You’re a Mean One

Every gland

Down in Carlat-ville

Cancer stinks, stank, stunk.

Liked Larry a lot . . .


But cancer,

Who lived right next to Carlat-ville,

Did NOT!


Cancer hated Larry!

For no rhyme or reason.

With respect to the timing, it’s a holiday lesion.


His prostate may not have been screwed on all that tight.

Or it could be, perhaps, that his dick was too slight.

But I think that the most likely reason of all,

Was that cancer was a total asshole and inexplicably hated Larry’s remaining ball.



Whatever the reason,

His dick or his ball,

Cancer would metaphorically make him feel less tall.

It thought and connived, a black heart filled with hate,

“How can I torture this schmuck? Why, I’ll just make him wait!”


The only thing worse than ending up dead,

Was the pain and the suffering inside his own head.

Cancer knew that this would be it – no ifs ands or buts,

This head trip would surely drive Larry’s ass nuts.


So Larry went and did the biopsy thing,

His ex-wife went with him to salve any sting.

When the doc knocked him out, he began to snooze,

Dreaming of Jann Wenner and Penélope Cruz.

When he awoke, the doc said he had spotted a lesion,

“It’s 90% good! Don’t worry! No reason!”


Larry had heard this same rap so wasn’t relieved.

The Big C was lurking — it was what he believed!


He thought about his string of really bad luck,

And how he might piss his pants and be unable to fuck,

He wouldn’t get results for at least a whole week,

And that was the news that made Larry freak!


“I know just what to do!” Larry cried in his throat.

And he put on his hat and he put on his coat.

And he blubbered and sniffed, “Before I shoot my wad,”

“I’ll go to heaven and talk with stupidhead God.”


When Larry met the Big Man at the pearly gate,

God laughed and said, “It must really suck to wait.”

“You don’t have cancer, Lar. Or maybe you might.”

“But if you stop wasting time, you’re gonna be all right!”


And what happened next?

Well, you know the deal,

Whatever the verdict,

Larry would heal.


When Larry came home, there was snow in the air,

He knew that from cancer there was nothing to fear.

He thought of friends, family and then up above,

And knew these were the people, the people he loved.


The Bad News About Bad News

LC and kids from GQ October 1997

Page 281.

I don’t know about you, but when I get a voicemail from a doctor that says, “This by no means means that you have cancer,” I automatically think that I have cancer.

And this is exactly the kind of thing that makes me wish I believed in God. Who am I supposed to pray to now? Ayn Rand? Shouldn’t there be some type of God for atheists during a health scare? I knew I shouldn’t have fucked with Him when I wrote that crap about no longer being scared of getting bad news. What the hell was I thinking?

I recently took one of those old-man PSA tests (which, for you non-old men, screens for prostate cancer), and the result was high so my doctor insisted on another test and the second number was lower, but he still wants me to come in for a sonogram and that’s what the voicemail was about. If the images look fine, that’s that. If they don’t, he’ll do a small needle biopsy, send it to some Dexter pathology dude and I’ll deal with whatever “by no means means.”

You may recall that I’m a bit of a hypochondriac and the word “cancer” to a hypochondriac is like shushing Kanye West. It’s even worse than that for me. I’ve told you about my testicular cancer (great band name there) more than 20 years ago, but I didn’t tell you how I found out about it (and if you’re curious to read more, look up The Nutcracker Suite in the October 1997 issue of GQ with George Clooney on the cover):

After forty-five minutes of what was supposed to be exploratory surgery, I had awakened to my wife Caryn’s gentle touch, and as soon as I saw her face through the last wisps of an anesthetic haze, I knew I was going to be all right. My urologist, Bob Waldbaum, still in his surgical scrubs, walked in a moment later and in his reassuring bear of a voice announced, “Lawrence, my boy, we had to take out the crappy testicle. It was totally dysfunctional, but it doesn’t look cancerous.” And that’s when I pretty much lost it, crying like a baby in Caryn’s arms. Thank God, I was clean.

Or so I thought. My post-op visit was the following week. “Apparently, the biopsy uncovered some cancerous cells,” said Waldbaum.

That’s really all you need to know and other than for déjà vu, I know that I’ll be okay. Really, I do.

And I keep repeating that to myself like a mantra because I don’t really know it at all.

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