On the front lines

You ever notice how everybody who gets cancer is always battling the disease? Nobody ever seems to simply have cancer. No matter if 14 or 73, he/she is invariably “waging a battle with cancer,” and it’s always a “courageous battle” and he/she is “fighting valiantly,” and when cancer finally wins this “battle,” as it occasionally does, the person has “passed” or “succumbed to the dread disease.” Nobody dies anymore, “die” and “dying” being words that, if not politically incorrect, are at least culturally inappropriate in this gentle age of soft euphemisms.

By contrast, does anybody “battle” rheumatoid arthritis? Diabetes? Irritable bowel syndrome? You rarely hear about anyone “battling” emphysema.

When I read of people “battling” cancer, I get this image of somebody in bed, teeth clenched, eyes closed, face contorted in a grimacing rictus as the patient “battles” away, which is, of course, ridiculous. You know how you “battle” cancer? You go to the doctor, you take the tests, you get the bad news, and then you take the pills, you do the radiation, you do the chemo, and hope like hell something works. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t. Good luck! May you at least buy some precious time.

Cancer’s a badass sumbitch. There is no shame at all in losing the “battle” to cancer. None. It’s quite all right to “succumb.” Indeed, there comes a time, and every terminal cancer patient knows this, when it’s OK to finally just—quit. It’s OK to surrender. It’s OK to acknowledge that you’re a goner, and it’s OK to begin preparations for an intelligent, graceful exit. Then, when Mr. Reaper shows up at your door, instead of screaming in fear at his arrival, you can invite him in for a cup of coffee and maybe even a cordial chat before he does what he must.

Could you believe how bent out of shape New Yorkers got about Ted Cruz’s comment about “New York values?” I was astounded that all these Big Apploids got such a collective wedgie over the remark. All us non-New Yorkers knew what Cruz was getting at, and I thought it was a perfectly reasonable cheap shot to take at Trump. By conflating the Donald and “New York values,” Cruz was obviously calling him a closet liberal. Period. That’s it. That’s all. And I buy the notion that, generally speaking, New York City is a bastion of liberal politics. I mean, for fux sakes, 83 percent of Manhattan voted for Obama over Romney. Any more liberal than that, you’re Berkeley!

But jeez, New Yorkers got all flipped out and indignant and generally reacted the same way that people in Omaha or Boise do when Colbert/Conan makes a crack about them being redneck hayseeds, and it was pretty freakin’ amazing. They seem to be getting touchy there in The Greatest City in The World. (And let me point out that the vast majority of folks who make that particular GCITW proclamation usually live—in New York!)