Having cancer is like having a “get out of jail free” card.
My sister Lib and I were antiquing when we came upon a nifty, old copper-lined heat lamp. The way Lib tells it, SHE saw it first and called me over to admire her intended purchase. She says I then tried to hustle it out from under her nose.
I remember this differently.
I dug through heaps of junk to unearth the lamp and wanted to share my excitement with my dear sister. As I waxed enthusiastic about my plans to convert it to a light, Lib visibly wilted, leaning against a wall. She adopted a wistful expression and said, in a faint voice “Boy, wouldn’t that look nice in my apartment. I could gaze upon it while I’m lying on the couch, too weak to do anything else because, after all, I have cancer.” A feeble little cough followed.
Guess who ended up with the lamp.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. I couldn’t help myself. I blurted out, “You know, Lib, as often as you play the cancer card, you should have some made up.”
I wondered if, perhaps, I had gone too far. Some might be offended. Not my sister. Lib immediately abandoned the wilting flower performance. She pantomimed smartly whipping a card out of her pocket, presented it to me and said in a cheesy salesman manner, “My card”.
Near as I can tell, there aren’t a lot of benefits to having cancer. The one thing you’ve got going for you is the sympathy factor. You’d be a fool not to exploit it. It occurred to us that playing the cancer card would be a lot easier with an actual deck of cards. Eureka!
Announcing, the Playing The Cancer Card deck by Peg-Co.
The cards will be printed on one side with “Because I have cancer.” The other side will list various things you want to get, or get out of doing. Only the most callused, heart-hearted Scrooge could deny you when you present them with a card asking to:
- Get out of a ticket
- Get to talk about yourself all the time
- Get out of work
- Get to the front of the line
- Get to stroll into work late and leave early
- Get waited on hand and foot
- Get to cut in traffic
- Get to forget birthdays, anniversaries and any other gift-giving occasions
We are still in the development stage, so suggestions are welcome.
Here’s how it would work. Let’s say you are late for your session at the Jamaica Tanning Salon, so you’ve got the pedal to the metal. You’re doing 60 in a 30 zone and the police pull you over. If you happen to be bald from chemo, quickly remove your head covering while the officer is running your plates. If you’re not bald, stuff your hair up under the all-purpose bandana you keep in the glove box for just such an emergency. This implies baldness.
When he approaches your window and asks for your license and registration, smile wanly and present the documents with your “Because I have cancer – Get out of a ticket” card prominently displayed on top.
Say, “I’m sorry, officer. I normally never exceed the posted speed limit. It’s just that I am late for ___________”. Mention a life-saving cancer treatment. It is probably best to stick with something like chemo, though, and not mention medical marijuana (which they just so happen to sell at the Jamaica Smoke Shop next to the tanning place.) He’d have to be one cold dude to give you that ticket.
What if you’re using your Playing The Cancer Card deck and the recipient turns out to have a deck herself? Let’s say you’re in line at the grocery store, and present your “get to the front of the line” card to the person ahead of you. She whips off her wig to reveal her equally bald head, and shows her own card. It would seem to be a sympathy stalemate.
Lib came up with a workable solution for that. She suggests a tiebreaker protocol based on a hierarchy of cancers. Not surprisingly, she figures a brain tumor trumps just about any other kind and propels her to the front of the line.
This would be like a fun game of Rock, Paper, Scissors based on life-threatening illness!
Let’s face it. In life, we all have to play the hand we’re dealt. Soon, cancer patients will be able to play that hand with their own, Playing The Cancer Card deck. (To be offered at a low, low introductory price, plus shipping and handling.)
ps. Lib just finished her second round of chemo and is feeling fine. Thanks for your continuing kind thoughts and prayers.