Why I Am Not a Politician Or In Charge Of Anything

Let me share an anecdote about my problem solving skills, or lack thereof.

As I’ve stated often, I live in a beach resort area. That means in the summer the population swells, and the rural roads get congested with tourists, making traffic similar to the big cities they’re trying to escape. An errand that would normally take 20 minutes can take hours. In the winter, the roads are mostly unoccupied. Those of us who are “locals”, whether born and raised like myself—“from heres”, and those who’ve relocated/retired—“come heres”, bitch about traffic A LOT. We are a spoiled folk. We like and appreciate tourist dollars, but we so highly value the “quiet, country life” too.

One weekend mid-August I was driving down that beach highway (locals know to stay in their homes on weekends, but I was in an unavoidable situation), and got stuck at an intersection. Of course, a major case of gridlock was in progress. People constantly choose to go forward without giving any thought to the idea that they might not get beyond the intersection when the light turns red.

I had a grim thought that perhaps the best way to stop people from making this choice was to have spikes pop out of the road and puncture their tires as soon as the light turns red. Then maybe people would be less inclined to cross an intersection when their car would clearly still be in the way if the light should go red! Of course I dismissed the idea realizing that if these tires got damaged the cars would be even more stuck, and I’d never get where I wanted to go. A week later I was reading a letter to the editor of a local “newspaper” (scare quotes intentional), suggesting a solution of signage threatening heavy fines at this intersection. Puh-leez! If drivers are ignoring the red light, they’ll just ignore the signs! I sneered as I read the letter aloud to my mom, and then told her my idea of the spikes popping up, in spite of the logistical problems of deflating tires, which I was already mentally trying to resolve.

My mother gasped, rightfully so. I mean, why on earth would I think it OK to punish drivers’ choices with destruction of their personal property? THAT should’ve been the first hurdle to my proposed solution—not those silly logistics.

In my weak defense, I was bitching about all of this to some other locals weary of summer traffic not long after that, and they laughed. The even chimed in with their own fantasy solutions—like wishing for a paint gun or other contraption stuck on their car front to fire away at drivers, or bulldoze them over. I swear, we are not malicious, just tired!

The point in revealing my absurd driver fantasies is to illustrate how my mind goes to the extreme. And you guessed it, when it comes to the relentless display of pink ribbons and such, especially in October, my mind goes to destruction—and that is NOT good!

Those first few Octobers after diagnosis, as I’ve said here before, were just white hot anger about Pink–this was before I found other like-minded bloggers. I wanted to either rip off or spray paint over every single Pink ribbon or save the tat-tas sticker I saw on cars in parking lots. NOT a great idea. I rolled my eyes every time I saw someone wearing some Pink-y clothing item, especially the ones with rah-rah, I-kicked-cancer’s-ass-style slogans. One October, I cut a bunch of BCA’s Think Before You Pink business card-sized fact sheets and surreptitiously taped them to pink ribbon stickered items in the grocery store, in hopes it would make buyers stop and think. Passive-aggressive much, Cancer Curmudgeon?

These days I still grit my teeth when seeing this one jeep parked at a store I frequent (I assume its owner works there), all decked out with pink windshield wipers, a couple of ribbon stickers, and some slogan on the spare tire cover. I grip my steering wheel tight when I see stickers on cars while I zip around town (see 365). And luckily I don’t go out to too many places (too tired after work), but on a rare occasion, I end up out in public with people. As I noted on Facebook the other day I ran into so many Pink-attired women (see Uniform), I had to exert some self-control to keep from confronting and yelling and generally causing a scene.

These are the times I remind myself that there is no one right way to do cancer, and just because the way I’ve chosen is not often respected (again, see Uniform, and a good deal of other posts on this blog) does not mean I get to disrespect those who embrace Pink.

I was never a patient person and after cancer my patience all but disappeared. I think patience is overrated anyway, I mean hey, isn’t “life is short” one of those silly “lessons” cancer is supposed to teach? If so, why should I patiently wait for anything? Why should I be patient with the continued narrative of early detection, be positive, and all that crap that I found damaging–especially if that crap continues to harm current and future breast cancer patients?

But I’m a rash person, prone to flipping out and wanting to rip up stickers, deface property. There are better ways; I’m just not the person to think of them I guess.

I’ll behave, I swear.

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Author: Cancer Curmudgeon

Oct 2010 diagnosed with Stage 3, HER2+ Breast Cancer. Completed treatment Jan 2012. Waaaaaay over pink. Applying punk rock sensibility to how I do cancer.

10 thoughts on “Why I Am Not a Politician Or In Charge Of Anything”

  1. Hahaha! I would love to be by your side during a revolution. I have calmed down a lot through the years, but I too can become very aggressive against what I disagree with. (My mother can testify to that.)

    When it comes to this cancer culture, it’s about our lives we are talking about so it’s OK to feel passionate about the subject. I see what you mean in almost thinking we are judging others on how they are doing their cancer — I have thought the same but I sometimes feel I am (only) against “denial” or “lack of knowledge” so I take my risks and speak up (sounds judgmental, I know). There is a chance that these people aren’t in denial and that they do know about metastatic breast cancer and the lack of funding, and still feel like celebrating anyway. That’s OK, I guess.

    I do attack the organizations that take advantage of this cause — not sure we can change one without changing the other (meaning patients) but we don’t have the right to tell others how to do their cancer, you’re right about that. About companies, they see an opportunity, they take it. I’ll continue to voice my opinion even if only those who agree with me are listening. I hope you’ll do the same, as well as others. I have faith things will evolve, for the better. I hope.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head in your last paragraph. Yes companies take advantage, but on the other hand, they ARE in business to make money, and if people are buying crap, then selling crap is what the company will do! Can’t expect any different. Sigh. But yes, I will likely keep on even if I’m preaching to the already converted. I have a few non-breast cancer internet friends that tell me I’ve changed their minds about Pink–so, I guess that is how it gets done; one mind at a time. Thanks!

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  2. Ah, yes, indeedy. I can relate. I’ve also simmered down quite a bit about pink, but then again, I seem to go through various cycles each October, so who knows if I’m just in a calmer one this year. I seem to go from sheer outrage, to totally ignoring it & scarcely blogging in October, to being inspired to certain heights of snarky satire, like I was last year when I generated a bumper crop of memes. I’m not sure how I feel this year. Somewhere between wanting to ignore it and wanting to satirize something. I’ve also been busy with other things this year, which has helped a lot. And I’m very thankful that there seems to be a whole lot less pink in my immediate community this year. At least I’m not assaulted by a huge mural on the side of a building down the street from my house, like I was last year. Oy….

    Well, count me in when the revolution starts. Your friendly grumbler, Kathi

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    1. Oh I know what you mean about it going in cycles. I had an easier time of it last year, not sure how since that was my first year back on Facebook since I had quit it in 2012 (right around ending treatment). I think what is irking my most is that it’s all just the same old song and dance each year. Sigh. Thanks xoxox!

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  3. You’re right, it’s never been about pink. It goes so much deeper than that. I still love pink. And October. Each year I keep asking myself, though, just how many ways can a person say some of this stuff? For some reason, this year the trivialization of bc bugs me a lot. That whole party-like thing. Drives me nuts. I know I shouldn’t let it. But… Anyway, I think there’s lots of eye rolling going on during October. And swearing. And ignoring. Well, you get my point. Great post. Actually, you might be a perfect person to be a politician or in charge… I’m serious!

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    1. Ha ha, awww thanks Nancy, that makes me feel good! But yeah, the how many ways can these things be said is something I’ve been thinking A LOT about lately. What magic phrase will it take to get through some of the thicker heads?

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  4. Throughout my life I’ve been encouraged to behave. Do things this way, don’t say that, fit in with the culture, etc., etc., all of which is bearable (just) if the only thing at stake is a bit of personal creativity, some new ideas or alternative viewpoints. Sometimes behaving is the easiest way to live a reasonably quiet life and I’ve come value that more than I value some of my opinions.

    But here’s the rub…When we talk about breast cancer (or any other life threatening disease) the stakes are much higher. We aren’t talking about an opinion or idea that can be cast aside, picked up later or left unheard. We’re talking about a serial killer, the ultimate game changer. So no matter how unpopular or un-pink our views, each and every one of them deserves to be heard. I know of no-one who has / had breast cancer that thinks of it as anything other than a horrible experience. I know of no-one who would say they enjoy / enjoyed it. That truth must also be heard so keep voicing your opinions 🙂

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    1. You are right, and the funny thing is, so many people do think breast cancer patients are just living it up. Someone posted a thing written by a diabetic on FB, and the diabetic was angry and saying stuff like, my disease is not all pink and fun. It’s just like, oh man, do you really think we are having a good time here? Sadly, my guess is yes.
      Thanks! Will be keeping on with the voicing for a while longer.

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  5. You may not call yourself a Politician or in charge of anything however YOU are a change agent/catalyst. I know you have impacted my life. I now get annoyed when the ‘pink’ overrides everything in sight. I appreciate how you are brave and courageous in your display of your inner most thoughts and feelings. Personally I loved the tire resolution!!!
    Continue to share your world, we are all learning from you. Blessings to you always

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