August 14, 2017

I’ve never been blackmailed, but I imagine the feeling is similar to having cancer in your lymph nodes. The cancer is just hanging out like, “You do just what I say or I’ll ruin you.” And I’m all, “You don’t want to do this…just give me the pictures back!” 


I was in Atlanta over the weekend getting my second round of MRIs and CT scans. Scans always make me nervous, and I imagine they will for the rest of my life. The first round was great, and I have no reason to think that these will be different. Except for the fact that these lymph nodes could release those pictures at any time. 


This was my third MRI and I am still blown away by the experience. Going in that tube, strapped down to the bed, wearing chest plates and a blue hair net makes me feel like I’m in a science fiction movie. 


I mean they are taking pictures of the inside of my body with magnets! what.edu?? How on earth? Magnets?? Those things that keep pictures of my friends kids on my refrigerator? That is taking pictures of the inside of my body?? What is this the year 2000???!!  


Not only is it amazing that this stuff exists, but that it was invented in 1977. They’ve been taking pictures with magnets for 40 years and it still takes me three tries to fold my collapsable beach chair. 


I’m just thankful that so many smart people dedicated their lives to science and medicine. And here I am, a writer with cancer, benefitting from their contributions. 


While I was in Atlanta experiencing the best of society, 511 miles northeast of me, people in Charlottesville, VA were experiencing the worst.  


Racists, losers, and LITERAL NAZIS were gathering together to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue and to stand up for the rights of white men. You know… the only group who has had all the rights since the beginning. Complaining about white people having rights taken away is like some dude who has ridden a roller coaster all by himself 1000 times in a row losing his mind when someone else is like, “Can I ride it too?” These are the people who complain that their free speech is being taken away while freaking out when a black person says the word “matter.” They were waving American flags and Confederate flags, which is like wearing a New England Patriots jersey while cheering for the Jets. The two don’t fucking go together. The idea that white people are discriminated against is an idea only possible in people who have never been discriminated against in their lives. It’s like people claiming that Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is the greatest movie ever made. That thought is only true if you have never seen another movie.


Then one of those zeros decided to drive his car into a crown of people. A young woman died. She died while standing up against the very worst element of our society. Against hatred, against racism, against LITERAL NAZIS. 


We all contribute to this society. Whether it’s researching how magnets can take pictures of inside the human body or getting together with a group of people carrying torches and yelling LITERAL NAZI slogans. The patch work quilt that is America is made by both the good and the bad. 


Before my surgeon told me I had cancer, she told me that life is not about how much time you have, but about what you do with that time. I think she’s right. I want my contributions to be worthy of the people who made the MRI machine, or invented the medicine that is keeping my lymph nodes in check. I want them to be worthy of people who spent their weekend protesting LITERAL NAZIS, and especially of Heather Heyer, the woman who gave her life doing so. 




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