This is the first of my regularly infrequent newsletter. Depending on my mood, I plan to send one per week, maybe a little more, or perhaps a little less, but I don’t plan on overloading your inbox with my words. Unless the demand is so incredible to call for a daily newsletter. Still, we’ll worry about that if it happens.
Final Cancer Update
Let me get this out of the way before I write anything else. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know my struggle over the past 12 months. If you don’t know, you can find all the details here and here. Just a warning, it’s long, and the images are graphic.
In the past couple of months, I went through a battery of tests to see how well the chemo and radiation eliminated the cancer tumour. I spoke with my doctor a few weeks ago, and I’m pleased to say all the tests come back “normal” or “excellent.” My doctor assures me that I can think of myself as “cancer-free.” It was a huge fucking relief. When my partner heard that, she burst into tears. As much as the journey was a struggle for me, it was a struggle for my loved ones. They were incredible support through it all but could only do so much as they watched cancer and chemo medicine battle it out in my body.
Looking back, it’s all a blur and doesn’t feel like it really happened. Still, the dire circumstances and potential for a much different outcome hit home early this year as two former colleagues succumbed to cancer.
One woman, who was quite petite when healthy, kept losing weight until the point her body just couldn’t continue. A gentleman I worked with in Canada but returned to the Philippines several years ago was fighting cancer for over a year, but cancer won. To the families of Rosalee and Cynl, my heart breaks for you.
This disease is fucked, and it’s unfair.
I hope this is my last post about cancer, or rather my cancer journey.
I want to say thank you to the friends and acquaintances who were kind enough to reach out to me in private messages to offer support. They answered questions and shared their own battles with the disease. It helped keep me focused, and hearing the good, bad and ugly of it all from people who went through it, gave me hope. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
If anyone reading this is diagnosed with cancer and needs someone to answer questions, share what to expect, or just offer an ear when you want to complain about how it’s bullshit and unfair, I’m here for you.
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock, and I’m here for it.
Yes, violence is wrong, but as a fan of comedy, a LOVER of comedy, it’s one of the best cultural moments of the past few years.
In the current culture, there are plenty of debates surrounding what can be joked about, who can be joked about, are you punching up, or are you punching down? We saw this dominate the headlines with Dave Chappelle’s Netflix specials. He, by many accounts, starts punching down in his comedy by using much of his set to talk about transgender issues and juxtaposing it against his own experiences as a black man in the USA. It upset many people, and I won’t try to defend or disparage Chappelle’s act as there are many good think pieces from people more articulate and more qualified to argue the issue than me.
But in the Oscars slap, it was a beautiful moment for comedy. Will Smith is one of the most famous, high-status individuals on the planet. He had a human moment where he slapped a stand-up comedy legend. There was no doubt about status and no worries about punching down. No matter who had jokes, you’re punching up, and it was glorious.
With so many channels to consume content, society rarely has a uniting moment to joke about in real-time. The Super Bowl offers that, presidential debates provide that, but there are so few uniting comedy events that when something unexpected at a usually staid awards shows, everyone can jump on board without guilt or question.
I’m sure the pearl clutchers will talk about how it was wrong and yada, yada, but until then, I’m going to revel in it all. It’s glorious.
Don’t cry for Chris Rock; he was ready to unload a verbal barrage on Smith, but he was a pro. He held back and kept the show moving. You can bet that the next time Rock is on stage in a comedy club, he will have a new 20 minute bit on the incident.
The GI Jane joke? It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. This had been brewing since Rock made jokes about Jade Pinkett Smith boycotting the Oscars a few years ago. Rock said, “Jade boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”
Word of the Week - avoir l'esprit de l'escalier
I love this one. We’ve all experienced it; we think of the perfect comeback to someone’s slight, but not until long after the interaction is over. This French term translated means to have the wit of the staircase.
Coaching - I need your help.
Some of you know, but I’m letting the rest of you know that I’m enrolled in a coaches training program through a company in Singapore -- Bailey Balfour. It’s preparing me for certification through the International Coaches Federation.
In my previous employment, one of the directors suggested I take some executive coaching to help get me out of a rut I was in after essentially doing the same job for 11 years.
It was a great experience, and during the process, the executive coach asked me what I wanted to do in the future, and I quickly responded, “I want to be doing what you’re doing.”
When my contract ended, I enrolled in the course, and so far, so good. I love the gambling industry and public relations, but there is extra fulfillment when you can help a person get unstuck in their position in life.
As a manager and a leader, it was the most enjoyable part of the job when I could help people find a new path or clear some obstacles they experience on their current path.
The plan is to complete the training, get certified and then start a side business where I can help people through their journeys.
“That’s all well and good for you, Bill, but what about ME?!”
OK, to qualify for ICF certification, I need to have a certain number of coaching hours to prove I can do it and show my commitment to coaching as a career.
The best part is because I’m still a student, I’m charging well below market rates, really, really below market rates, so that I can get my hours.
SO if you’re interested in coaching for your work life or life or just need a different perspective on things, please let me know, and we can set something up.
What I’m Reading-Listening-Watching
Watching: I thought I had run out of things to binge during the pandemic, but I started watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu. I read the Margret Atwood book in high school, and I watched the regrettable 1990 movie starring Natasha Richardson, but I’d ignored the current series until the past couple of weeks. The series gives a visual presentation of the book that the movie failed to provide. It’s one of the benefits of telling a story in 10hrs per season rather than 90 minutes in a cinema. If you haven’t watched it, I hight recommend it. With the rise of Christian nationalists in the USA and other parts of the world, there are many parallels. I hope it’s not foreshadowing.
Reading: OK, it’s audible, but I still count it as reading. I just finished Gangsters of Capitalism by Jonathan M. Katz. The book recounts the life of Major General Smedley Butler and how it coincides with the USA’s imperialism of the early 20th century. Good Read.
Listening: I don’t have anything new, but I’ve enjoyed DJ Gillies Peterson and his Havana Club Sessions. If you have suggestions, please let me know.
That’s a Wrap
As I mentioned, I’m planning on doing this once a week. The days will vary, but expect it on Fridays or Mondays in a perfect world.