“GIMME YOUR LUNCH MONEY!” it says, pinning us up against a wall.
“Uh, Cancer,” we say. “We’re not in elementary school anymore. We put our lunches on our cards.”
“Ah,” Cancer answers. “Then GIMME YOUR BOOBS!”
We’re tired of this bullying behavior. It’s time for retribution, Revenge of the Nerds style. Because seriously, Cancer, you can take our boobs. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get the last laugh.
Take Sara Jane Adair, for example. Sara lived with cancer for 13 years, and by all accounts she really lived through the experience. Those who knew her described her as vivacious, feisty, strong–and always funny.
While Sara was undergoing chemotherapy, Michael Johnson, her brother and a journalist in London, began drawing funny cartoons and sending them to her. On his Web site, Johnson says, “When I realized how much my efforts lifted her spirits I found myself digging deeper into a strange world of roundish shapes.”
The resulting book, 101 Uses for an Empty Bra, is a hilarious tribute to the experience that so many women go through after their mastectomies. It’s available online at emptybra.com, along with sneak-peek images of cartoons contained within the book, and a few minutes on the site will have you laughing until you cry. The images are hysterical. Bras are converted into “Ken and Barbie Bumbershoots”, “Surgeon Stranglers”, and, my favorite, a “Cantilevered Dental Prosthesis for Extreme Underbite”. The book makes a perfect gift for anyone with a slightly devilish sense of humor and deep sensitivity to the experience of women living with cancer.
On the site, Johnson remembers his sister as a wife, mother, sister, calligrapher, and flautist. He notes that nearly 700 people attended her funeral in Denver in 2007, drawn to her by her “irrepressible” sense of humor.
Up yours, Cancer. You never stole her smile.
Thanks to Molly Johnson for submitting the story of her Auntie Sara. You can share the stories of the amazing women you know who’ve defied breast cancer by sending us their stories at ofscarsproject (at) gmail (dot) com.