Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Good Cancer

The bass player for our old-men-with-day-jobs band "The Turbeaux Dogs", (named after a Louisiana micro-brew) recently gave a benefit concert for the bass player who underwent chemo and radiation last summer and into the fall for throat cancer, a good cancer I think.

C. is a by-the-book chain smoker, puffing on them ciggies non-stop every five minutes or so for bladdity blah blah years,

I kept in touch with C. throughout his treatments (which were done in the U.S.) and not only was it inconvenient living with his parents who are both hard of hearing and blast their TV at full volume 18 hours a day, the chemo made him puke a lot and the radiation smarted like all get out. He said it made all food taste like cardboard.

Now. The bills have come in. The co-pay bills.

His co-pays could buy him a veddy nice high end British town car or a low end DYI fixer upper in the New Orleans By-Water.

C.? Well. Let's say his is liked. Let's go so far as to say he is well liked. So we organized a benefit concert for him once he got back to town and back on his feet. It was a sell-out show.

We passed out donation boxes. Raffled off all kinds of niceness from dinners to bottles of top shelf booze, an IPod, a lap top. "Music Fights Back" the flyers and laminated posters read.

All-in-all we might have put a noticeable dent in his out-of-pocket expenses.

His Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan was a good news day for him. No more cancer. For now. He's supposed to have a PET scan every three-to-six months and for the next few years in his foreseeable, tenuous future.

After the performances, when it came time for C. to take to the stage to collect the donations, he was sitting at a table with me out back and some of his friends from his softball team, every one doing shots of Jaeger while C. chain smoked his Marlboros. When the Emcee found us, he told C. it was time to come one stage and collect his charity. He flicked his butt and said, "Be right back." Best natural laugh I've had in a long time. Remission? Guess it means to him more opiate derivatives, a bad news to the good news, "You've got throat cancer. Again. Treatments begin Thursday. . .so I'm going to write you a 'script. . ."

Still. We had fun. The band played some worn out standards which meant no rehearsal time. Anyway, here's part of that unrehearsed show, un-sound checked, and un-sober. C.? Well, he's seated far right, the one with the seen and done-it-all gravelly voice, or what's left of his voice.

C.'s voice giving out on the ooooohs leaving me to bellow in the breeze while trying to finger some naughty chords.


Blogger booda baby said...

Ahhh. Sweet. It's beautiful to read of a man who'll live how he lives while he's alive. Hard for the new breed of 'manage yourself into perfection' people, I'm sure, but you start sanitizing and you end up sanitized.

(Nice writing, too! Have you found your voice now that C's lost some of his? NOT suggesting there was a trade off, just a matter of timing.

I LOVE Aint Goin' Nowhere. It's like The Dead only way better because ... it is.)

5:04 AM  
Blogger Mimi's Pa said...

Booda, reminds me a bit of John Phillips (Mamas and the Papas)--a hardcore alkie who needed and got a liver transplant then showed up early one morning completely snockered for an interview on Howard Stern. Phillip's philosophy was that it is after all a new liver and has more mileage on it than the old broke down one. I don't smoke.Never have. So who am I to judge? Most be pretty powerful voodoo. Thanks for the compliment. I never play a song the same way twice--it's working without a net, but that's where I got off on it. Forgetting lines. Slipping out of key then furtively sneaking back into key like, oh, I meant to do that.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Mimi's Pa said...

Booda:"Have you found your voice now that C's lost some of his?" Oh. Oooooh! Not vocal voice. But "Voice". Well, made the doc take me off the elephant tranquilizing doses of Fuggetal. We shall see.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A good cancer, I think." I know your intentions were good, but that's something only the not-yet-diagnosed would say.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Mimi's Pa said...

Anonymous--I should be taken to task for not quoting--some movie I saw recently, probably had Julia Roberts in it. Don't know if it's oxymoronic irony or ironic oxymoron

9:08 AM  

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