It so happened that I got my diagnosis five minutes before I was set to report for a day of volunteer work. In fact, one of the first things that flew out of my mouth in the doctor’s office was that this really wasn’t the best time to have cancer because several people were awaiting my chopping skills at that very moment. In the car, I rationalized that cancer doesn’t affect one’s chopping skills, at least not in the early stages when you feel completely fine, and so I should still go. It wasn’t until I almost crashed into the car in front of me for no good reason that I decided it would probably be wise to back out before the inevitable wreckage ensued, emotional or otherwise. I mean, if there were ever a good excuse, this was it. Still, I hate reneging on a commitment, and trying to figure out the best way to extricate myself was a welcome distraction from the larger issue.
Me: You’re already late. You need to call them.
Me: And tell them what? That I can’t come, I have cancer?
Me: I can’t do that. They barely know me. What are they going to say?
Me: They’ll say something nice and get off the phone as quickly as possible, which will work out well for everyone.
Me: But they’re not going to believe me.
Me: Nobody uses cancer to get out of stuff.
Me: I make shit up all the time. Everybody knows that.
Me: Okay, well, if lies are your medium of choice then you’d better outdo yourself this time because you’re totally screwing them over.
Me: Not me. Cancer.
Me: Think the flat tire bit will work?
Me: Car accident?
Me: No, too many follow-up questions.
Me: One of the kids is sick?
Me: Do not involve the children in your lies.
Me: Okay. How about this? I was on my way to the location when things weren’t right intestine-wise.
Me: So far, so good.
Me: I pulled over to the side of the road and ran out to throw up when somebody jumped in and stole my car. Of course, my cell phone wasn’t charged as usual and nobody wants to pick up a vomiting hitchhiker, so I had to walk all the way to the police station. But they found my behavior suspicious, what with the early morning vomiting and my inability to walk in a straight line while vomiting, and arrested me for DUI right after I filed my missing vehicle report. So that’s why I can’t volunteer today. I mean, unless you have $5000 bail.