As every truly indoctrinated, authentic, born-to-be-a-parent knows, there's nothing worse than having a sick kid. From that first ear infection to the projectile vomiting to the pants full o' siena shit and the sore throat runny nose green snotted boogie monster blues to the coal mine whooping cough and sizzling fever babies, up to the broken bones, twisted ankles, torn tendons, then further and further to the edge of leukemia, hodgkins, lymphoma, MS, and the bad blood gone criminal until it's The Cancer of not just of the little loved one no matter how old or big but of the entire family needing family-sized chemo and family-sized radiation just to deal with the pain and suffering of your one sick little buddy. It is the sickness devil come to torture the souls he knows he'll never get - the pure and simple souls of the children who will always be children no matter how old and lonely they become, the children in their unconscious chaotic joy on bright yellow days can make the devil very, very angry until he lets the little buggers have it with both barrels of bad cells and cancers of the blood, the lymph, the bone, the brain, the lung and the pancreas, the liver, the vagina, the kidneys, the breasts, the ovaries and the uterus, the prostate and the tiny innocent unassuming testicles of your only son.
Nothing makes a parent quite so instantly bloodlustingly schizophrenic as some douchebag asshole pointing at your young man's testicle and pontificating platitudes like "remember Lance Armstrong", "testicular cancer has a 95% cure rate", "you can still make babies with one nut", "I know 10 guys that have had testicular cancer and they're fine now," and on and on. Either these fuckers are not parents or at least not real parents or they're typically ignorant Americans whose primary source of self-validation is statistical accuracy leaving them completely crippled in affairs of the heart. Where else will we find the power to cast off the devil if not the heart? Not the Hallmark heart of the sentimental gratitude grifters who would make your cancer something to be grateful for, like some profound and powerful teacher who has come to inhabit your scrotum, or your breasts, or your brain to show you how life is beautiful, a treasure, a font of plenty, an earthful of elves just propping you up wherever you go. But what these stupid fucks don't understand is that when you're one nut down, the cosmic balance has the potential to become deeply disturbed. You've still got two ears, eyes, nostrils, tonsils, collarbones, shoulders, arms, hands, buttocks, breasts, ovaries, fallopian tubes, legs, knees, feet, kidneys, lungs etc. etc. balancing things out as you travel through the universe and when one is unnaturally removed everything gets cattywumpus. That delicate balance is subtly, almost imperceptibly upset; the footfall on the right becomes a little heavier than the left; the right brain becomes the more insistent, urgent activities director; left handers are suddenly ambidextrous.
All because of one little rotten testicle, probably poisoned by shark shit in the waves and the detritus of backcountry meth labs in the steelhead rivers, two places where a Norcal guy might spend the majority of his waking hours, his crotch awash in carcinogens; just one of a pair now plucked from it's package, an English golf ball popped out of the penalty box to knock an entire family completely off its moorings and starting a chain of furrowed brows as the "C" word travels outward and around the circles of friends, followers and relations, coming to rest in the hearts of our loose network of parents.
There isn’t supposed to be cancer in your family any more than there is supposed to be cancer in our family, even IF my Dad had to have a few feet of his colon lopped off that should have been the end of it, because it’s common knowledge that bad things don’t happen in our family. But the last few years I have begun to wonder; it’s almost as if God has put us on probation and the devil is slipping in through the cracks. I mean, the nerve of God to let the fucking devil get the upper hand in MY family! I thought we had a deal: we agreed to let Jesus be the only “real” son of God instead of Mohammed or Vishnu or Haile Selassie or Joe Smith and in return He keeps the devil from fucking with our shit! Right? There was nothing in the contract about us bringing on new recruits or any public evangelism whatsoever so long as we played by the rules. And we do play by the rules for the most part, though I’ll admit to saying “Godammit” a lot. Is that it? The “name in vain” business? That’s not even a mortal sin, is it? I always thought it was just a misdemeanor.
Still, if you look at the last few years you might get the impression that this circus act has been messing around on the highwire far too long: a parent dies, the stock splits and the inheritance doubles; I spend 3 months slowly and painfully being relieved of my job only to land a contracting gig that pays more and allows me to do more of what I like to do (yep, I finally got that singing gigolo gig); two back surgeries fix my back beautifully but destroy my feet; Pie spends a year going to film school in Prague but gets a little collateral heartbreak in the process; Beamish Boy wins the fishing lottery and spends 10 days ripping steelhead lips on the Dean in B.C. then comes home with cancer. Hard times all around, eh?
I was informed recently that I should stop writing about myself and start writing about the world around me, and that in the process I'll begin to see the world as a joyous and supportive place. Perhaps this means I should start keeping secrets about what is really going on in my world and simply report the news - the joyous and supportive news. Hey...if that's what it's going to take to send my son's big C packin', I'm down. In fact, why not start now with all the joyous and supportive news that is goin' on right here, right now, on this joyous and supportive world. Ready? Here goes...