Save the Tatas. It was on a bumper sticker with a jaunty little pink ribbon, pasted on the bumper of a pickup truck. Unfortunately, I wasn’t carrying my sledgehammer with me. My purse is already heavy enough.
So I came home and Googled the cute little saying. As it turns out, it’s a website enterprise with lots of bannered T-shirts and perky young things smiling at the camera. It’s all about eradicating breast cancer — but with a smile and a sly wink. With humor, you know. Get it? No, I don’t.
Or maybe I do, but I don’t like it. Sure, maybe some of the proceeds from the sales of STTT clothing and bumper stickers go to support breast cancer research. Everybody gets to wear tight T-shirts that show they still — fortunately! — have their tatas and their sense of play. Everybody grins and wins, you know.
Good lord. Where to start?
For me, of course, it’s already too late. Like many of my friends, I’ve lost both breasts (excuse me if I don’t call them tatas) to surgery. And you know what? That was the least of my problems. Cancer in your breasts doesn’t kill you; it’s simply where cancer can start. You stop worrying about your breasts really quickly — and start worrying about sites where the breast cancer can metastasize. Places like your liver, lungs, bones and brain that are a bit more vital than your cleavage. Places where the cancer will kill you.
But Save the Lungs wouldn’t look funny on a T-shirt or bumper sticker. Instead, let’s grab the reassuring little pink ribbon and the cutesy names for breasts and forget all about mortality tables and metastases and wink like Sarah Palin, since nothing’s really that serious that you can’t joke about it, including national security and global warming and terrorist cells of the individual and malignant variety. And, if you don’t get the joke, too bad for you and all your gloom-and-doom pronouncements. C’mon, smile!
Save the Tatas! You only worry about your breasts when there’s not something greater at stake. Like your life, say.
I get the joke. The trouble is, it isn’t funny. I’ll be carrying my sledgehammer after this.
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)