My kids, my hubby and Tim Minchin save the day.

Please read About and Checklist for The Cancer Club before you proceed. Makes sense. Really.

Let’ s go back a few days to “Ace of Base, Free Jazz, Oasis AND Radiohead”. 19 months of a mind-wrecking mixture of music from hell. And then, all of a sudden, it stopped. People have asked me how and why it has stopped. Wild guesses have been made, rancid rumours have arisen, conjectures have been conjured up, preternatural presumptions have been produced. For example that I have made my peace with cancer, or that I finally found Jesus, or that homeopathy works!!! Or that at long last I have found my way back to normality and have stopped putting myself in the centre of attention. Ups! Hail to thee, arseholes!

Sorry to disappoint! Far simpler! Life’s just so cool and my kids are simply getting older and growing taller and acquiring  knowledge EVERY DAY! Blasted little baskets. I’ve told them to stop growing. They are not getting any pocket money until they’re 18 because their clothes are so expensive. And they eat twice their weight every day. I expect them soon to outgrow us and to carry not only the shopping but also US  into the house.

And my hubby. He simply doesn’t take a thing I do seriously. And when I’m grumpy for no obvious reason he shoulders me and carries me through the supermarket until I am properly un-grumped. True story! Funny little fucker that he is! And my job of course is jollyfabtastic. Lovely pupils, compassionate and intelligent. Had four operations this year, all of which were not exactly walks in the park, but I so wanted to teach that I was back on my feet and back in the classroom within days. And of course Tim Minchin.

Watching his DVDs in long hospital nights and sometimes days has helped me to keep as mentally sane as is good for anyone. Because usually as a cancer patient you are either scared shitless or experience different shades of pain, both of which possess a high “mad-driviness”. And thus, in my blog, on top of inviting people with cancer and/or their friends or family, or simply anyone just insane enough to be willing to read what a German cancerista writes in English, I would love to introduce “The weekly Minchin“.

It could start with a reference to his song “You grew on me (like a tumour)” as the song of the week, or even a permanent anthem for my blog (for this song watch Tim Minchin and  the Heritage Orchestra on DVD). I regularly pee my pants when I watch “Prejudice”, Tim Minchin’s hymn of the league of redheads (watch his show “Ready for this?” on DVD, where you can find this song). Imagine you had cancer AND gingervitis! Wow. You could sooooo ask for pity. But then, if you lost all your ginger hair during chemo, would you also lose your “oh-my-gosh-poor-little-thing-he’s-a-carrot-top”-factor? Fuck! But they probably sell red wigs. This could offer valuable insights into the ginger world also to blondes or brunettes. Remember my post “Checklist for The Cancer Club”? If you’ve failed the cancer envy test you might want to go for some “ginger envy”?! Hair dressers could offer “ginger- to-go”- wigs. You could have your eyebrows dyed, or, if you’re very shy, your hairy nether regions for a start, before you have your coming-out as a trans-ginger.

I’m not sure about the laws. Are gingers aloud to marry non-gingers and vice versa? Is there a country there that openly disparages redheads and publically discriminates against them? Have the USA ever had a mixed-race female ginger-haired president? Is there a tinge of the ginge in Mrs Merkel’s fringe?  Is Tim Minchin a redhead at all, or is he a secret member of the ginger envy movement? Is there a conspiracy against gingerism that tries to undermine the genuine ginger community?

Whatever! Cancer treatment is excessively expensive and I would like to appeal to whoever is responsible for free “prescriptions of Minchin”, and an extra-large helping of him in moments of great fear or desperation. At least for me it has been and still is quite impossible NOT to laugh so hard when I watch  him and listen to him that I almost need medical attention. Good thing is, I’m usually in hospital when this happens, haha. Don’t mistake me for a weird fan. I AM as mentally sane and as intellectually independent as you can wish for.

Listening to Tim Minchin’s beautiful mixture of the finest and the foulest language has triggered something in my brain that makes the production of (foreign) language even easier for me than before. Actually, English has never come to me as naturally as it does these days. Probably because English is NOT my mother tongue, I find it more easy to juxtapose my most desperate, my most ridiculous and my most hilarious thoughts that have to do, at least marginally, with my illness and all of its consequences. Writing in English instead of in German probably helps me to keep a certain distance and to look in a rather bemused fashion, tongue-in-cheek style at my life. To mock my own experiences. To show cancer my finger. And it is not my index finger. Nor my thumb. Or my ring finger. Guess what, it is not my pinkie finger either.

And this is my sciency bit for this post: writing and talking about cancer and EVERYTHING that has to do with your life since diagnosis may help you to sort out your priorities in life. It may help you to get on with your life. And remember to give things a proper name. Don’t bite your tongue if you want to tell cancer to fuck off.  Do it in French, Italian, German, Spanish, whichever language suits you best, or has the nicest swear words, or the nicest-sounding curses.

Another advantage is that cursing, swearing, abusing in a foreign language is far more easy and fun than in one’s own. Give it a try. Say “verdammter Scheißdreck” (pronounce “fare-dum-tear shise-drek”), “Kackmist” (“cuck-mist”), “Schweinebacke” (“shvine-a-buck-a”). What do you think? Good, isn’t it!? I’ve always loved using foul language in highly academical contexts, as a rhetorical device, to oppose meaningless, upper class bullshit with even more meaningless, lower class crap.

My own background is not lower class, but underground class. I grew up in a big city ghetto. Up to this day I love using my upbringing as an excuse for occasionally employing underwhelmingly foul language. The fun thing is that kids tell me to watch my tongue sometimes, and they always justify their cheeky intervention in the same way: they say that they’ve been told it is not accepted to say “arse” or “fuck” or “shit”. My answer is usually along the lines: “Oh darling, see, I am grown-up and believe me, I am using all the words that there are.”

Isn’t it just fab sometimes, to be an adult and to get all the fun you were denied as a child!? And on top of this I feel soooooo clever, because I know all the ghetto stuff AND the academic stuff. Actually I am quite perfect. And, of course, the best thing about me is, that in addition to all my ingenuity,  I am not at all narcissistic or conceited, but modest to the extent of self-denial.

Yours, undemonstratively,

Maid Manu.


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