Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Breast Cancer "Mammorial" Display Problems

Over the past few months, a local physician specializing in MRIs and other computerized imaging processes has had a street sign in front of his local office--on a main thoroughfare--exposing passerby to a large number of bras; this, in his effort to promote Breast Cancer Awareness, and the seriousness of his commitment to providing assistance in diagnosing, and hopefully preventing, this dreadful disease.

It's a very serious issue--but his sign has led to several letters to the editor of the local paper (both in defense of, and criticism of, the sign, it's appropriateness, its message, and its affect on the community), local commentaries by the same paper, and other news media reports of various kinds.

I personally have never driven by it and laughed, giggled, or even smirked, because I know that cancer in general is not a joking matter, nor will it ever be.  It's not appropriate to joke about a disease that kills so many in such a merciless, often slow, process, seemingly draining the very spirits of those affected by it.

At best, what I'd like to say is that the 'display' pushes the boundaries of what is considered appropriate--possibly even locally so--in order to do what it's intended to do: raise awareness.  It has worked to do that--even a few local women who claimed breast cancer had affected them personally wrote in to publicly question the sign's affect, or even its intention in general.  No matter the 'right side', no one can deny that the sign has had its affect, that the phenomenon definitely deserved some attention, or even that there are much less appropriate, or important concerns which routinely receive much less attention, or even much more of the inappropriate kind.

One can look at many comedy acts today and wonder how much time the comedian put into looking for humor, or even finding something laughable; sometimes, I wonder what they must think of their audience, with the subject matter premeditated into their acts.  Many times, they are met with mixed reactions of glares, stares, and audible gasps, with their treatment of even some of the more horrible aspects we are routinely confronted with, especially in a media we appear to have very little control over (besides the remote, and consumer habits).

This recent Halloween night, that sign was vandalized--it was set afire by some bunch of local idiots.  Aside from the remote possibility that this vandalism kept them from doing something else more recklessly idiotic that night, there isn't much positive that could come from their having done this.  It plainly indicates more deterioration of our local moral fiber, that somebody is always willing to vandalize somebody else's property, and just that people can still do some pretty stupid stuff.

Amazingly, the sign was right across the street from our local Steak & Shake restaurant, which is always highly populated by the local police, as one of the few places they can meet centrally to eat at all hours, night and day; so I wonder how the hell these idiots pulled off their little scheme without some planning (which makes me wonder if they're an active part of our local workforce, or maybe need some help finding work).

Regardless of how people locally viewed this sign, or even its affect on local views of breast cancer, I have little doubt that somehow the sign pulled off its purpose with much less disdain and 'aftershock' than a local sign similarly attempting to draw attention to prostate cancer sufferers, patients, and even victims.

Life constantly forces us to make difficult, and sometimes ridiculous decisions, commitments, and then seems to wait while the results of those decisions play out right before our eyes.  I thought the breast cancer sign a harmless, almost intentionally silly and light-hearted way to make a point.  But I am also quite thankful that the same imaging specialist has never (yet) decided to display a similar sign to gather attention (worse yet--'support') for his clients whose lives have been affected by prostate, or, God forbid, rectal or colon cancer...