Friday, January 23, 2009

Old white-guy coiffure

Perhaps you thought I was kidding about the crazy hair. Here’s photographic evidence that even after a good blow dry, the “interferon effect” prevails. I hear Chris Rock has made a documentary on African-American coiffure in which he shows how uneasiness with naturally curly hair prompts a lot of blacks to use hair straightener. I’m not there yet, but I may send Chris this photo to show that white guys have hair issues too.

I’m proud to announce that I also have a chest cold and am feeling rotten today. It’s so good to hear people express sympathy for an illness that’s annoying but can’t kill me. It’s my first cold in years and I intend to wring every ounce of sympathy I can from it.

On a darker note, I have heard from two friends this week that they have been diagnosed with cancer. Believe me, this news hits you hard when you’re already a member of the club. One friend has very good prospects for recovery; I’m not sure about the other. As I’ve learned, so much depends on staging. When cancer is caught early and it’s contained, it doesn’t have to be devastating. That doesn’t mean the diagnosis doesn’t knock you sideways. The “c” word has that power. I’ve added my friends to a growing list of people I know who have (or have had) melanoma or some other type of cancer. One in four of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our life. I’m never surprised any more when I hear of someone else’s misfortune. We are mortal beings.

There was a very good article in the January issue of Wired about cancer detection, and specifically why early detection is a better use of healthcare resources than trying to find cures. This is a controversial perspective because finding “a cure for cancer” has such strong emotional appeal and is culturally engrained in us. As someone who has had a form of cancer for which surgery is really the only proven treatment, I’d love to see a drug company come up with a magic bullet that offers more hope. But if all the money spent on drug research went into education and early detection instead, there would be an immediate reduction in the incidence of many forms of cancer. Fewer people would die. Melanoma should not be a scourge, but has become that because there’s so little attention paid to its detection. I include myself and my GP in that condemnation. It’s the only cancer that just sits there on your skin, often in plain sight. I’d like to see John McCain lead a national campaign for early detection of melanoma. I hear he’s not real busy these days.

Click here if you’d like to read that Wired story. Ignore the drawing of the naked lady. That's the oldest trick in the book for increasing newsstand sales of magazines.


Anonymous said...

Peter, I like the new look. Roll with it! Thanks for the link to the Wired article. Good reading.

Anonymous said...

A haircut might help.

wags said...

Don King should be so lucky. You look distinguished. Is that good? On the bright side, you could have my dad's hair...
Take care,