Gyroscope Review 16-1 | Page 17

Preemptive Strike by Tracy Mishkin “The skin is like a million mouths . . . going straight into your bloodstream.” director, Organic Consumers Association If one day I sat in the doctor's office getting very bad news, my carcinogenic history would flash before my eyes: chasing DDT trucks down the street, summer camp with bug spray high in N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide, eating lamb in England the year after Chernobyl sent a feathery plume to the west. All the harmless things I ever did would line up like lottery balls, concatenating, clicking into inevitability. I would go home and smash the dishes, then try to spin my rotten luck into something entertaining, like the man who told people hosting boring parties, “Sorry, I have cancer,” then sailed for Antarctica; or the woman who said her tumor should have a name, and asked her friends to help her think one up—Lord knows they would have preferred to make a casserole. Decorum is so easily cast aside: lymphoma is a license to read Harry Potter while drinking whiskey in your underwear. And who will call you to the dinner table? We may not whisper the word “cancer” anymore, but it's a game-changer, life-stopper, conversation-killer like nobody's business. Just in case it's waiting for me like a pink slip or a mugger who knows my route, screw you, cancer, screw you, right now. Gyroscope Review !9