Rare Curmudgeonly Cheer

I am prone to shouting “this is why I love the Internet” when I see dumb stuff that makes me laugh. The meme with Joaquin Phoenix’s head progressing toward the east coast to represent the hurricane threat. A video of a bird throwing cups all over the place. Cat videos. Cat videos. Cat videos.

Oh I know, ire in comments and on Twitter, idiots sharing misinformation (“I’ll be right with you, someone on the Internet is wrong”—I love that cartoon), outrage at the slightest infraction, yeah the internet can be an ugly place.

But on the other hand, the Internet kind of saved me when I was in my white-hot-anger-at-Pink phase that October after treatment. Via blogging, and eventually other forms of social media, I learned I was not alone in my loathing of Pink—the rah, rah, the sexualization. Granted, I’m not as active as most, don’t have a huge follower base or whatever, but what little interacting I’ve done has been a comfort.

True, I’m a Curmudgeon, not particularly social, not as involved in the “community”—just my natural shyness and solitary tendencies (it’s an only child thing) at work. But, I know the community is there, and I am in it a bit. And I know there are thousands of patients who share my views and feelings. Knowing about those thousands became very important today.

I was in a conversation with a woman I run into often in my line of work—not a client, but another who provides services for my client. She is a very forward person—if she thinks it, she says it, regardless of tact. I am generally polite with most everyone, and try to keep my conversations about innocuous topics (“how about this weather?”). I tend to steer away deep discussions with people I do not know very well.

Today she brought up some NPR broadcast about how some cancer patients don’t like certain words—survivor and war were the ones she seemed to have latched onto—and how new words have been invented by patients. I think I’ve heard the broadcast she was talking about, but maybe not. Didn’t matter; I know this topic well!

She point blank asked me what I thought of these words. I calmly said I agree; I dislike most of the language in cancer. Of course, it is hard for me to not get very “deep” when discussing this topic and I found myself saying how much I hate things like “save the ta-tas”.

She said something like, “well, I think that is just how YOU perceive that phrase, that is not how—“

And I cut her off right there. I did so with great conviction.

I pointed out that yes, the intent behind that phrase is a clever, attention-getting ploy to “raise awareness”, but I am FAR from the ONLY person who dislikes the phrase. Not, by a long shot, the ONLY one who realizes that getting breast cancer often results in the amputation or mutilation of breasts—and how a slogan like “save the ta-tas” seems like it yanks support from the ta-ta-less, that it should be save the lives. No, there are thousands of us I told her. Maybe millions, tired and fed up with all the pink, with the baggage of October, of all cancer issues. I stated it as fact. It is not hard to find this anywhere on the Internet, voices raised in criticism of all the pink nonsense.

She quickly changed her tune, and pointed out that it should be about “saving the lives”. From there we progressed to a quick, but lively discussion about cancer, AIDS, patient blame.

Our conversation ended well—and perhaps I opened her eyes. Maybe not.

But for me the point was having that conviction. I KNOW there are soooooo many of us out there, loathing that old cancer-is-pretty-and-sexy thing.

No, it is NOT just how I perceive it.

Standing there holding my smart phone, I could’ve pulled up MANY articles that would prove that nope, it ain’t just me and how I perceive it.

As I tend to be less motivated to write blog posts for a number of reasons, I try to remember that every single criticizing post about all this pink crap—even if mine are on page 100 of a Google search for this stuff—are out there. The sheer number proves that NO, it isn’t just how I, or you, or anyone new to this breast cancer mess who just hates it, perceives it. When the newly diagnosed and disgusted are told, “that’s just how you perceive it, that silly slogan is harmless”—she can whip out her device and point out to all the ones who perceive it exactly the same way, and the ones who can explain why the slogan is far from harmless.

This is why I love the Internet.

(OK, OK, this post wasn’t exactly cheer, sunshine, and rainbows, but it is about as syrupy and cheery as I get. Next up, back to my regularly scheduled curmudgeon-ing.)

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 “Rare Curmudgeonly Cheer”

  1. You’re definitely not alone. ❤ You made her think, from the sound of it, and the more people who start to realize that sexualizing "the tatas" isn't right, the more the tide will turn.


  2. Yep, you def know you’re not the only one. Yours is a blog I would refer someone to, when expressing the fact that many many many of us dislike certain words & language. Still, my biggest language annoyance is the “lost the battle with….”

    Great read, as always! xx


    1. And knowing that it truly is sooooo many of us with these opinions, makes it so much easier to handle situations like that!
      Thanks for referring–I do the same! The more of us there are, hopefully, those new to a DX will have a less stressful time of it, a little bit anyway.
      So glad to hear from you xoxxox!


  3. I am with you! I have had conversations with some non-cancer people about the languages used in cancerland but I haven’t been as lucky as you with the responses. For example, many people have stressed “the fact” that cancer is a battle. I tell them for me it’s not, but they continue to insist it is, even after I tell them how I feel. I am not sure they realize that what they are saying isn’t helpful but they figure since “I am done with cancer” it doesn’t really matter. Then I change the subject (I need a smart phone!). It’s a good thing you spoke up. It looks like you made her think.


    1. It’s funny because many days I’m less inclined to get into it with anyone–when people say battle or whatever I just smile, nod, and move on. I was just kind of trapped into the chat, even tho’ I was trying to do something else! Oh well, I got that task done, and maybe opened her eyes a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It is heartening, isn’t it, to know that there is EVIDENCE out there of how many of us object to this nonsense. It makes me feel better about how bloody tired I am of writing about it myself, and not writing so far this month. Why write again when I’ve already written around 50 posts already about the pink crap?? Then again, it makes me grouchy that we all have to keep writing about it, because people still keep not getting it. Oy.

    Good for you for sticking to your perspective. Sometimes I think that’s really the only way that attitudes change, one person at a time.

    xxoo, Kathi


    1. Thanks Kathi. I keep seeing these defensive, “Pink helped me” articles, which tells me the less-than-happy-about-Pink are getting loud enough to warrant a reaction–even if it is only here in CancerLand. I still think the general public is mostly clueless, like this lady. I’m not patient (big surprise), so this one at a time method is hard. But I am learning it may be the only way. Maybe.xoxxo


  5. Hi CC,
    How did I miss this one? Thanks for sharing it again. No, you are most certainly not alone. I’m glad you had that conversation and who knows? Maybe you opened her eyes. Sometimes progress is very slow, but I think our kind of messaging is leaking out there. One person at a time is better than reaching no one at all. And I love the internet for the same reasons you do. xx


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