Old Onion headline:
Loved Ones Recall Local Man's Cowardly Battle With CancerSample text:
According to [Russ Kunkel's] personal physician, Dr. James Wohlpert, the type of cancer Russ had generally takes at least four months to advance to the terminal stage. But because of what he described as a "remarkable lack of fighting spirit," the disease consumed him in less than one.Cancer inflicts terrible suffering. But you don't step forward to endure it in place of others. It happens, and you do what you can. Is one victim really more "courageous" than another? What does it mean to be "remarkably courageous"? What unnamed persons are you implying were courageous, but actually significantly less courageous than the newly departed? And does anyone ever not get credit for courage? We're bound to the script: cancer, therefore courage. There's never a Russ Kunkel.
"It's rare that you see someone give up that quickly and completely," Wohlpert said. "Cancer is a powerful disease, but most people can at the very least delay the spread of it by maintaining a positive outlook and mental attitude. This, however, was not the case with Russ.
I think you know why. It's why you laugh so much when you read about Russ. It's because we -- if we don't already have terminal cancer -- have so much anxiety about the prospect of becoming the next victim. We're comparing the dead one, who behaved like everyone else under the circumstances, with the vision of ourselves discovering that is our fate.