Some times, and my wife might say all of the time, I’m pretty slow on the uptake. For days and days, for the life of me I couldn’t understand why one certain medical organization would pick a happy and vibrant color, say it’s about promoting melanoma awareness, and then blow off negative feedback from the melanoma patient community. I mean, what healthcare organization with a lick of common sense would tell the breast cancer community to wear turquoise in October? Maybe it was the registered trademark symbol that provided a clue, but it finally dawned on me yesterday that this expensive marketing campaign has nearly nothing to do with increasing melanoma awareness and everything to do with increasing brand awareness for this organization and its doctor-members. “Melanoma Monday” is just a convenient vehicle for what it’s really all about: self-promotion.
Oh well, the folks who actually have melanoma (and I include here the caregivers who ‘have it’ indirectly through their loved ones, living and dead) will be wearing black, not just today but throughout this Melanoma Awareness Month of May. And not as a “fashion statement”, but as a symbol and conversation starter for what we really want to talk about: that melanoma is a potentially deadly beast, but the risk of getting it can be significantly reduced by staying out of those tanning coffins and using a bit of common sense sun protection when enjoying outdoor activities.
One of my melahomies referred yesterday to “going full Johnny Cash” in his outfit for today, so I’ll sign off with the Hotel Melanoma rendition of “Man In Black”…
Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.
I wear the black for the orange tan, the freakin’ clown,
Livin' in the hopeless, leathered hide of brown,
I wear it for the survivor who has long paid for his fries,
But’s still scared because he's a victim of sun lies.
I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words their mother said,
About the road to scanning mess through sunnin’ rare UVs,
Why, you'd think she's talking straight to you and me.
Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
With our heap of frightnin’ scars and tan-free moles,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who were left back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.
I wear it for the sick on a lonely road,
For the fearless ones whose bad drips are so bold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young friends.
And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believin' that next drug could turn the tide,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who tan fried,
Believin' that C’s all just on their hide.
Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a fruit of fright.
Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that every skin’s OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Til things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.