The Absurd Epistolary Adventures of the Astonishing FartMan chronicles the amusing escapades
of the lovable, stinky, and obnoxious Cape & Tights Super Hero, and his maudlin Alter Ego, W____,
as they learn to cope with Stage IV colon cancer, each other, and their annoying fellow human beings.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Hapless Tragi-Comic Fiasco of a Farce

Posted recently as a comment on ZoomberGirl's cancer blog.
TheAstonishingFartMan) wrote:

Hey ZoomberGirl,

I used to think that when the chemo side effects were wreaking havoc on my body, it meant the chemo was really working. But I've learned that "the studies show" that there's no correlation between how well the chemo is working and how badly it makes us feel.

So you really are a lucky one to be dancing and b-balling your way through this stuff without too much of the usual chemo misery. I'm jealous.

But now that I have listened to you brag about how impervious you are to the devil juice known as
FOLFOX, to earn my absolution you will have to indulge me as I philosophize a little in my silly ever-so-grandiloquent way:

We smart lawyers recollect the schoolboy’s quintessential syllogism, with its major premise, minor premise, and conclusion:
“All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.”

But now I want to plead with fate: Is it really necessary that, into that bone dry logic, I must someday , perhaps someday soon, substitute my very own dear self to take the place of Socrates?
“All men are mortal. I am a man. Therefore, I am mortal.”

The dry logic is irrefutable, but I don’t have to accept it, do I?

Well, yes, I do have to accept it. We all have to accept it, whether we like it or not. We are human, and that means we are mortal—by definition.

But, notwithstanding the power of that inexorable piece of logic, perhaps we should think about these things just as “poetically” and “spiritually,” as we do “logically.”
Whatever might be our preferred thinking process, whether poetical or logical, I think the effort of trying to live as fully as possible (whatever that means) while at the same time trying to accept that universal human characteristic—our mortality—is something we all, both the sick and the supposedly healthy, should spend some good time thinking about.

Yet, unless we are one of the few who are fortunate enough to be looking the wrong way while crossing the street in front of a dump truck, I expect that however much we might try, emotionally and otherwise, to prepare ourselves in advance, when our time seems near (whenever that might be), we each will probably find that there are still plenty of emotional, spiritual, and simply mundane practical matters to deal with, many, many, things that we just cannot anticipate or understand until we are facing the actual hard-pressing reality.
Isn’t that just the way life is? That we can’t quite know precisely in advance what any experience will be like until we actually have that experience. Although at times I had thought about what things must be like for someone with a life-threatening illness, I surely had no idea what living with a serious illness was like until I actually had to live with this serious illness, this Stage IV Colon Cancer with Liver Mets.

So now, with my serious illness, I want to try to find a way to live each day as fully, yet normally, as possible for as long as that seems to be possible. But then I also have to expect, and try to accept, that even near the end of my days, whenever that might be, the rest of the world will not pause long to favor me with the full-time white glove concierge treatment I deserve. Even at the end of my days, I will probably have to muddle and struggle through some difficult, confusing, or frustrating, but mundane, issues (money issues, scheduling issues, insurance issues, medical bureaucracy issues, transportation issues, nutrition issues, crazy brother-in-law issues, bathroom issues) that will sometimes transform my bold attempt to “live each day fully” into a hapless tragi-comic fiasco of a farce.

So I expect it to be the usual business, the business of trying clumsily or gracefully, gratefully or grudgingly, to gather from the tangled vines of the painful, the banal, and the mundane, into the spindly wicker-basket of my soul, a little harvest of the beautiful, the sublime, and the meaningful, or if not that, at least a modest serving of the humorous, the hilarious, and the downright silly.
For us puny humans, if you see things the way I do, all of life seems to be pretty much a hapless fiasco of a farce. Yet it is, according to my ridiculous poetical beliefs, a fiasco of a farce that is every moment presenting possibilities of love and beauty and goodness that are oftentimes right there in front of us, free for the taking, and even better, free for the giving.

For us humans, so fragile and finite in this earthly form, it seems there’s nothing ever perfect, neither a perfect life nor a perfect death. Still we should give ourselves good credit, because we deserve good credit, for trying to do the best we can.

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