Posted by: jeanne | June 25, 2008

sometimes it’s hard to sleep

the downstairs tenant is having a construction party tonight – they’re making a kissing booth as a promotion for her pin-up business (all very tastefully trashy), for some gig they’re doing tomorrow to celebrate their 2nd year in business. makeup, hair, photo shoots, the glamor business. she and a few friends are out there constructing. in the alley between the houses, right beneath our bedroom.

so we simply moved the whole party into the spare bedroom, where we normally watch movies. dog on the bed, dog under the bed, me, jim, schyler, smudge. they’re all in there now, and i’m out in the computer room in the back hall, and it’s getting late in the evening, and they’re making noise on one end of the hosue and my people are sleeping peacefully in the room behind the door i’m sitting here on the computer guarding from bother.

at least, it feels like a holy mission to me. but really it’s that i can’t get comfortable, the whole restless leg thing, which i remember was never a syndrome at all until they’d developed a narcotic for it, which i won’t take, because i don’t trust prescription drugs or the companies they came from (that’s another blog)

where was i? so i’m up. the time of night when your worst fears take on new dimensions. but i’m not in that kind of mood right now, so never mind.

i’ve been working on a breast cancer joke. now, these are difficult to come up with, because nobody thinks breast cancer is funny.

you’re a vicitim, first thing, and everybody feels sorry for you. it’s like your’e missing some other body part, an arm or leg, half your head, and people don’t quite meet your eyes they’re so sorry.

you are forced to hide it by wearing a prosthetic device or getting jellied bags of plastic stuffed under your skin, or losing half your abdominal strength to fill out a skin pouch that never quite matches what they’ve taken away.

and besides, you’re an ex woman now that you’ve had such a vital part of your sexuality ripped from your chest. which is totally untrue, i’m here to tell you. it’s just the general expectation.

besides which, you’re going to die now, because you have cancer, and no matter what they say about being in remission and being cancer-free, once you develop cancer in your body, you’ve got cancer in your body. it’s a little bitty cell, and you’ve got loads of cancer cells running around in your body, i don’t care who you are. everybody’s got them, just waiting to be triggered.

cancer-free or in remission, you’re just waiting for the next musical set of your dance with cancer.

it’s too bleak to think about.

which is why nobody has any breast cancer jokes. i wonder if there are more just plain cancer jokes, or is this a taboo in our culture? what with the rising rates of cancer worldwide, caused in my opinion by all the chemicals in our food, air, water, and ground, plus a frightening dose of electromagnetic exposure – you’d think cancer would be something we’d all just kind of smile shyly and nod our heads about. yeah, me too.

well, it will be soon. so, let’s have something we can laugh about. not laugh with world-weary amusement, like that song dad used to play at night, peggy lee. not laughing nervously and looking away, but really letting loose and shaking the house guffawimg.

anyway, i’ve been working out this joke. it’s got to do with having only one breast. the idea is that i’m going out for the brazilian olympic archery team, and have cut off a breast to qualify.

i’ve tried this joke several ways, but basically nobody knows anything about the amazons, fierce tribe of warrior women who kicked the shit out of the ancient greeks. they cut off their right breast so they could shoot their bows and arrows with more efficiency.

nobody’s heard of the amazons? why has it always been an important reference for me?

anyway, this time, i have to confess something awful here, which i’ve probably mentioned casually earlier, but the last time i had a mammogram they didn’t have gowns anymore, and no paper shirts you leave open at the front, but they had these cute little cape things with pink ribbons all over it. and it was a half-circle, and easy as hell to make, and i just had to copy it, so after my mammogram, i put my shirt on over it, and walked out.

i stole a mammography cape.

anyway, i came home and have started designing clothing based on the thing. but i got a great idea. it’s really comfortable to wear, so i’ve been wearing it, and nobody notices. and i’ve been thinking about my joke. and i realized that i had some iron-on transfer paper, and pretty soon i was looking thru my character map trying to find exactly the right font. i wanted something sharp and poky, something that evoked knives. i forget what i ended up with, something called viner hand.

i wrote on the back in big letters – amazon

i wrote on the right breast – brazilian archery team – and put a set of olympic rings in pink above it.

i thought it looked cool. i wore it out that night, and most people never noticed anything unusual (i swear some of them have never noticed that i’m missing a breast).

i did get a chance to talk about having breast cancer while waiting in line for the bathroom during the break, and one woman admitted that she’d lost hers, and she was so uncomfortable talking about it, and so brave for making herself speak up, and i was so happy to see her pushing past her discomfort to share something with me. it was really cool. i’ll talk to her next week.



  1. Honest to God.

    You are so funny. I started laughing at the restless leg but when I got to the mammogram top and you walking out and then wearing it and nobody noticing. Holy shit. Too funny.

    Seriously you had me in tears.

    Thank you thank you thank you Jeanne.

    Love Renee

  2. Me again.

    I just had to re-read and noticed the top with the pink ribbons. Are you serious no one noticed. Hillarious.

    Love Renee

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