Opinion: Column: Comparatively Speaking

Opinion: Column: Comparatively Speaking

After writing such an emotional column last week ("A Relative Unknown"), I'm having a little trouble finding footing for my pen for this week's column.

It reminds me of thoughts I had about continuing to write my "Everything in general about nothing in particular"-themed columns – which I had published in The Connection from December 1997 through May 2009, after I received my terminal cancer diagnosis in late February, 2009. How could I continue to write such lightweight nonsense after being given a "13 month to two-year" prognosis?

Not that my intention writing forward was ever to immerse you regular readers in self-indulgent Kenny at his self-important worst. Hardly. It was more that I had a need and apparently, an ability, to write about my cancer experiences with a similarly light touch as I had previously done so discussing everyday topics dating back 12 years or so.

Those columns, as you incredibly regular readers may recall, ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, including everything in between. However, they never mentioned politics, current events, personalities in the news or anything of substance, quite frankly.

To give you a few examples: "Armed and Dangerous," a column about drivers who drive with their left arms hanging out the driver's side window (one of my mother's favorites); "Sole Man," a column about seeing so many single shoes lying by the side of the road; "Registering a Complaint," a column about the new (at the time) self-checkout registers at supermarkets; and "Victim of 'Soycumstance,'" a column about why there are always so many packets of soy sauce in Chinese carry-out, and so many more, hundreds in fact, about "everything in general…” .

For me, they were – and continue to be – an amusing diversion/avocation which enabled me to pursue my passion and dream about writing a syndicated column from a warm climate, preferably one with an ocean view, while maintaining my day job. A day job which I still maintain. And though the challenge for maintaining both may be greater now than ever, us true believers in the newspaper business will continue to read and write as best we can, in print and online.

Now, throw in a cancer diagnosis, which at the outset was extremely discouraging, and you might wonder how any of this makes sense. Well, perhaps it didn't. But perhaps having tasks and responsibilities was exactly the kind of regularity that a cancer patient given a rather grim prognosis needed, consciously, and maybe more importantly, subconsciously.

Somewhere in my head (or wherever one's subconscious exists) going on about life as if nothing was particularly life-threatening (heck, more like life-ending, at age 54 and a half, no less) perhaps was the kind of antidote my body needed. Though told then – and now – that there's no cure for what ails me: non-small cell lung cancer, stage IV, nevertheless, I am still alive nine-plus years later, "advocating" and "vocating."

However, maintaining my status quo; reading, writing and "'rithmeticking" doesn't generally make me cry as writing last week's column did. And in living long enough to experience what I wrote about last week, I am always grateful to whomever/whatever power is responsible for yours truly being here, there and everywhere (also a reference to the name of the first song, by The Beatles, that Dina and I danced to as husband and wife).

Amazingly, life goes on, as does this column. But fortunately, for you irregular readers, not for much longer.

Have written this far, I think I've transitioned now from an extremely emotional experience: meeting my cousin from Argentina to an unemotional/normal one: life in the mundane and boring Kenny lane. A lane I hope to continue to travel. At least I hope so, anyway.