Register Wednesday | September 19 | 2018

When Bare Minimum is More Than Enough

I was at a black tie fundraising event tonight. They were raising money for cancer patients, something I find more than worthwhile, but that’s also because I take it personally. This group is called “Look good, Feel better,” and it’s sponsored by the beauty industry in New York City. The idea is simple, superficial, and wonderful. It acknowledges our basic human vanity, and unashamedly aids those suffering through chemo and the ill effects it causes.People, after all, want to look good. We feel better when we look better, or at least when we think we are on our game. This organization gives people on chemo beauty supplies and teaches them how to properly apply them. It sounds simple, and it is. The wonderful thing that it does, to my mind, is to briefly return dignity to those who’ve had it stripped from them.And that’s essentially what cancer does. I saw it do this to someone I loved dearly, rob her of every epidermal layer of recognizable spark and humanity we had all grown to know in her. It is those stolen memories I think we all cherish now, along with the far deeper dignity she showed as she left.I thought of her a lot tonight. I thought of her as I thought that if there’s ever been anything that God owes me an explanation for, over famine and war and AIDS and assholes and iniquity, it will have to be cancer. If there’s a spiritual court of law that one day will hold God accountable for purported crimes against humanity, the key bit of evidence for the defense will be cancer.I lost my adopted mother to it. Two of my best friends lost their mothers to it. My ex-girlfriend struggled and survived it. And I resent it because of these things. I take them personally.I couldn’t tell you a single conversation I had tonight. It was an odd gathering of folks. But it still made me feel better. Just about things in general.Because, in spite of the proximity of cancer to my life, the most I ever really do to help is buy stamps for extra money, with the proceeds going to cancer charity. Click a website that donates money to breast cancer research based on the number of people who’ve visited. Admire the exploits of Lance Armstrong. And think daily about Mom M and who she was and what she meant to me.Embarrassingly enough, that’s about the extent of it.At least other people are out there, superficially enhancing the comfort of those who are sick with this most sick of a joke. And I’m sure to the people who temporarily regain their confidence, that’s more than enough for them.