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Excerpt from my work-in-progress: Today Cancer, Tomorrow The World

August 30, 2012

An excerpt where I’m in the Infusion ward of the Stanford Cancer Center…

 

 

I sit in the recliner, the chemo is dripping, another three hours to go. I listen to sixties music on my headphones and glance at the framed snapshots of my life positioned around me. The songs from 1968 call back different moments of being a kid, some pleasant, others hauntingly embarrassing. When I was in eighth grade there was a girl named Wanda, who was very unattractive. My friend and I wrote her a love letter and signed another guy’s name. We thought it was funny. But it was cruel. We were singled out by our teacher in class for the act. But we were jerks, and didn’t feel bad about our joke. Instead we were indignant because we were singled out. And being singled out provoked us to become even more like jerks. I’m not that same person. But that act probably shaped part of Wanda, and others schoolmates who have never seen me since, and use it as a basis to define me.  And I recount when I experienced rejection or cruelty from people, or imagined slights, and how I many times I told those stories about what others had done to me, while avoiding tales about what I had done to them. Sometimes those frozen incidents define us, but the children—and even adults—who committed the offenses to us aren’t fixed and usually thaw out into another person, sometimes good sometimes bad. Yet, we hold their offenses against them forever, but expect everyone else to forgive or get over our past behavior. Those offense becomes a focal and blameless basis for anecdotes to justify our beliefs.

I look up at the chemo. It seems to drips the deeper pain of other people into me and drains away mine. I became insignificant victim of my past.

 I like it.

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