Cancer is Boring

It is life-threatening but boring. And mysterious but boring. Mysterious because I don't even know if I still have it. Was it all cut out? Is this long, hair-losing journey into Chemolandia unnecessary? No one will ever know. For a mystery to be pungent we have to have a certain level of information. There is not enough information now. I can get my blood count and such, but not my cancer count. No one knows if little cells are causing havoc. Which sounds exciting. No one knows if the little cells are landing in a fertile patch and reproducing wildly. Which also sounds exciting. But is projection. The cancer cells do not have feelings. Or brains. We don't think. Maybe they do and they're thinking that humans are big brainless machines or worlds.

I am bored. I am bored of this flatland, end-of-semester, is-that-all-there-is? feeling. Let's call it the 2nd Round of Chemo Drop-off. Cancer ain't new anymore. Threatens to become routine and dull. Or maybe I'm just sobered oh so sobered by losing my hair and wanting to be pretty and not look like Telly Savalas but not wanting to get a wig either because... because that would be fake? expected? because it would be hot and uncomfortable? because I want to not do the standard thing because then I would be like everybody else, and as the girl said in the long-running Fantasticks: I am special. Please God, please – don’t let me be normal.

Cancer is ordinary and extraordinary. A cell given a little genetic or environmental jolt and off it goes on its own like a windup toy that doesn't stop or may not stop. Or may rattle and shake and ruin the whole toy shop in its crazed journey.

Boring people get cancer. Exciting people get cancer. Clods and dolts and geniuses. I'm sure people who study cancer think it's fascinating--at first. But they probably get bored too. Because they are nose-to-nose with it. Every day. Trying this and that, being very careful to calibrate and measure. Using the scientific method. Taking detailed notes. They study cancer's properties. They are trying to parse it. Adding this and this to the soup to see what happens. Or doesn't.

1 comment:

Garry Cooper said...

Boring beats deadly in some ways. That's not to say deadly doesn't have its own advantages: it tends to focus one a bit more. On the other hand, boring, as Dunbar notes in Catch-22, makes time go by so slowly that you live much, much longer.