the show “Thirtysomething”, Patricia Wettig’s character had uterine cancer. At the beginning of one episode she was trying on boots. She wasn’t sure if they were worth the cost. The saleswoman told her they had a lifetime warranty. She broke out in a round of hysterical laughter, responding to her by saying something like, “That isn’t much of a warranty”. I identified with her even then. ( It stuck with me.) Her friends were silent with looks of fear, disapproval and uncertainty.
I promise life and death jokes are very funny to us. You can smile. Even I have told a few sales people they were going to have to do better than a lifetime warranty. I want a solid number of years on the product! If it’s my lifetime, it’s a pretty chancy warranty.
2. Death Quotes – In my last post I quoted Audre Lorde. I have the deepest respect for her and her writings. The visual image of sending cryptic images through a ouija board in an afterlife had me laughing so hard I needed to use the bathroom. If you missed the humor, please read it again. I have these kind of thoughts and see these kind of quotes all the time. I am unafraid to speak irreverently about my illness and my mortality. Keep in mind that the human mortality rate is 100%!!! We will all die someday of something, somewhere.
3. Answer to the critics on my appearance – I am working on painting my left jean pant leg. It’s going to be in big, bold, red letters with the following statement “Proud Member – Clan Of The Scar People”. I own every CD Clarissa Pinkola Estes has made. This clan name she gifts, comes in the CD set called “The Dangerous Old Woman (Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype)”*
I am using it because I have earned it! I am a fifty-five year old, post menopausal woman who is proud of her age, appearance and all the life experiences that it took to get me here. I don’t want to be thirty or even forty again. I made it through and thrived during those “times” once. I want full recognition. Besides, the next time anyone comments disparagingly about my so called “cancer ravaged face or body”, I am lifting my left leg to cross over my right one. This carries an added bonus. They may have to back up to avoid being kicked as they read those words!
4. Using the little things – Things that used to irritate me are now fodder for my amusement, be it politics, headlines or daily events. Things like, ohhhh, realizing this week, after an evening drive around White Rock Lake, my husband and I headed home. We found ourselves in front of our old address trying to use the current FOB to gain access. Both of us were on autopilot. The extra twenty minutes it took to get to our actual home was spent in laughter and witticism’s about how we would reveal this faux pas. I obviously chose this blog.
5. Being responsible about my disease – I do collect information on my Carcinoid Cancer and it’s laundry list of complications along with any solutions for them. What I don’t do is go to the grim reaper of medical sites, “Web MD”. I know many, if not most people find it to be useful site. I applaud you. Seriously. It seems every time I go there, descriptions make a hang nail sound life threatening. It’s just not the site for me. It hasn’t once ever helped me distinguish real threats from ordinary health happenings.
6. Doctors – Yep, I do say all of those flippant remarks and speeches to my doctors. They are just people. I have no special reverence for them. I blame my exposure to so many medical people in my childhood for this behavior. Having nurses and doctors peppered throughout my family and family friends makes them soooooo ordinary. While my doctors would love me to behave with deep undue respect….it ain’t happening!!! I even played “King of Anything”** by Sara Bareilles for one of them when it became clear that I wasn’t getting through to him. He got the message that way!
7. Inspiration – I read Irish Facebook pages all the time. It’s part of my ancestry. There are some serious posts. But, honestly, is there another heritage that can take all the derogatory remarks made about them and answer with an “And….so what’s your point?”. Better yet, we make meme’s out of these remarks. Laughter is saving me. It’s in the very bloodline coursing through my veins to laugh. I can’t post them to my timeline. I’m pretty sure some of the language would offend others. I beg of you, please don’t be offended by swearing. Be offended by famine, war, meanness, cheating or tricking people, rape, abuse, hurting animals, privatizing water, etc., but not swearing.
There are thousands of things I could add. I would, but I just reread this post. I’m laughing too hard. My mind is fully occupied with laughter. Someday, I’ll make additional lists.
Blessings to all,