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6 things you should never tell cancer patient

6 Things You Should Never Tell a Cancer Patient

6 things you should never tell cancer patientFive years ago, on June 1, 2012, I found out that, like one in eight women in America, I had breast cancer. Within a two-week period, one of our cats died, my husband lost his job, his aunt passed away and, while he was in Illinois attending her funeral, I got the news by phone.

It was caught early by an eagle-eyed radiologist who saw a small spot on my digital mammogram. Insurance companies often won’t cover this more sensitive test because it costs more. In January of 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force raised the recommended age at which women should begin mammography screening from 40 to 50. (The medical community had opposed the change since it was first proposed in 2009.) Had I waited that long, I might be dead now.

I had a lumpectomy on July 3rd, followed by chemotherapy and radiation, which finished up at the end of January 2013. Five years later, I’m still cancer-free.

I bonded with several women going through the same thing. We’d pass our time in the waiting room joking about how none of us had lost weight from chemo despite what movies show, and how easy it is to forget where your eyebrows were after they fall out: Sometimes you draw them on and look angry or surprised, or angry on one side and surprised on the other.

We also talked about the comments well-meaning people said to us when they found out we had cancer. I related my friend’s story of how strangers touched her belly when she was pregnant, then got offended when she told them to stop. With cancer, too, people feel entitled to weigh in, assuming a level of familiarity that may not exist.

Here is my list, gleaned from my experience, of six things you should never tell a cancer patient:

1. Everything happens for a reason. Yes, the reason is cancer. Is it because I paid the gas bill late or didn’t send a Christmas card? Think this through, please. Even if there is some cosmic plan, is that supposed to cheer me up? (“Your death will provide a valuable life lesson for your family.”)

2. [She] is fighting a battle with cancer. My chest is not a war zone. I prefer to say I’m having a slap fight with cancer. Sounds less ominous and it’s a nice visual, too. I’ve rarely heard anyone say, “She just gave up. What a wuss!”

3. Check out this email from Johns Hopkins about what really causes cancer. This is a hoax that’s been circulating since 2008. Johns Hopkins has repeatedly refuted it, but it still terrifies people. Whoever who wrote this should be flogged.

4. This [alternative therapy] really works. Ever meet someone who cured cancer by drinking his own pee? Probably not. Want to talk to Steve Jobs about the miracle macrobiotic cure he did for months before agreeing to conventional treatment? Oh, that’s right, you can’t: he’s dead.

5. Cheese causes cancer. I blame some Internet sub-genius for starting the Big-Dairy-doesn’t-want-you-to-know-this-is-killing-you panic about casein, what Alex Jones likes to call an excitotoxin. (Funny, that’s what I call him.) Casein is a protein found in mammalian milk, including human milk. So…breastfeeding causes cancer? Milk is murder?

I’m not saying I’m an expert. Having cancer doesn’t make you an expert any more than sitting on an airplane makes you a pilot. I understand that sickness scares people; it’s only human to want to define it and reassure themselves it won’t happen to them. Bullshit artists like Louise Hay have made a lot of money blaming people for their own illnesses. Which brings me to:

6. Negativity causes cancer. If that’s true, the person who says this must be riddled with it.

You know how they say a stranger is just a friend with an unsolicited opinion you haven’t heard yet? (Okay, nobody says that, but I’m trying to start a trend.) Everyone from my cat’s veterinarian to a city’s worth of taxi drivers felt compelled to share their wisdom. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to say, “Oh, this isn’t from chemo. I shaved my head to commemorate that time I killed someone for sticking his nose in my business.”

Sometimes a little negativity can be fun, no?

Related posts:
I’m Radioactive – Laughing at Cancer
Tales from the Waiting Room – Laughing at Cancer
Pink Ribbon Products from Car Horns to Handguns

Copyright Notice 2018 Magick Sandwich

World Play-Doh Day

Happy World Play-Doh Day

Magick Sandwich Play-Doh DaySeptember 16 is World Play-Doh Day. After writing about it on Worldwide Weird Holidays, I found that some of the prose was a bit inappropriate for that site—in other words, perfect for Magick Sandwich. Call it WWWH After Dark, if you will. (I’m pretty sure you won’t.)

Fun Facts about Play-Doh: The compound was created in 1933 to clean coal soot off wallpaper. The inventor ripped off the formula homemakers and servants had used for decades.

By 1956, homes didn’t use coal anymore. No soot, no need for the cleaner. The company was tanking when the sister-in-law of an employee suggested repurposing it as a toy and came up with the name. Of course, she received no credit or payment.

The employee convinced Bob Keeshan, a.k.a. Captain Kangaroo, to feature it on his show once a week in exchange for a percentage of the sales. Similar to payola schemes run by radio disc jockeys, this was truly a case of “pay to play” or “pay to play-doh,” if you’re feeling punny.

Bonus Fun Fact: A tell-all book by longtime stage manager Daniel B. Morgan alleges that Keeshan liked to expose himself before the show, sticking a pencil under his little captain and waving it at Hugh “Lumpy” Brannum, who played Mr. Green Jeans. Per Morgan:

“Then the Captain would come through the door, greet everyone, and hang the keys on the key hook. On with the show! So now, at the end of the program (which probably included credits), Bob was backstage reading the final voice-over…(and) during Bob’s final read, Lumpy pulled out his penis and began to pee on Bob’s leg.”

Captain Kangaroo liked to pull out his dick before greeting his fan base of millions of small children. Doesn’t everybody? (I need to Purell my childhood memories. Can someone find out if that’s possible?)

*****

Do you long for the simple charms of shaping and smushing, but can’t figure out how to integrate Play-Doh into your daily work routine without attracting undue attention? How awkward would a trip to Human Resources be? Even the most exhaustive employee handbook has no listing for “Play-Doh, abuse of.” There are no talking points, no rehab to recommend.

On second thought, there could be a highly-specialized treatment center somewhere in, say, Malibu. Right now, someone is getting equine therapy to break the cycle of Play-Doh addiction. In case you’re unfamiliar with the modality, the Equine Psychotherapy website explains: “It is the discipline of using horses as a means to provide metaphoric experiences in order to promote emotional growth.” It sounds a lot like getting a horse to babysit so the human can go grab a cocktail. (Horse-sit: say it three times fast.)

Now you can avoid the humiliation of being narced on by coworkers—and the deceptively pleasant-sounding shame spiral which follows—while enjoying the essence of Play-Doh every moment of every day with no risk of sanctions. Demeter Fragrance Library, the maker of such classic scents as Lobster and Funeral Home, offers PlayDoh cologne.

Don’t be surprised if the scent inspires an admirer to pull on your pigtails. (Apparently, little boys used to do that to little girls they liked, but we can’t find anyone who’s seen or done it.) Guys, it’s unisex, so if you spritz it on, don’t be surprised if someone pulls on your man-bun.

On the subject of male grooming, why is practiced, casual vanity so often inversely proportional to a man’s personal hygiene habits? I’m thinking of a 1980s TV star who claims to have no interest in fashion but festoons himself every day with at least ten necklaces and as many rings as his fingers can hold. (We have no problem with male adornment, just hypocrisy.) Coincidentally, he looks like he hasn’t taken a shower since the 1980s. Surely there’s a circus nearby where the elephants can wait a moment so he can be hosed down.

Back to the hairdo: A man-bun says, “I write poetry, I love to cuddle, I’m sensitive and attentive and I smell like a week-old, bloated goat carcass.” Happy World Play-Doh Day, everybody!

Copyright Magick Sandwich

More Great Gifts for Everyone on Your List!

It’s that time of year again. Are you wondering what to get for your loved ones to show you really care? Avoid the Walmart scrum and spread Christmas cheer this season with Magick Sandwich’s sure-to-please holiday gift list!

First, for the friend whose dog makes sweet love to your pant leg as soon as you step in the door, we recommend Hot Doll, the first sex toy for dogs. Its legs boast a “no slide” system and its cone is made from “the same materials used by veterinarians.”

Yes, the cone is exactly what you think it is and yes, it makes your vet sound kinky. It’s also washable, which will make picking up dog poop a joy by comparison. Stylish in black or white, this puppy will set you back 159 euros plus shipping. Did I mention it’s made in France? Of course, it is.

For the aunt who wears leggings because they’re “slimming” and who hasn’t seen south of her own border in umpteen pounds, we suggest the Cuchini Camel Toe Solution. It fits inside her drawers to shore up her sagging nethers. Her inseam will thank you.

If you’d like to see the before and after photos, you’ll have to visit the site. Showing a doggy
sex toy is one thing, but we have to draw the line somewhere. Standards must be maintained. A bacon merkin, on the other hand? Good clean fun.

Distract the coworker who gets preachy about your lunch with What Would Jesus Eat?: The Ultimate Program for Eating Well, Feeling Great and Living Longer. (Spoiler alert: He’s not a fan of processed white bread but He does recommend non-fat cream cheese.)

Along with its companion cookbook, no doubt straight from the savior’s test kitchen, it’s the perfect gift for the believer who wonders, “Are these fishes sourced locally?”

Finally, give that special someone languishing on an organ donor list the gift of a life-sized plush organ from the folks at iheartguts.com.

Some of the organs available are the testicle, ovary, gallbladder, lung, prostate, and spleen. Maybe while Uncle Roy clutches this adorable, festively colored plush liver, he’ll think about taking better care of his next one. If he gets one. If not, you can always re-gift it to one of the other hopeless drunks in your family. Do they sell in bulk?

Well, that’s all for now. Click here for more gift ideas. While you’re at it, see our advice on gifts for depressed and/or lonely friends, bacon lovers and drunkards. Remember: Don’t wait for their birthdays. They may be dead by then.™

More gift-giving know-how:
Great Holiday Gifts: Bacon Edition 
Great Gifts for Depressed Friends!
Great Gifts for Everyone on Your List!

Copyright Notice 2018 Magick Sandwich

Magick Sandwich

Prelude to a Love Story

Tomorrow marks the twenty-first anniversary of my first date with my future husband and the fourteenth anniversary of our wedding. We got married on the seventh anniversary of our first date. Marrieds, all together now: awwww. Singletons, puke at will.

But today holds a special significance for me as well. Twenty-one years ago tonight, I was hanging out with my friend Christine near South Street Seaport, chatting excitedly about my upcoming date. We were in a little seating area in front of a bank on Fulton Street, and there were many other people enjoying the night air around us. Those seats are long gone. The topography of that street has changed many times over.

As was usual in the late 1980s, there were scads of yuppies getting drunk in the open air of the Fulton Fish Market. Two of them stumbled up the street and decided they would pick us up. I suppose we should have felt lucky that they chose us. One of the masters of the universe was red-faced and wavering as if the sidewalk were a balance beam. The other, slightly less soused, did the talking.

Christine and I were not in the mood for this interruption. I’m not sure how the conversation devolved to the point where I invited him to “whip it out,” but it did, and he generously acquiesced. Unfortunately for him, whiskey dick cuts across all social strata. His penis drooped between thumb and forefinger like a sad little mushroom cap.

This was too amusing not to share, so I turned to the others sitting there and said, “Look at this! This guy’s showing us his dick!”

I should mention now that Christine had the kind of throaty, bawdy laugh that made all heads turn. It ground activity to a halt in restaurants, blotted out the dialogue in movie theaters and made people fervently hope they were not the target of her mirth.

So at this particular moment, she let loose with a boomer that echoed off the surrounding buildings. This caused everyone around us to crack up as well. The poor guy had at least a dozen people laughing at his diminutive manhood. Wisely, he put it away.

At this point, I advised him that it wasn’t so bad because I was sure he wouldn’t remember any of this the next day at his cushy Wall Street job. He replied, “I’ll make a thousand dollars tomorrow.”

And then I uttered one of the best lines I have ever said: “Oh, yeah? A thousand dollars a day won’t make your penis bigger.”

Needless to say, the gentleman was none too pleased with my statement. He looked for a moment like he would lunge at me. I was trying to gauge his drunkenness. I knew I could easily knock down his friend, who continued to sway, smiling dumbly, apparently thinking things were going well.

Instead, the guy called me a f**king c**t. I find it thrilling to be called that. When a man (or woman) unleashes that word, I know I have hit my mark. My grin must have caught him off guard. After a little more salty language, he lurched away, pulling his friend by the arm. Neither one spilled a drop of the beer in their plastic to-go cups. A few minutes later, a cop walked by, too late to witness the tableau, too late for me to press charges. While carrying an open container of alcohol and flashing is illegal, being a bitch is not. I love this country.

Years later, I related this all to my mother-in-law, finishing with “…and that’s the last penis I saw before your son’s.” She laughed. True story.

Copyright Magick Sandwich

peeve smelly facial tissue

A Peeve

peeve smelly facial tissue
Facial tissue that smells bad: Why?

The manufacturer has to have some idea that you’re going to be using it under your nose.

Why not make sure it smells okay? How hard can that be?