Really, I'm Not that Pitiful
You know how easy it is to agree to do something if it's requested months in advance?
Sometime last winter, my social worker friend Jenna cornered me at a party while I was doing some drunken, stream of consciousness comedy shtick for the gang.
She asked if I'd do some standup for an event her hospital was planning in June.
Sure, I said, thinking June was light years away.
Turns out the event is to celebrate National Cancer Survivor's Day, and I've been billed as the (get this) "Cancer Surviving Comedienne."
I had to go to a local radio station earlier this week to be interviewed for a PSA touting the June 5 event. I showed up, ready to make the radio audiuence howl with laughter.
It was almost surreal to hear the show's host introduce me.
"Today we have CANCER SURVIVOR Karen Zipdrive to tell us a little about how she coped with the crisis of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Karen, tell us a little about what it's like to survive the frightening disease of cancer."
How's that as a lead in for a comedienne?
As the interview progressed, the host used the term 'cancer survivor' about 20 more times when referring to me. I almost felt sorry for myself by the time she was through reminding me of it, even though it was five years ago and took only four or five weeks from diagnosis to cure.
Anyway, as it turns out, I had underestimated the scope of Jenna's request.
What I thought would be a small gathering in the hospital parking lot has turned into a huge event, with information booths, carnival games and a luncheon. Hundreds of people are expected.
Now I gotta juggle writing shtick that's funny but not cavalier, seeing as how the audience will be filled with people still on chemotherapy and radiation, not knowing their ultimate fate.
This being a family event, I can't swear, talk about sex or get too graphic.
So I have to figure out how to discuss how fucked-up having poontang cancer was, without using my traditionally colorful verbs and adjectives.
And I better not wax eloquently about how much fun I had on the morphine drip or the two Percodan scrips they gave me after the surgery. People are so touchy about those of us who can find joy in a few simple doses of dangerous narcotics.
I guess all that leaves me to mine for humor is lime Jell-O and hormonal changes.
Holy cow, I'm in fuckin' trouble.