The Evil Among us: Fake Cancer Scammers

The Evil Among us: Fake Cancer Scammers

Have you noticed your socials feeds are riddled with heart wrenching appeals for clicks and support, and more critically, money? I know mine are, and they are relentless. The stories are indeed tragic. Sick babies, burnt out homes, devastating injuries and cancer. So much cancer. There are also appeals for blood donation, hospitals, animal shelters and various charities. Lots of need, and limited funds. These appeals are particularly compelling when they come from a local source, or for issues that touch our own situations.¬†People who have big hearts donate generously because essentially humans are decent. We understand that it could be any of us, at any time and we need to spread the love around. Passing the hat to help people who have fallen on hard times or are ill, is one of the most humane and selfless acts of generosity. Now, it is even easier to donate to causes we care about with on-line giving. A few clicks and you have saved a kitten or contributed to some kid’s bone marrow transplant. Whatever you care about, you can help in a New York minute with a donation sent through the web. And therein lies the problem. Any jackass can come up with an appeal for funding on any issue. However for some reason cancer seems to be the trigger that gets people giving and makes them easy marks. The good and compassionate people on Facebook or wherever click away their money only to hear that the person they funded isn’t actually sick, or doesn’t even exist.Or worse, they never know they were taken for a rube. There was a story sometime back about a woman who was pretty damned gutsy about her scam. She convinced people at her workplace that she had cancer, and was “pushing through it” and coming to work. She even shaved her head (talk about commitment). Her co-workers set up a fund for her, they created on line appeals and even held fundraising events for her expenses. She never had cancer. She didn’t have so much as the bloody sniffles. Her main diagnosis is that she is a scumbag with no moral fiber. It was good to read that she was eventually charged for fraud, but those kindly donors were out their money, and likely a little piece of their souls too. Another impact of this sort of story is that people become mistrustful and miserly when they are asked for help again. So the genuine tragedies that happen to good people are at risk of being viewed with a nasty skepticism because of a few terrible humans. As a cancer warrior myself, I become apoplectic when I hear about these charlatans whose only...
In Sickness and in Health

In Sickness and in Health

Every June we celebrate Father’s Day. To be fair, we Moms get a whole lot more fussing on our day in May than the Dads do. I hate to admit it, but I am always grateful that the kids’ teachers would make sure there was a card or crafty thing for Dad because I have been known to forget. My husband and I aren’t greeting card people anyway. Our traditions don’t involve shmoopy mandatory cards, in fact we don’t follow the rules of magazine marriages and groove more to our own beat. For instance, we prefer to save for vacations and not go for expensive date night dinners. Out of necessity, a trip to Costco without the kids is what we call a date these days. We don’t exchange jewelry, or do couples massages at the spa, hell we don’t even stay up on New Year’s Eve anymore. We are knee deep in busy kids and being middle aged. We have earned our naps, and dammit, we will take those naps. The one rule we do follow is an important vow from our wedding. Among the promises we made that day was that we would be there for each other in sickness and in health. At the time, we pictured the sickness part coming way the hell later than the health part. We had visions of sickness looking like elderly me helping geriatric him with his cane, or to find his teeth every day because he was forgetting where he put them. “In the glass on the bathroom counter honey”, I pictured myself saying. We knew realistically that humans start to fall apart as we age and in our declining years we would need to be strong for each other when illness came calling. What we didn’t know is how little time we would have between “I do” and cancer. It is me. I have cancer, and it is a bad one. My husband and the Father of our children had to make good on his promise to be there for me when it got hard. Really hard. And because we aren’t celebrating “Husband Day” (although that should be a thing) this post is about my kids’ Dad. When I was diagnosed, he must have felt like he was suddenly crushed by a falling brick wall. I am not sure how he felt at first, because his initial response was that he would take the cancer on himself if he could wish it to be so. He was terrified for me, and our kids. Others might have shunted aside their vow and succumbed to their fears and bolted. He did not. Every single day since cancer came to fuck...
On the Topic of Men – Musings From an Old Girl

On the Topic of Men – Musings From an Old Girl

I love men, truly. In my many years on this mortal coil, loads of dudes have passed through my life. I have worked with them, been friends with lots, ogled the shiny ones (I am talking to you Dwayne Johnson) married two of them, and crossed swords¬†with more than I can count across a boardroom table. I have used them, been used by them, admired more than a few, and always made a point to verbally throat punch the ones who needed it. I may also have physically thrashed one who deserved it. (Let’s just say that last one needed a lesson in how to treat a woman and will make him think twice about trying to hurt one in the future.) With all of these varied males who came into my world, I now consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of the hairier sex and have a few observations. I believe men are born with the innate understanding that they will live their lives prevailing in any path they choose. Even before their feet hit the ground each morning, they revel in the fact that their exceptionally formed and attractive junk somehow makes them destined for success and glory. Or at least I hope that is how they feel, because wouldn’t it be awesome not to question yourself and not over think everything? You go buddy, this is your destiny, use it wisely. Another interesting, and highly amusing concept is that guys haven’t a clue in the world how female brains work. We confound them at every turn, and they are never quite sure how to manage their relationships with us, and we know it. This is how we even up the power balance because they got more muscles than we did. If we really need to set off a man’s brain and turn it into a garbage fire, we just ask him if our new jeans make us look fat… and we wait for the sweat to start. Mission accomplished. Speaking of bodies, I love men’s bodies of all sorts, fat, thin, tall, shortish, whatever – they all have their own appeal. The ones I admire the most are confident about whatever their genes have given them. For example, I know of one chunky dude who does co-ed nude yoga. To him I say: “Own it buddy, you can drop the mic after doing the downward dog in front of a whole bunch of ladies.” Men – generally – spend less time bellyaching about their flabby bits, and that makes them a special kind of magic. It also makes them attractive as hell. It isn’t all sunshine though. For example, I genuinely think sometimes men get...
Valentine’s Day Sucks

Valentine’s Day Sucks

If you think Valentine’s is romantic, wonderful and provides a chance to reconnect with your love, then you might want to move along to another article, you won’t like this one. Still with me? Good. So what is it with these Hallmark holidays anyway? There is so much red heart-shaped shit in the stores, I feel like I am having a bleeding cardiac nightmare that I can’t escape. The pressure of expressing love monetarily, or even finding love boiled down into this one contrived day is ridiculous. In particular, I kind of feel bad for dudes around this day. The pressure they are under is enough to make coal into diamonds in their colons. As a for instance, random Joe six pack assumes his honey- bunch wants something, but what that might be: clueless. Joe then waits until the very last minute, which is why 711 stores do a booming business on February 14th. Poor Joe. He worries about all the trappings that the retail industry foists upon this “holiday”. He maybe coughs up for a dozen roses, or perhaps spends a paycheque leveling up by hitting the jewelry store and maxing out his VISA card for a special gift. Many men are vulnerable to the siren song of the jewelry shop lady and spend their last dime to get you that latest offering from Peoples. But you hate it. The “tender hearts” necklace of 2009 sits in its original box being passive aggressively never worn because you actually wanted a spa day. The struggle is real isn’t it ladies? You want something, but you wish he would just somehow know what that is. That yearning for him to be able to read your mind eventually recedes, I promise. Because if you are north of 30, you likely already told him that if he brings home one more box of heart-shaped wax with the label “chocolate product” on it from the corner store, you will jam it in his gob, or somewhere nastier. If you are in your 40’s you probably went and got yourself something, wrapped it and made a tag of love from him. Kind of like Christmas and your birthday. Once you hit 50, his job gets easier… just wine and a gift certificate for Uber so you can go out with your girlfriends. We ladies don’t get a free pass on the Valentine’s pressure either. Why should the responsibility of showing love by spending money be his alone? We love our dudes and want to do something nice for him. We all know what that is, so you can dispense with the card, the chocolate, the dinner date and spend the money on some fancy...
When Yoga Pants Are Just Mass Hysteria For Your Ass

When Yoga Pants Are Just Mass Hysteria For Your Ass

Recently my daughter received a gift from a very generous relative. Before I go on, let me clarify that this gift was from what we will call the “Citrus Fruit Store” of yoga gear, because I don’t feel like getting sued for disparaging a beloved brand name. The sizing was wrong, so we took it into the well appointed store for an exchange. Never having set foot in one of these havens for the gullible and wealthy, I was curious. My first impression, and to my surprise, was the fact that you could actually smell privilege and smugness even in the guise of exercise clothing. Huh. I was immediately greeted by a bored looking fat dude who was wearing an on-brand hoody – with the hood up. Literally. He was too cool for his stretchy pants, so as I moved past him toward the cashier, I kept my gaze up so as not to accidentally clap eyes on his Citrus Fruit man pants. Dudes should not wear this brand, not skinny dudes, fat dudes, yoga dudes, none of them. No junk should be forced into that trunk. I explained to the equally bored cashier that I wanted to make an exchange. All was good, but no cash refunds. So my daughter happily took some items into the change room, because at 15 having your first pair of “whatever your Mom would never buy you” brand yoga pants is exciting. I wandered around to see what might be on sale. Nothing. Literally, not one red tag in the place. I looked deeper into the racks for anything I might remotely consider spending a car payment on. Still nothing. Then I started really looking at the price tags, and after a few racks, I noticed that my mouth needed closing before my daughter came out and saw me cheaping out in the worst way. I was horrified to the point of making a scene…. but kept it in my head. My beautiful daughter came bouncing out of the change room with her exchange item on, a pair of yoga pants with that famous big dollar logo on her backside. She chirped, “look at all the pockets!” Then seeing the expression on my face when she said these pants would come pretty close to the exchange we had on credit, she dialed her joy down a little. Like the fact that we wouldn’t have to add to the tally would somehow make spending $120 on some shitty spandex more palatable. Noticing that this tactic held no water with me, and I was still going to be grumpy about it, she reminded me that it wasn’t even my money, it was a gift...