Tagged: skin cancer

John Ostrander: From This Nose… A Hero?

I’m pretty excited!

Recent doctor visits revealed that three spots on my otherwise remarkable countenance were basal cell carcinoma, a.k.a. skin cancer. Okay, that’s not exciting. It’s really a bit of a downer, although if you’re going to have cancer, this kind of skin cancer may be the one to have since it is (by all reports) the most curable.

The treatment strategy has been decided: high level bursts of radiation. Okay, that’s not exciting either. Also a bit of a bummer as the possible side effects include vomiting which is also a bit of a bummer.

However, it is a well-known fact of comic book physics (especially MU physics) that radiation in some form may be the greatest single cause of mutations that result in super-powers! Pretty spiffy, eh?

So I’m wondering what sort of super-powers I might get. I know that I speculated like this once before but that was just an injection for a heart catheterization or something. I don’t remember and I can’t be bothered to look it up. Besides, it was something small like a particle for tracking purposes.

Obviously, since I never got any superpowers it wasn’t enough to trigger a transformation… and boy-howdy I still feel gypped! But this time it’s going high level burst of radiation! High level bursts, ladies and gentlemen! (I think that’s what they said.) As Nietche once said, what radiation bursts that don’t kill me makes me super-powered. You can look it up!

I have long posited that the powers a character receives are based on aspects of his personality or character and if that isn’t true, it should be.

So, working from this principle, I’ve been trying to guess what might my powers be.

I’m a writer so the ability to become invisible and observe people might be really useful. I’d would say it would allow me to sneak into a women’s locker room unobserved but this is the era of Harvey Weinstein and that’s not funny.

Maybe my power would be to step into other people’s lives such as Deadman or Dr. Sam Beckett (and while we’re on the topic of Quantum Leap, why – in the era of reboots and relaunches – haven’t they brought that show back?). As a writer, I invent other people’s lives; this power could be pretty useful, no? At my age, I could become OldMan with the power to get those kids off my lawn!

However, none of these powers would get me into either The Avengers or the Justice League, let alone my own solo movie. That and action figures are where the real money is. Not that I’m in this for money but, you know, what could it hurt, hmm?

Which makes me think I shouldn’t just limit myself to super-heroes. If I’m going to be in it for the money, I should consider super-villains. I’m good at writing them; they’re usually a lot more fun and they get all the best lines. Yeah, they get put in prison a lot but they never seem to stay there.

I have a fraternal twin brother so maybe I could be my own evil twin (not that my brother Joe is my evil twin; it’s more like I’m his goofy twin). I could be a super-hero by day and a super-villain by night; I could be my own arch-enemy! And neither personality is aware that they share a body with their foe. That might be fun.

Of course, fate could be cruel and instead of giving me super-powers, the radiation makes my nose fall off. Still, even then, I could be Lee Marvin as Tim Strawn in the movie Cat Ballou and wear a silver nose tied to my face. Or Lon Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera. Maybe my nose will become bright red and I’ll become JohnO the Red Nosed Writer.

Naw. Fate won’t be that cruel. We already have Donald Trump.


John Ostrander: Face Front, True Believers!

You may be wondering just what the heck is going on here with my face.

Alt. Explanation 1: You should see the other guy. Be-YOO-Ti-Full! Not a mark on him! It was a privilege to see him work!

Alt. Explanation 2: I leaped out of the second floor of the burning house, the kitten cradled in my arms and I landed on my face.

Alt. Explanation 3: Don’t piss off Mary. Which I may have just done. (Just Joking, Dear!)

Alt. Explanation 4: My face got nibbled by piranha. (Don’t ask.)

Alt. Explanation 5: I had some minor growths on my face that my doctor wanted to be checked out and so the skin doctor nicked them off and sent them to the lab. Probably not cancer but we’ll know for sure in about two weeks.

So… which one sounds like the true explanation? That’s right – the boring one. #5. However unlikely the other four sound, they are potentially the more entertaining stories, true or not.

You see, I am a professional liar. It’s how I make my living. I make up stories and try to make them seem/feel real so that other people buy them. Companies pay me to do this.

The lies I tell (okay, the “fictions”) are in service to the truth or to a truth. They have to feel true, feel real, to the reader at least for the duration of the experience. Hey, Jesus did it. He spoke to them (the crowds) in parables and without parables, he did not speak to them. Matthew 13:34. You can look it up. The events in the parables never happened; they’re lies – in service to truths Jesus was trying to teach. It’s the same in all religions.

I include “non-fiction” in this. The authors aren’t telling the whole truth – they focus on certain events, emphasizing these, de-emphasizing those, depending on the narrative they’re telling. They are after the (a) truth and we need those liars who can take the mountain of events and find context and meaning – truth – in them.

That’s the big difference between artists and (shall we say) certain government spokespersons – the artist is after the truth and the spokesperson is trying to sell something. That’s a whole different kind of lie. It is, as often as not, intended to obscure or confuse what is true while the artist is trying to get at some form of the truth, to reveal it. Intent is everything.

The intent of four of the five explanations for the photograph of my face is to amuse you and entertain myself. Those of you who know me and Mary know she would never hit me except once with a plastic whiffle bat.

That’s a good story, a fun lie, but for another time.