Monday, 6 October 2008

Part Four - Hug a Hodgkin's

Cancer has quite a bad reputation. That’s a given. As far as unfavourable media coverage goes I’d suggest it couldn’t really be outdone unless Gary Glitter was photographed browsing a Qur’an in a paedophile-exclusive NHS hospital ward whilst wearing a hat with ‘I Did Princess Diana’ emblazoned in bold lettering on the front of it. However, aren’t we always taught to listen to both sides of the story before coming to a balanced conclusion, just like our national media outlets? Could it be that cancer has been unfairly represented since the dawn of time? Is it now finally the time for one man to stand up and defend cancer’s corner armed only with a laptop and steely determination? No, not really, is the answer to that. Cancer is quite obviously rubbish. But I’m dangerously bored and I couldn’t think of anything else to write about, so I’ll give it a whack.

First of all, it’s true to say that cancer brings out an unprecedented level of kindness in people. This is an odd paradox, it’s very much like a little happiness fairy that spreads kind words and selfless acts whilst also being a massive goblin that shits all over peoples’ lives. One such act of kindness was displayed by the nice people at Perth Concert Hall. My mother phoned them up around this time last month enquiring as to whether there were still tickets to see Dylan Moran and, unfortunately, there were not. This is where having cancer can become a towering advantage over you healthy idiots, the c-word had barely left her mouth and she was in the possession of two front-row VIP hospitality tickets. The only thing that worries me slightly about this is that I could be expected to meet him before the show, much like a crippled child at a McFly concert. This worries me because, first of all, they’ll probably think I’m lying because I look perfectly healthy. They’ll surely be expecting a bald, skeletal husk of a man on his big day out from hospital. Also, I have literally nothing to say to him. It would be an altogether embarrassing episode for both of us, with our awkward smiles probably being immortalised in film by the photographers of the Perthshire Advertiser under some form of heart-warming headline - ‘Cancer Patient Meets Idol’. I don’t even like him that much. Anyway, this act of generosity did sinisterly open my eyes to ways in which cancer could be advantageous but, in the words of Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. It must only be used when all other possible avenues have been covered, or I can’t be bothered waiting in a line or something. I’m just hoping old man McCartney announces his tour before the bastards at the hospital cure me, thus stealing my magical powers.

Another thing that enters my head when considering the benefits of cancer is quite literally that, the financial benefits. My initial estimate of £150 a week unfortunately turned out to be a bit enthusiastic, I’m actually receiving a third of this amount. I don’t care too much about this, with my meagre weekly alcohol limit I have very little to spend money on, but there is one annoying aspect to it. I was told I could receive two types of benefit, one being income support and another being incapacity benefit. Predictably, I was refused the incapacity benefit meaning I’ll just have income support on my permanent government record with no indication that this was a medical necessity. I’ll just look like a massive lazy idiot who took a year out of Uni to have a laugh at the expense of the taxpayer. On top of this, it also ruined my extensive plans to spend incapacity benefits in a number of ironic ways - my first purchase was going to be a Nintendo Wii complete with an elaborate dance mat system, but this is now merely a pipe dream. It’s safe to say that this is yet another example of our country truly going to the dogs. What is it coming to when a man who’s never paid a single penny towards taxes can’t get a free Nintendo Wii from the government, complete with dance mat accessory? There is no doubt that the money I would have been getting will be spent on tap dancing lessons for asylum seekers, no doubt whatsoever. However, the income support will help towards reducing my spectacular overdraft from last year whilst also saving me from the perils of becoming a 15 year old boy again. There would have been few less enjoyable things throughout this entire ordeal than having to ask my mother for money any time I wanted to indulge in a Midouri and lemonade.

On top of such materialistic advantages, I’m also experiencing an exponential growth in my popularity at the moment. A quick overview can be given through the fact that, according to my bill, I sent 1372 texts last month. Admittedly though, half of this amount is probably down to my tedious insistence upon using full punctuation and spelling in each and every text I send. But 934 people have now viewed my Bebo page in the month and a half since I was diagnosed, breaking all previous records by about 300%. I don’t think it would be too much of an exaggeration to say that I’m the local area’s biggest celebrity since Frankie Poullain of The Darkness. As word continues to spread, many people who slipped off of my radar many years ago have got in touch. Some cynics may say this is just to feed off of my new found fame, but it’s been nice to hear from such people.

So there you have it, if you get cancer you become popular and get free money and stuff. It’s almost the perfect lifestyle choice. Following on from last week’s blasphemous entry, I think a post defending cancer was just the thing that this ever-expanding series needed to give it back its family-friendly vibe. Tune in next week to find out why I think Nelson Mandela should be hanged. Incidentally, I’m going to be making my homecoming to Glasgow during the week at some point. Let me know if you want to witness the spectacle of a man callously ignoring medical advice with potentially spectacular results.

I should point out that that was a joke before someone grasses me up to my mum.

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