If you didn’t at least chuckle at the title of this post, you might want to skip over what comes next and not try to, uh, digest it.
So today at lunch a bunch of us went to a barbeque house, the kind where you order at the counter and they bring your food out to the table. When the server brought out my plate saw my face, she took a step back and said, “Honey, I saw your commercial on TV.” All my friends erupted with laughter. It only got worse as the nice lady described how healthy I look in the commercial and how sorry she feels for all I’ve gone through. It’s official. I have the most famous colon in the Piedmont of North Carolina.
I think I’ve written before about the diagnosis I received about eighteen months ago, of colon cancer. That diagnosis and the resulting treatment I received turned 2011 into “the year I’d most like to forget.” What got me through that difficult time — in addition to the support of family and friends and looking forward to resuming my work as a publisher — was a bit of advice I was given in one of the many “helpful brochures” I received about coping with my changing condition: “try to keep a sense of humor.” Well, when you’re being subjected to lots of examinations and procedures that range from embarrassing to humiliating, it really is important to find something in it to laugh about. The great thing about my kind of cancer is that it lends itself readily to lots of jokes, puns, word play and general scatological snickering—no sh— . . . uh, fooling.
And it was that irreverent humor that made my GI doctor ask if I’d be willing to do a public service commercial about the importance of having a colonoscopy. The commercial was supposed to run in February and March of 2012, which is colon cancer awareness month. For some reason they kept running the commercials all through the spring and summer. My son-in-law called me last August and said, “Hey, Mike, I just saw you on the Olympics.” That’s one way to get there I guess.
Then last week I got a call from my five-year-old grandson who said excitedly, “Grampy, you’re on the TV! Wait a minute.” There was a fumbling of the phone and next I heard the voice of his three-year-old brother exclaim, “Grampy! We saw you on television. Goodbye!” Yep, my notorious commercial was running again. So far this year I’ve appeared on the AFC wildcard playoff, various news broadcasts and game shows. I’m guessing this is a lead in to cancer awareness month again and they’re trying to get all they can out of my colon.
I always dreamed of being a celebrity, but not this way. Frankly, when it comes to my colon, I’m afraid I’m getting overexposed. You’d think I’d be flushed with pride, but this is beyond the scope of what I expected to reveal and little bit more than I think I can bare . . . uh, bear.
Getting to the bottom of this, I’d just like to say you all can help me out. If all of you, fifty years and older, will just go have a colonoscopy, they’ll stop running the stupid commercial. Then I won’t be so bitter about my end. –Mike Simpson