Saturday, June 6, 2015
The Colossal Cancerous Colon
Well, I have to admit that the CCC—the Colossal Cancerous Colon—(see yesterday’s blog) was a big disappointment. I had expected a sort of labyrinth one could travel through while fending off mutant cells. What I got were three inflatable pink arches that looked like the entrance to a really bad seafood restaurant. Along the wall of the arches were various discolorations and raised plastic welts—the cancer in question.
A steel drum band played “Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be All Right,” an odd choice of tunes. In a ballroom containing 1,200 cancer patients, it’s a pretty sure bet that not every little thing is gonna be all right for a lot of them. When I commented on this to a woman seated at my table, she looked up sadly and said, “It’s happy music.”
The food was excellent and healthy. Turkey wraps, chicken, humus, three kinds of potatoes and a zillion carrot sticks. The freebies were okay too: a notebook, a glass, a pen, and a neat picnic plate with a built in fork and a snap-on cover. I can tell you that this handy gadget can (and does) hold three turkey wraps quite comfortably should you wish to take some home from the buffet.
The majority of attendees were well over 50 years old, divided equally among black and white with here and there an Asian thrown in because cancer is an equal opportunity disease.
There weren’t a lot of smiles or laughter. I desperately wanted to tell someone my best cancer joke (man goes to the doctor. Doctor says, I have bad news and worse news for you. Man says, “Give me bad news.” Doctor says, “You have cancer.” Man sits down, stunned, and asks “What’s the worse news?” Doctor says, “You also have Alzheimer’s.” Man thinks for a second and says, “Well, at least it isn’t cancer.”) I didn’t get a single opportunity to spread this bit of wit. The woman seated to my right never once looked up from her potato salad. The woman on my left spent most of the lunch hour trying to talk her husband into getting a second bag of free stuff.
During the opening remarks, the crowd applauded itself several times and people waved their arms in the air and went “Woo hoo!” I’m not sure what prompted the elation, but it was nice to see. Then the people with cancer applauded the doctors and the volunteers, after which the doctors and volunteers applauded the people with cancer. Lesser—but just as enthusiastic—cheers was reserved for the staff manning large garbage bags and busing tables.
The workshops were crowded. I didn’t get a chance to talk to an oncologist about alternative treatments but I was told there is a website devoted to the subject. The line for the massage chairs stretched down the hall, and I never could find the Nordstrom makeup specialists, which is just as well.
Throughout the time I was there, volunteers in green tee shirts vied to help me find a chair, another chair, and a third chair. A few tried to shepherd me into the colon cancer workshop, but having seen the disappointing Colossal Cancerous Colon, I demurred.
As I was leaving, I noticed a sign next to the CCC telling me that being in the Colossal Colon’s vicinity implied my tacit approval that I might be photographed for promotional purposes. With the CCC.
Life gets weirder by the day.