Thursday, March 6, 2008
Headlines can be bad for your health ...
A friend called me last night – “Did you hear about Patrick Swayze?” – I waited for the punch line; he was found with a hooker who turned out to be a man, he got drunk and cursed out the police while ranting about leprechauns, he’s been exposed as Lindsay Lohan’s real father …the mind reels at the nonsense the “press” can come up with.
“I feel so awful and today started out as a good day” my friend tells me. “He has cancer, same cancer as me and he’s going to die in weeks”. I was stunned. Not by the news as much as by the sound of total defeat in her voice.
“Wait, wait – where did you hear this?” I ask. “Oh, you know, when I sign on to AOL, those news headlines”. “Oh sweetie, those aren’t news headlines, they’re just grabbers to make you click on the story so you can see more ads” – “AOL leads the pack in pimping up their front page”. I felt better when she laughed at this. “Let me check into this crap and I’ll call you right back – I promise”
Of course initially all I could find was the very same garbage that had upset my friend. Amazing how you have to really work to find truth, official statements, actual news – you have to shovel through piles of reactionary, inflammatory mud to get to facts.
I called my friend back and read her the statement from Patrick’s publicist:
" WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5TH: (Los Angeles): “Actor Patrick Swayze has been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and is currently undergoing treatment. Patrick’s physician Dr. George Fisher states, “Patrick has a very limited amount of disease and he appears to be responding well to treatment thus far. All of the reports stating the timeframe of his prognosis and his physical side effects are absolutely untrue. We are considerably more optimistic.” Patrick is continuing his normal schedule during this time, which includes working on upcoming projects. The outpouring of support and concern he has already received from the public is deeply appreciated by Patrick and his family.”
“Feel better?” I asked. “Much better”, she laughed – “I don’t know what happened; I was feeling so hopeful, you know – the last tests were good – and then I see this headline that says pancreatic cancer patients die within weeks, now I feel silly”.
I assured her that there was nothing silly about her reaction at all. She is fighting the battle of her life and every nerve ending is on alert and her frightened, tired mind is hyper sensitive – I reminded her that e-mail and pogo.com were her favorite Internet spots and that AOL was simply a way to get there. Believe nothing you read!
We talked about Patrick Swayze for a bit – “He’s 55 you know, younger than me” – I told her she was ageless (and she really is) – she swims, plays tennis, wears a size 6 (bitch!) and has the complexion of a beauty queen.
We decided “Dirty Dancing” was our favorite Patrick movie – shocking I know, hardly anyone has heard of that movie. We laughed over our attraction to bad boys with hearts of gold, the fantasy of being the sweet girl who, through understanding and naïve sexiness, tames the bad boy and makes him hers. “… and with a great soundtrack” she giggled. I asked her if she had seen “Road House” yet – it is my second favorite Patrick movie; sexy love scene on a roof, lots of Patrick skin, and one of the best lines ever – at the close of business at the rough and tumble road house where Patrick is the new bouncer in town the owner proclaims – “it was a good night, nobody died!”. We used to say that after board meetings back when I worked for the Evil Empire Corporation.
She still hasn’t seen it! What am I going to do with this woman! “I’m buying it for you tomorrow” I tell her. “Does he do his walkiness in it?” she asks. “Oh yes he does!” I laugh. We have often discussed how Patrick walks like he’s dancing, he has this graceful rise to his step, even when playing tough guys – it’s very endearing.
“I hope he’s going to be OK” she whispers. “He will be” I whisper back, “it’s all going to be OK”. I tell her that I’m coming by tomorrow – with Brooklyn bagels and Road House.
Shame on AOL and all the other media whores! No wait, not whores – whores are honorable compared to these vultures – they usually hurt no one but themselves. Pimps – media pimps – licking their pig like chops over the suffering of others and counting how many ads they can place in between their lies.
Be well Patrick – hope you know there are many, many people who found your official statement and left sincere caring messages at your fan site.
Be well my dear friend – I’m so glad you called; I’m so pleased that I know better than to believe anything on a headline. I can picture you worrying yourself sicker and I’m relieved that you returned to feeling hopeful and believing only in what your body and your doctors tell you.