You don’t battle cancer. You don’t fight it. If cancer wants you it sneaks into your room at night and just takes you. It doesn’t care if you’re John Wayne or John McCain.
The “tough guy” narrative is seductive. It suggests we have control over our fate, that we can will cancer away. These are lies we tell ourselves. And for some patients that’s helpful. It gets them through the day. For them, it’s a useful tool. But courageousness is a standard that no sick person should feel like they have to meet.
My mother has seen more ghosts than anyone I know. I am not sure why, although I once read that there is some correlation between allergies and sensitivity to such things. Certainly my mother has worse allergies than anyone I’ve ever met, and a constitutional disinclination to seek treatment. Also, the barriers between her emotional states have always seemed unusually porous—she can switch from anger to sadness to laughter to unfettered generosity with dizzying speed and total commitment—and maybe that applies to the barriers between the living and spirit realms, too.
In his new book, Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul, Moss offers a wrenching, exhaustive chronicle of the “hyper-gentrification” of New York — and the relentless monotony of chain stores and luxury high-rises that continues to suffocate small businesses and displace the poor, working-class, immigrant, and ethnic communities and artists, eccentrics, and bohemians who have made the city what it is. Vanishing New York is an urban-activist polemic in the tradition of Jane Jacobs’s Death and Life of Great American Cities: Every page is charged with Moss’s deep love of New York. It is both a vital and an unequivocally depressing read.
The twist here? The protagonist is very much human. Comes from our world, and reacts in a believable (if simple) way to being dropped into a universe where different physical laws apply. He experiences fear and anxiety and triumph. He befriends a cow and some sheep. He fights for his life and, by the end of things, emerges wiser and better prepared for moving on. It is the Hero's Journey, Pocket Edition. A one-man Illiad.
And it even has some zombies in it. Because it just wouldn't be a Max Brooks book without them.
In the past, when guests yelled, “Andy’s coming!” the “Toy Story” characters would supposedly go lifeless and drop to the ground. When asked about this, Hopkins said “We would joke about it off-set… in training they were adamant about us never going down to the ground in costume when onstage. So, even if a guest had done it, we probably wouldn’t have played along. Plus, if Buzz had gone down, he’d have a heck of a time getting back up in that costume.”