It occurred to me that for over a year now we’ve been talking “around” the subject of cancer without ever going directly to the source. So, today we bring you an exclusive one on one interview with Don’s cancer.
Hi, thanks for sitting down with us. No problem. Always have a few minutes for my fans.
Let’s jump right in. How did you get into this line of work? You mean cancer? Well, I started out in the newspaper business. I was on the Metro desk of the Cheyenne Tribune Journal until somebody realized there is no Metro in all of Wyoming, much less Cheyenne. After that I drifted, I was in appliances for a while, I sold meat door to door, but in this economy I knew I needed something stable. Something with long-term security.
So, you chose cancer? Are you kidding me? You gotta work your way up to cancer. I started out in infectious diseases: pink eye, colds, flu, the occasional unexplained infection, but that’s a young man’s game. You hit hard, you disrupt their lives for a few days and then you move on. Plus it was a lot of time working with kids and quite frankly, who needs that headache. I put in my time, my quarterly evaluations were strong and they finally found an opening for me here.
And you like your job? Well, you can’t beat the hours and what with remissions and all sometimes you get three, six months off at a time.
Why Don? Good question. Choosing your next client is not an exact science. Most people would be surprised to find out it’s all pretty random. In this case it came down to either Rhymer or those cartoon bears in the Charmin toilet paper commercials. Seriously, those guys annoy the hell out of me. I mean really, when did wandering the streets with toilet paper stuck to your ass become a national problem?
Let me get this straight, you’re saying it was Don or cartoon bears… and you chose Don? Well, yeah, giving cancer to cartoon bears, even ones with toilet paper matted in their ass fur is just… well, mean.
Okay, let’s move on, when you tell people what you do for a living… how do they react? Well, let’s just say I don’t exactly blurt it out at “back to school” night. To be honest, I usually lie. I’ve found if I tell people I manufacture handguns or market tobacco to children I get a much less hostile response.
Do you plan on being with Don long? Wow, that’s a tough one. You know, it’s a feel thing? Sometimes you settle into a gig, you get comfortable and lazy and that’s when you’re in trouble. You’re in danger of losing your edge. You gotta know when it’s time to get out. Nobody wants to remember Johnny Unitas as a San Diego Charger. Or Michael Jordan as a Washington Wizard. When it’s time to move on, hopefully I’ll be the first to know.
Don’s medical team, what do you think of them? Well, they’re not exactly making my work easy I’ll tell you that. Particularly his oncologist. Damn, that woman scares me. I mean sure she’s brilliant and possibly one of the best in the business, but there’s an extremely good chance the woman has done serious time.
It’s been three years, do you like working with Don? Look, I love the guy, but you try being his cancer. I wouldn’t exactly call his a rich, well-rounded life. There’s a lot of meat and baseball. Couldn’t he grab a little sushi once in awhile? Maybe a show? Would an occasional renaissance fair on the weekend kill him? And don’t even get me started on his obsession with changing his socks four times a day. Who knows what that’s about? And the frequent bedwetting? Well, that’s just not fun for any of us.
You make it sound like an adversarial relationship? Somewhat, but I’m used to that. It’s an occupational hazard. I mean, I’m cancer, I don’t exactly have people standing in line, begging for my services, if you know what I mean. But I try to develop a rapport. I try to keep things fresh. The catheter debacle, the misplaced nipple, these were my ideas and between the two of us… some of my best work.
What happens next? Well, if I told you that, I’d have to kill you. (laughs hysterically) See that’s a joke, cause I’m cancer. And theoretically I could kill you so it’s funny. Get it?
Yeah, got it. One more question. Great, make it a good one… like if I could sit down to dinner and give cancer to three historical figures… who would I…
I’m not going to ask that question. Okay, you got a better one… shoot Chief.
Doing… what you do. How do you sleep at night? It’s real easy to think I’m just a monster. And yes, I dole out way more than my fair share of pain and suffering, but having me in your life… it ain’t all bad sister.
Do tell? Every once in a while, you’ll see a client… breathe a little deeper. They hug their kids a little tighter; they kiss their wives or husbands a little softer. And I’ll smile and know – I did that. That was me. It’s maybe a small thing, but can you say you’ve done as much for anybody today?
Thank you for your time. No problem. Hey, do you know any big smokers? Or tobacco chewers?
No. Anybody who works around industrial chemicals or, fingers crossed, sucks in a lot of asbestos?
No, why do you ask? I’ve got a friend who’s between gigs and I was just wondering…
We’re done here. Yeah, I thought so…