Sunday, July 3, 2011

Milking It

I was at a party the other evening and the hostess had beautifully decorated cookies with frosting every color of the rainbow. She passed the platter around and asked each guest which color they wanted. When she got to me, she handed me the pink cookie and said, "We know what one you are! You're our breast cancer girl!" I put the cookie on my dessert plate and left it there, untouched.

As I looked around the table of 10 women, I realized that here on Long Island, 1 in 7 women will develop breast cancer. I was already spoken for. That left at least one or two of the women eligible for the pink cookie in the future or maybe right at that moment and they don't even know it yet.

On this rainy day before Fourth of July, I decided to take advantage of the sales advertised at Lord and Taylor because I had a gift certificate given to me for my birthday. I desperately need a new bathing suit top because I am never the same size from year to year, surgery to surgery. I was quite disappointed at the selection and walking past the cosmetic counter, near accessories, there it was, gleaming before me:  The "Promise Me" Shrine of Goods. You could buy the perfume to smell like breast cancer. There were nick knacks to make your home look more cancer-y. And of course the pink accessories to dress the part, so you, too, could someday offer a survivor a pink cookie in proper style. Note to the "Promise Me" Peeps: Breast Cancer doesn't smell like roses and jasmine. It smells like metal, from the Heparin they use to flush the port implanted in your chest;  plastic tubing; blood; disinfectant; alcohol; cardboard and salt from your tears.

Driving home, listening to NPR, there was a fascinating interview with an Egyptian Freedom Fighter. He was quite distressed about how corporations have infiltrated the fledgeling democracy to put their own spin on it and profit from it. Cleansers are advertised using photographs of the citizenry cleaning up Tahrir Square after the regime fell. A triumphant fist holding up a pair of sunglasses instead of a flag was hawking a hotel and promoting tourism. The Freedom Fighter asked, "What about the fight? The sacrifice? What these people accomplished?" Nary a billboard about that. And with that, this man, finally, found the words I have been searching for. If I take out the word he used,  "Egypt" and put in my own word, I have what I have been trying to say:

Breast Cancer Is Not A Cow. Stop Milking It.

Yes. Thank you. Shukran.