#91: Playing the Breast Cancer Awareness Game


“Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket”
is a post I’ve read now a half dozen times
by both men and women
that is supposedly part of a game being played
on the social media
to raise awareness for breast cancer.
The boob thing is among other random and bizarrely
uncharacteristic quips to choose from,
many having nothing to do with boobs,
such as, damn diarrhea, or, anyone
have a tampon, or, I decided to stop wearing
underwear, or, I’m sick of hiding it: I’m gay,
or, my personal favorite, why is no one
ever around when I’m horny.
Now, the rules of the game seem to be
that when someone likes or comments on such a
ridiculous post, they are then asked to make
a similar ridiculous post and it goes on and on.
This is supposed to raise awareness
for breast cancer. How it does this,
however, remains a mystery.
I doubt not the good intentions
of all those who claim to have used
their boobs in such a way,
but my awareness of breast cancer
has been made quite vivid of late
(without the aid of a silly internet game)
as I’ve watched my love go through a
lumpectomy, a sentinel node biopsy,
a barrage of tests, appointment after
appointment with the primary care doctor,
the surgeon, the oncologist, the radiologist,
nurse upon nurse upon nurse, and one
more lumpectomy scheduled in for good measure,
and none of this takes into account
the real bitch about breast cancer,
the fear, the inevitable and often
early taking stock, the coming to terms
with one’s mortality. This is how our
awareness has been raised, and might
perhaps offer a different model for
the consciousness raising of others
truly interested in the endeavor,
the way many of our dearest friends have done it:
get to know a survivor, take care of those
in the throes, cook a meal, run a relay,
sing a song, write a poem.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

7 thoughts on “#91: Playing the Breast Cancer Awareness Game

  1. Thank you, Michael. It’s not as if every person in the universe does not personally know a survivor. Love to you and Renee. When is her second lumpectomy? Mine (first) is next Tuesday, April Fool’s Day.

    1. Take care, Faith. René’s first experience was nowhere near as terrible as she imagined it would be, if that helps. Recent news: no cancer in the lymph nodes and the MRI was clear. Still going in for the second lumpectomy, though. No date yet. The next week or two. Love you, Faith.

  2. I fear that the “breast cancer awareness” thing on that posting game was just a BS pitch to encourage people to participate.
    …which was another reason why my participation was in a purely sarcastic way. I agree; breast cancer is no laughing matter.

  3. Michael this is your cousin Nick’s wife it’s been a long time so I thought I would remind you who I am. I just found out about Renee’ last night in fact I have not even told Nick yet. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you. I just lost my Mom last week to stage 4 cancer so I know it’s not to be taken lightly. I appreciate you doing what you can to let people know what they can do for breast cancer awareness that does not involve word games. This is serious and has touched every one in some way. Cancer sucks! We’ll be thinking of Renee’, you and your family. God bless, Stacy Jarmer

    1. Hey Stacy, thank you so much for this. So sorry to hear about your mom. René and I both have discovered how hard it is to lose a parent–I can only imagine how much more difficult to lose them to cancer. We are lucky in so many ways. No cancer in the lymph nodes; nothing in the most recent MRI. A second surgery is needed to take care of “the margins.” That happens Monday. Thanks again for your good thoughts and for visiting my humble blog site. Tell Cousin Nick hello!


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