Friday, February 10, 2012

#58: Be Gangster

Dan Stolfi, in his one-man show Cancer Can't Dance Like This, does a hilarious bit about how cancer made him 'gangster'. He imitates himself crossing the street before cancer- with care and caution - and afterward, taking long, slow strides and giving the finger to any drivers who gets pissed off.

I loved this bit. I, too, noticed a different side of myself at my weekly soccer games. At one game, a particularly pushy player grabbed the ball to kick it in after her team had clearly kicked it out of bounds. After some back and forth between her teammates and mine, I joined in (in a very unusually undiplomatic manner) "Come on red team, open your eyes, you saw that go out off your foot! What are you blind?!" and actually continued engaging the player beyond the point of productive.

Not only that, in the car to and from my soccer games, I noticed I was flipping the bird much more often than normal.

What happened to me (and, apparently, others like Dan Stolfi), was that cancer was making me gangster. I was about to take on one of mankind's greatest enemies - cancer - and you think I'm going to let some snotty-nosed soccer player push me and my team around? Or some grumpy old driver honk his horn at me when I need to change lanes? No, no, no. They could kiss my ass. I had bigger fish to fry.

My inner gangster still rears her ugly head every once in a while. When I see girls with half their heads shaved (you think that's badass? try having cancer and losing your hair, that's badass!), or when restaurants double-book on the night of my sister's wedding reception (I better get that news from the owner, and he/she better feel pretty bad about it). But mostly, my inner gangster has subsided after the initial shock of my diagnosis wore off.

I've tried to hold onto what I learned from my inner gangster - not to back down when someone challenges you. Sometimes, people screw up, and sometimes, it's their own fault. Who else is going to tell them if you don't?

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