Tuesday, June 05, 2007


New York Magazine is a pretty ridiculous publication, I'll grant you, but Chris's grandma Jean bought a subscription to it for us years ago, when we first moved in to this apartment, and I continue to get it in the mail every Monday. I flip through it every week, read the restaurant reviews religiously for some reason, and every so often will read through a particularly scandalous cover story. This week, one of these cover stories hits a little close to home.

A few months back, a friend of mine, a strong, healthy, thirty-one year old man, was diagnosed with cancer. Bone cancer. Multiple myeloma, to be exact, a cancer that predominantly attacks old people. He and his wife live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. One of this week's cover stories? The Toxic Lake Under Brooklyn. I tend to read the news on a semi-regular basis, and yet until Alan started talking about this pollution in Brooklyn over the last few months, I'd never heard of it. Maybe I just missed it over the years, which is not by any means impossible, or maybe it's just finally breaking in to the collective consciousness.

It broke my heart to learn of Alan's cancer, Alan who is truly one of the kindest people in this world. We became friends in high school, even went to the junior prom together. Over the years our friendship developed into a deep affection for each other. He, being all of four months older than me, became something of a big brother to me. He was always willing, without a second's hesitation, to drive me to or from one of the Westchester train stations or the airport, or make the trip down to Barnard to cook me a delicious dinner of chicken parmesan. He and Ben were with me the night that I found out about a friend's suicide, back in 1997, made sure I was alright, got me back to school the next day. He has never missed any of my birthday gatherings if he was in town, despite often having to be at work later than night. He has paid for the lion's share of our many lunches and dinners together over the years, not only because he is bigger and stronger and less ticklish than I am, but because his generosity knows no bounds, is not easily contained by himself or anyone else.

Who knows if there will ever be any proof that there is a connection between this extreme pollution and the various cancers and other diseases in the area. All I know is that, as with everyone who suffers through something like this, it should not be happening to Alan, and my heart goes out to him.

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