You might not be special

So I was reading an article by Cecily Strong the other day. Word of warning, it’s raw and amazing. If you’re not sitting somewhere where you feel comfortable openly weeping, save it for later. I’d say this is some of the stupid shit that made me cry, but it’s far from stupid. It’s heartfelt and written in a way that totally puts you in her brain.

Anyway, the article got me to thinking. If you haven’t been in a place to read it yet, it’s about her cousin’s diagnosis and death from brain cancer, tied in with the pandemic. I read it during lunch, trying to weep as quietly as possible, then got myself together and went back to work. We shut down all of the production machines a week early because we’re getting ready to switch to new software on 1/3 and need to have everything organized, inventoried, and ready to go. This is a company founded in the 1950s that’s been operating off Windows XP and an Access 97 database since back when those were new technology. Now we’re going to web and iPad-based software. So it’s… a lot.

On this particular day, I’m reprinting labels for containers. Some of the labels are on products made in 1999. Two thousand zero zero party over oops, out of time. I have to find a label that looks like crap or has a bar code in the wrong space, take the label out of the package, take a picture of the label, put the label back in the package and the package away, then go to a computer, fire up the Access 97 database, look up the picture of the label, type in the ID number, make sure the information is correct and the label is set up in the right direction (landscape for metal bins, portrait for plastic bins. Holy shit, I just realized they both start with “p.”), print the new label, affix it to a 3″x5″ index card, go back to wherever the bin is, and swap out the labels.

So, mostly mindless work. The kind of work that lets my brain wander and/or churn along on something I’ve been thinking about. Like cancer, death, and why me.

Now, this isn’t the shirt-rending, fists-to-the-sky-in-the-rain kind of “WHY MEEEEE?” Instead this is the “Why did I make it when so many haven’t?” kind of “Why me?” If you ask anyone else who’s survived something like this, they’ve probably had this exact thought some number of times. Especially if they survived despite a grim prognosis. Like a stage 4 cancer that didn’t want to go away with chemo. Hello there.

You’ll read these stories of people who haven’t made it and they had so much going for them. So much potential wasted by getting this stupid disease. And yet somehow their death still made waves in the world. A relative decided to devote themselves to curing that kind of cancer so no one else would lose a loved one. A friend who was on the verge of making it writes a heartfelt song that shoots them to fame. A roommate pours their pain into their art and becomes huge for showing real emotion in their work.

I have a current working theory: when I was going through cancer, there was no one in my circle of influence who was perched on the verge of their own greatness. Since my death wouldn’t inspire anyone to reach greater heights in their art, profession, or service to mankind, there was no reason for me to die, so I got a free pass. So yes, if you knew me in the mid-to-early 2000, you had already peaked back then. Even me dying wouldn’t have made you a big thing. Fate says so.

Aside from pointing you toward Cecily’s great article and dissing all five of the people in my life, I’m writing this post as a warning. If you get diagnosed with any kind of disease that has death as a possible outcome, look at your friends and family. Any artists? Songwriters? Novelists? Potential med students or creators of international charities? DITCH THEM IF YOU WANT TO LIVE!

Astro’s Back… Tell a Friend

Okay, I’m back. I’ve been letting the blog percolate in my mind for awhile, trying to decide what direction to take it now.

  • I could go the daily life route, but I don’t really have a lot of different things going on in my life and that would get old quick.
  • Thanks to good ol’ depression, I’ve stopped almost all of my hobbies, so that cuts down on content quite a bit. Everyone out here seems to have some degree of depression, so there wouldn’t be much light I could shed on that.
  • According to my Middle-Aged CIS White Guy ID card, I’m apparently supposed to spend a large amount of time telling people how to live their lives, but I’ll save that for screaming at the neighborhood children from my porch. Just kidding – we don’t have a porch.
  • I could fill the space with helpful how-tos about things I know how to do, but I usually give people too much credit to think that anyone needs to hear me explain how to do something. Oh shit, they’re going to revoke my Middle-Aged CIS White Guy ID card, aren’t they?
  • I could somehow encapsulate all of those ideas into letting you follow along with a Great Life Journey.

I’ve decided to go with option… fuck, I used bullet points instead of numbers. That last one – I’m going with the last one.

Yeah, it seems like a cop-out of sorts, giving myself the freedom to write about anything, but I’m thinking more about the focus than anything. The old days of Moondoggie were mostly me talking to imaginary internet people about absolutely random shit. Once I was diagnosed with cancer, it all evolved into Cancer is My Bitch, where my cancer journey was the guiding focus. I toyed with other sites later, Lethological to track the difficulties I was having with chemobrain and From Couch to Coach to track my journey to becoming a CrossFit coach, but neither really hooked me enough to solidify what I was doing there. The ADD doesn’t help much either, since it’s easy to get distracted by the new shiny and forget about something for a few days. Or weeks. Okay, fine. Years.

I took everything offline for awhile during a recent job hunt, and now it’s two years later and I’ve realized I’ve missed writing. My return to my neglected sites coincides with the next big steps in a medical journey, so what better time to shift gears?

For the couple of people were CiMB readers or have somehow been old school Moondoggie followers in one form or another, it’s not a cancer thing. At least all of my doctors tell me that all of these symptoms I’ve been having lately aren’t cancer things, even though the only time I’ve had them in the past was the last time doctors were telling me I didn’t have cancer. Right up until, you know, I did.

While I do have new and spectacular health issues to concern myself with, this isn’t that post. Not yet. It’s still brewing. Part of me is waiting for it to be Official and part of me is just wanting the Big Dramatic Reveal like the fucking drama queen that part of me is. You know how I feel about those types of people, so you can imagine how much I dislike that little part of me.

Says the guy writing all of his problems on the internet to a group of strangers and acquaintances.

But that’s the trick to this blog. I’ve scrolled back through some of my old posts and it’s like I’m reading someone else’s writing. And while this author sometimes just won’t get to the fucking POINT, I still like the things he has to say and he still makes me laugh. Or smile. Or tear up.

We really need a new word for that, by the way. Just when writing, so you know if there are tears or if there are tears. And if you immediately read those as two different words, you’re mind kind of people. Have a seat.

Anyway, I’ve decided my primary audience is Future Me. I was going to say “from this point forward,” but let’s be honest, it always has been. I can’t get myself to sit down with a diary and write things out, but I have noooo problem with typing it on the Internet for everyone to see. Well, not everything, but you know. Present Me likes the way Past Me writes, even if Past Me is the asshole who keeps pushing all of his work and worries on to me. By the way, sorry about that, Future Me.

I need a new word for “anyway” too, because I was about to start this paragraph with it and realized that’s how I started the last paragraph and I heard my former English teachers screaming from their… homes? Graves? Hospital beds? I mean, I’m kind of old now, so who knows where they are.

Anyway, (hah) I finally got back to directing my browser at the ol’ site and felt I needed to do something to celebrate. I uploaded the new header graphic (if this is being read Years in the Future, it’s the one I made from my new Moondoggie logo) and if I’m on the site anyway, I might as well start typing a bunch of semi-random words that have been percolating in my head for the last few years. In about ten minutes, Pro Motocross kicks off in Budd’s Creek Maryland, so I’m going to wrap this up for now and who knows, maybe I’ll be back here four hours from then.

Or maybe four years. I’m kooky like that.

Post-posting edit. I just made the mistake of looking at the site on an iPhone and discovered my graphic does NOT scale one little bit. And the race is starting right now, so I’ll have this in the back of my mind for the next four hours. Fuuuuuuuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.

I’m not doing it anymore

That is, not doing the thing I was referencing in the last post, FIVE MONTHS AGO. Almost SIX. Oy vey.

The good news (sorta) is, I’m putting together a daily schedule for myself to try to get my life in order and under control and being electronically social is one of the things that’s going to have its own daily block of time. Who knows? Maybe I’ll start answering emails now!

The New Experiment Begins

So I was writing this long diatribe about perfectionism and realized I might scare off a lot of people when my first post winds up being a novella. So instead, I’m giving it its own little area in the “About” section. Or maybe somewhere else. I haven’t quite decided yet. I’m trying to fly by the seat of my pants a little more with this site, so I’m runnin’ fast and loose baby!

Well, for me, anyway.
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