The Cancer Issue

Sylvester Stallone, who received an Oscar nomination for his performance in Creed, his 97th depiction on film of the lovable pugilist Rocky Balboa. I was unaware of the subtle shades of nuance which made Mr. Stallone's current outing as The Rock award-worthy when the last twenty or so entries were regarded (at best) dreary or (at worst) laughable programmers, but I guess that's why I'm not included in the pantheon of the gods who make up the motion picture Academy. Creed did provide Rocky with a double whammy of hurdles by forcing him to fight life-threatening cancer while simultaneously coaching the titular bastard son of his nemesis-tuned-BFF to the heavyweight championship of the world; either of which activity I would think would require his undivided attention in the universe in which I reside. But Rocky always comes out on top as a winner and I guess if anyone can battle the agonies of enduring chemotherapy while training his young charge to shadow box to the tune of Gonna Fly Now,, it's him. After all, anyone who can vanquish Ivan Drago and Mr. T. should find a malignant tumor to be no problem.


David Bowie and Alan Rickman two beloved celebrities who weren't able to K.O. cancer in the heroic manner of Rocky and passed away this week at the age of 69. But Messrs. Bowie and Rickman made the mistake of suffering their illnesses outside of the world of celluloid fantasy where 7.6 million people are robbed of their lives every year by the heinous disease in its various forms. As my readership know, I suffered my own life-threatening health issues this month when my heart decided to stop pumping blood through my body for a while, a situation which could have found me as dead as any of those 7.6 million who didn't have the foresight to leave behind a China Girl or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 to make us want to mourn their passing. The difference between them and me was that my little problem was corrected with two nights in the hospital while cancer patients have to undergo months of grueling chemotherapy and if they're lucky enough to go into remission, spend the next few years of their lives living on edge in the worry that their cancer might come back. Truth be told, I wasn't all that much of a fan of either Mr. Bowie or Mr. Rickman while they were at the top of their respective games but anyone who has to face that kind of adversity at the relatively youthful age of 69 is a hero in my book. As Mr. Bowie once, said "As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I've got left?" Mr. Rickman might have responded as Serverus Snape with a more direct "Has it ever crossed your brilliant mind that I donít want to do this anymore?"


My old nemesis God, who created the cursed disease in the first place. Some years ago, I made a delightful graphic called the "God Action Playset" which depicted a Jehovah Action Figure and a collection of props required for a fun-filled rainy day of watching the kids play God. One of the accessories was a tablet labeled "Commandments God Forgot to Give Moses," one of which was "I don't have a plan." This is a shout-out to any mental deficients out there who try to rationalize anyone's body being ravaged by cancer with a dismissive "It's all part of God's plan." I'm here to tell you that cancer isn't part of any plan and if it is, it is one fucked-up, sadistic plan. God really needs to go back to the drawing board on some of this stuff and rethink His strategy because if He really thinks that there's a purpose in having Ziggy Stardust and Serverus Snape eaten apart from the inside by a malignant neoplasm, it might be time for Jehovah to take an early retirement and let a younger deity take over the job.


This one's off topic, but Rachel Bloom. When RickyGervais gave his opening monologue at the Golden Globe Awards last Sunday, he advised any potential winners that no one cared about their award as much as they did and to maintain that perspective during their acceptances speeches. Ms. Bloom would have done well to take that advice to heart when she won the Globe for a T show that I have never seen called My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend because she claimed the prize with such over-the-top self-indulgence that she acted as if she'd been told that she'd beaten a life-threatening disease rather than winning an award voted on by 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for a TV show that I've never seen. I wish Mss. Bloom well in her life and career but I hope that if she wins any more awards that she'll accept them with a modicum of restraint and dignity that was missing in her Golden Globe speech. I mean, even Sylvester Stallone didn't go ape shit like that when he won a Golden Globe later in the evening, and his character had just beaten cancer, fer chrissake.