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Lines of My Life

Like most people, I have material, so to speak, that I use repeatedly (ad nauseam, some might say). Most are lines from “The Three Stooges,” “M*ASH,” “Star Trek” (the original) and “Seinfeld.” As I entered into the cancer world, I continued to use this material – where/when appropriate, as many of you regular readers know. However, as my time in the cancer conundrum has continued (thank God!) and evolved, I have found myself uttering and muttering à la “Popeye the Sailor Man,” amusing myself, mostly, but always with the best of intentions: my survival. A few examples follow. (My answers are in quotes.)

See you again. “Let’s hope so.”

Nice to see you. “Nice to be seen.”

Glad you could be here. “Glad I could be anywhere.”

How are you doing? (No. 1) “I’d be crazy to complain.”

See you next week. “From your mouth to God’s ears.”

How are you feeling? “Fine. You mean I’m not?”

You look good. “Really? Have you had your eyes checked recently? Chemotherapy doesn’t usually enhance one’s appearance.”

How are you doing? (No. 2) “I’m holding my own. (“Whose else would I be holding?”)

Happy to have you here. “Nice to be had.”

I’ve been thinking about you lately. “I’ve been thinking about me, too.”

You look in pretty good shape. “I’m in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in.”

Have you seen your doctor lately? “Yeah. And he’s seen me, too.”

What’s up? “My weight. Thank God!”

Would you like to buy any “Forever” stamps? They’re good for as long as you live. “Um. OK.”

What are you doing here? “I won’t be here tomorrow. I’ll be attending a funeral (hopefully not my own).”

How are you holding up? “I’m holding my own. (“Whose else would I be holding?”)

Occasionally, even when I initiate the conversation, I find myself “cancering” wise. “How are you doing?” Hanging in there. “Tell me about it.”

And finally, a well-meaning greeting to my wife, Dina, from one of her girlfriends: “So nice Kenny is getting to celebrate another birthday.”

Content/words that we couldn’t have imagined finding the least bit problematic pre-cancer diagnosis back in February, 2009, we (mostly I, if truth be told) find as fodder for self-preservation. I see the lightness, not the darkness. I see the best of intentions, not the worst of omissions. Somehow, some way, we have made the best of a bad situation. Whether it’s been friends, family, co-workers; or readers reaching out, health care professionals helping out or my speaking out (in print), our life has gone on and as I’ve said many times before – and once already in this column: “I’d be crazy to complain” (and I’m not crazy, by the way).

I’m not exactly Lou Gehrig – or a Yankee fan for that matter, and I don’t know about the “face of the Earth,” but this Bostonian still feels pretty lucky.