Gimme That Ol' Gift O' Cancer

And Annie and I fell in love all over again. We refer to the gift of cancer, because despite the hell she went through, it delivered us heaven on earth. It gave us gratitude for every blessed second we have together
--Mark McKinnon, media strategist and name-dropper, on his wife's cancer in the Daily Beast

Ruth Pennebaker
alerted me to this saccharine-filled bromide-fest.

Mark McKinnon, who should be asking for public forgiveness for helping George W. Bush and John McCain meet strategic challenges, is instead lauding the wonderful attitude of his perfect wife. She was diagnosed with an unnamed cancer that kills 85 percent of those who get it. She decided she was going to be in the 15 percent. And she was. And despite radical radiation, aggressive chemo, and surgery to take out basically all non-essential organs, Annie beat the terrible odds. She turned out to be Lance Armstrong in a skirt.

Apparently there are some people out there who are unaware of mortality. They need a jolt of lightning, in the form of cancer or other life-threatening disease (any will do), to wake them up to the notion that Life is Limited. We will die. Carpe diem. Or as the liquor store down the street and around the corner puts it: Carpe noctem.

McKinnon writes about always having been lucky. Apparently that luck came without a drop of empathy. His brother is paralyzed from an accident, his sister has endured 30 operations for severe arthritis, and he calls himself lucky. Oh well, he can move without pain. A more aware person might write about the sadness of being the only well sibling (a term used recently and well by Jessica Handler) and having to watch the suffering of people he loves.

Hey Mark, please talk to my young friend Jesse. Ask him about cancer being a gift. He could drop names, too: he hangs out with famous people like Oscar Mayer and Jack Brickhouse and Frances Willard.
















And you can guess the punchline: in the cemetery.

[photo: entrance to Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago]

Gimme that ol' gift o' cancer
Gimme that ol' gift o' cancer
Gimme that ol' gift o' cancer
It's good enough for me.
It was good for Gracie Paley
It was good for Molly Ivins
It was good for Mimi Engelberg
It's good enough for me.

12 comments:

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Patty O'Furniture said...

Remember that most people would actually prefer a gift card. I made my own response to the "Cancer is a Gift" morons.

Here are my Top 10 Positive Things About Having Metastatic Breast Cancer:

10. Chances are, I won't ever need an oversized birthday cake, all the candles will fit nicely on an average size one.

9. No more pesky life insurance solicitations.

8. Iron-clad sick day excuse.

7. I will never have to choose between Luther Village or a Dell Webb Development. (I'm 44)

6. I will never have to help anyone move ever again, courtesy of spinal mets.

5. No longer too worried about 401(k) shortfall.

4. Will easily meet my deductible.

3. Every month provides a fresh opportunity to master the art of tying a hospital gown.

2. Pink is flattering to my skin tone.

1. Breast Cancer Awareness month now incorporates Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug, Sept. , Nov and December, too.

cancer bitch said...

Patty O:
What did your giftcard say?
I love your list.
C. Bitch

Patty O'Furniture said...

If there was a cancer gift card... the message on the card would be "I hope this expires before you do!"

ruth pennebaker said...

Well done, CB! In retrospect, I was far too nice.

Cancer Bitch said...

Yes, Ruth, you inspire me.
I should make up a gift card and scan it so people can print it out. Or you should, Patti O.
Have you read "Cancer Becomes Me"? She also talks about not having people ask you to help them move.
You can find a link to it if you search my blog.
I would tell you who wrote it but chemo ate my brain.

Cancer Bitch said...

I see that Assertive Cancer Patient (www.assertivepatient.com) also blogged about McKinnin's gift.

jessicahandler said...

A gift that many people wish they could return.

Nice lyrics, btw. Will be in my head all day; not a bad thing.

Thanks for the shoutout.

cancer bitch said...

As Shelley Lewis says, If you think cancer is a gift, don't come to my birthday party.

Patty O'Furniture said...

But think of the retailing possibilities.... How about a "Buy One, Get One Free" on breast & ovarian cancer? Family discount to include the above and prostate cancer?

ruth pennebaker said...

I always tell people I didn't have to pay for lunch for six months after my diagnosis. Talk about a "gift."

Cancer Bitch said...

For me, it was dinners.