Book Sample - "got cancer?" (spring break gone bad)

An excerpt from "got cancer? spring break gone bad" by James J. Gaudio,
a book about surviving cancer and finding strength.


I stood stunned. I neither moved nor spoke for a few seconds. When juxtaposed against my father's pragmatism, my silly enslavement to a concern as superficial as hair loss was embarrassing. I felt like a mental or emotional weakling. I was acting like a boy. The old man was right yet again. It was time I started to act like a man.

It is not my intent to give the impression that I was completely cured of my obsession by my father's blast. However, his explosion of very adverse criticism did spin me around. Like someone who had been hopelessly wandering in dense fog, I locked on to his censure and used it to navigate myself clear.

When telling this story to my students, I emphasize at the end that its moral is the need to develop in life an ability to distinguish between matters of significance and those of insignificance. Acknowledging that hair loss for a woman is probably different, I point out that for a man, going bald is as painful as he chooses to make it, or as painful as he allows Madison Avenue to make it. I caution that going bald is one thing. It is altogether different than feeling ill, going to the doctor and having the "c-word" come up in the diagnosis. Baldness is a matter of vanity. Cancer is a matter of life and death. The two matters are clearly unequal.

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