Posted by: dougery | September 20, 2012

It Is Dangerous to Know Me

Been kind of a lull here at yee olde blogworks. For that I sincerely apologize. There’s a reason, or in this case, several. This summer has contained a great many cool awesome things. It has also been the summer where the edges of my artificially stable world have begun to fray and unravel.

You see I grew up with plenty of bad shit going on. There is no need to regurgitate it in this space. Suffice to say that growing up was difficult up until about the middle of my undergraduate days at Syracuse. By this point I came to accept a lot of terrible things as normal, but also met some great people who improved my life and I began to catch  a few breaks. The bad shit ebbed. A kind of protective bubble enveloped me and mine. My life got better and better and in a lot of ways continues to get better to this very day. But this August has proven to me that the bad shit never actually goes anywhere, that the bad shit is immortal. The bad shit is always there and the more cool and awesome people I get to know, the more the bad shit is able to rob them from me. And if not rob outright, then eat away at their happiness and quality of life. Which is just as bad.

So here’s my parade of August/early September awful. I’m truly sorry for dumping all of this on you like this but I think I need to let it all out. I’ll keep this as anonymous as I can. I’ll also keep this brief because for a great many of these things I could go on about for YEARS. There’s also the fact that I am omitting and forgetting tons of other awful shit. PLEASE do not take it the wrong way.

My grandfather passed away. He was sick with cancer for some time, and in many ways his death is a mercy. He is one of the kindest, most soft spoken, best men there ever was. Going home for the wake and spending time with my mother, my aunts and uncles, my grandmother and seeing them mourn… I was thoroughly unprepared for the void their sorrow carved inside of me. Which is to say a world without my grandfather makes me hurt, but a world where your father is suddenly gone, a world where your spouse of 65 years is suddenly gone–there is no frame of reference for this. I cannot fathom… i just can’t, my mind won’t let me.

My cousin K passed away extremely suddenly. She had been living with health complications but this caught everyone by surprise. It happened days before grandfather’s passing. The woefully insufficient metaphor here would be to liken my grandfather and cousin’s passings to that of a sparring boxer’s plight. The boxer is aware of his opponent’s fierce right fist. Is waiting and prepared for it. Then out of nowhere a vicious left hook leaves him staggering before the right eventually does fall.

A college friend’s significant other is hospitalized after a cardiac event. Completely out of nowhere. They are well on their way back to full health.

A friend’s spouse is tested for cancer after feeling ill. This specific kind of cancer runs in their family. Tests have tentatively come back negative.

A college friend’s significant other fractures their vertebrae in an accident. They are stable and on the mend.

A friend’s ex passed.

A college friend is rushed in for emergency surgery just days ago.

A graduate school friend has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. They are being treated with radioactive material which prevents them from being close to those they care about.

All of these friends of mine live healthy, active lives and are in their late 20s or early 30s.

And lastly, though it may appear cheap or someone out of proportion when listed against the lives of my friends and family, my cat Barry fell suddenly ill in August. His pupil looked wonky one morning and he was sluggish. We feared a concussion. He had tests and was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. 3 to 6 months to live.

In life Barry was a diabolical, super-intelligent little beast with designs all his own. His sickness was no different. As greedy as he himself was around corn, pork loins, french bread, potted plants, basically anything that smelled good and made him want to eat, his cancer was just as greedy. He wasted away in weeks and told us when it was time to go.

It feels weird writing this, speaking of him in the past tense. But it feels weirder sitting on the couch at night with my cat gone, my lap bare. It hurts like fucking hell to be honest, to lose a 6 year-old cat to something so insatiably stupid as cancer. Cancer, which seems to devour everything and everyone I care about.

The good news is as always the cool and awesome people in my life are tough as hell and basically indomitable. They show me every day how to combat the bad shit, reteaching me how to never let it win. And even when the bad shit does win, the victory is false.

I’ll let Barry have the final word here.

Biggest and Corn



  1. This is a tough one for me to comment on. And a tough one for me to read in the middle of a seemingly normal day. I wish the best to everyone involved here and need to add that every one of them is blessed to have Doug in their lives cause there may be a lot of dark, evil shit out there but people like Doug still shine on amongst the brightest of them.

    • Thanks, Doc!

  2. This is a beautiful, sad post. Doc’s comment is so perfect, and I second the fact that we are all lucky to have you in our lives. Though this summer has been a nightmare, I have never been happier in my life than I am when I am with you.

    • No way i woulda made it out of August without you.

  3. I’m sorry for being so late to respond to this, but I just want to say I’m so sorry for your losses. Ayako and I will be thinking of you.

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