Roy Exum: Please Send Me Funny Jokes

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

It has been about 25 years or so since I had the opportunity to visit every county in the state of Tennessee and, as a volunteer for the American Cancer Society at the time, I met cancer survivors and listened to their incredible stories. I remember one man in particular who had bone cancer and one night he said he rolled over in bed and literally broke his arm in a very simple act.

So here's another story. Last Monday night I got hit with "Just one more chapter" syndrome and went to bed a little later than usual. When I woke up around 5:30 Tuesday morning, my right shoulder hurt like the dickens and I, never having had shoulder problems before, took a BC Powder as I drank my coffee with the dogs, the newspaper and my cigar.

My shoulder started barking a little louder later in the morning and finally I went to the doctor to get a cortisone shot. Since my arm problems are well known for repeated infections, the better course was to take X-rays, schedule an MRI and treat the pain rather than fertilize a possible infection with the steroids. That made much better sense.

About 3:30 that same afternoon my doctor called to say -- believe it or not -- that my shoulder was fine but that my humeris (the bone in my upper arm) was broken in two places. Since then I have learned I am in for a new adventure. A total body scan two days later revealed I also have a compression fracture in my spine, six broken ribs and a prognosis that includes four or five possibilities of very serious diseases you wouldn't wish on anyone.

Yesterday I had a bone biopsy done and doctors at Erlanger harvested a specimen of my bone marrow for pathology to sort out. Some of the blood samples have been sent to specialty labs out of state so nobody knows what I've gotten myself into but everyone seems to agree there are some dark storm clouds ahead. I've already gotten three calls from close friends to ask if I am "real sick" so, as is my style, I'd rather people know the truth rather than whisper rumors among themselves.

I'm no newcomer to bad diseases. I had a clutch of serious infections about six years ago that somehow we got through and I suspect this new challenge will be much like that. Obviously my latest disease is either blood or bone related and the "clubhouse leader," for what it's worth at this point, is a blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma. I Googled it and it isn't very pleasant reading.

My reason for revealing it, as my uncle Frank once wonderfully said of his Lou Gehrig's Disease, is not because I have a bunch of Auburn friends and don't want to explain the joke to each one, but rather to ask for your help in the way I confront bad things when they happen. Oh, I plead for your prayers but not your pity. I never want to be that sick.

Some years ago I read several books by a fabulous man named Norman Cousins. One book he wrote, "Anatomy of An Illness," was made into a movie starring Ed Asner and in it Dr. Cousins found that 30 minutes of laughter was equal to four hours of pain medicine. That's where I need your help.

Over the weekend I assured myself that pretty soon I'd have some rock-solid prayer buddies but this, too -- if I could get some people to e-mail me their best jokes -- stuff that will make me laugh at the fatigue, the medicines, the pain and goodness knows what else -- I'd soon have a leg up on whatever disease has come my way.

If you run across a video on YouTube or hear a joke you can e-mail, that's far better suited for me than a get-well card. I want your best jokes. I like funny, not filthy. If you have one that is a little risqué, I can abide it but don't send me something that would embarrass either of our mothers.

Prayer? I have three lists I carry. There is the 'C list,' where I pray some friend's kid will be into medical school, that a church's mission trip will be a success, or that it will rain in West Texas. My "B-list" is more dramatic, that a heart transplant will work, a divorce will be reconciled, a baby's eyesight will be restored. That where I believe I'd fit best on your list.

My "A list" is for miracles, really heavy stuff where the outcome is all but destined. And I know of some "miracles" that have happened because of prayer alone. Luckily, I don't need a miracle just yet but I'll take a "single shot" at any red light, where you pray  a quick one just for one person.

My prayer as I await the test results is this. "The Lord may not have planned that this should overtake me, but He has most certainly permitted it. Therefore, though it were an attack of an enemy, by the time it reaches me it has the Lord's permission and all is well. He will make it work together with all life's experiences for good."

My plan is not to change doing the things I enjoy. Why panic or even flinch? This has happened -- deal with it. I love writing on Chattanoogan.com, although I may have to miss a day here and there, and maybe this summer I want to go to the beach. Oh, I know there will be some changes, different challenges, and some down days so I can better savor the up days.

But my quick plan is to ask your help in providing some laughs that I can re-read at 4 a.m. and, on occasion, share with others who I know need a giggle just as much as I do. I promise I'm not going to write a play-by-play account of my journey. The quickest way to break up any cocktail party is to talk about yourself.

I am blessed that I have been gifted with so many friendships and what I need the most right now is a reason to laugh. I'm counting on you no matter what the bad news may be because, by golly, we're going to make a scar become a star. And one day we'll laugh about it.

royexum@aol.com


Impressed With Sheriff Clarke

I know Sheriff Clarke. Talked with him and heard him speak. He is even more impressive in person. The Democrats worked hard to beat him in the last sheriff’s election (he’s a Democrat too) and he still won.   If you ever get a chance to hear him in person, go.  Gregg Juster (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why The Lynching Stopped

Over the weekend I became fascinated by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, and yesterday I devoted my Monday opinion piece to the fact this black man, who for 25 years was a cop in Milwaukee and who is now in his fourth term as the sheriff, believes the arrest of six Baltimore police is “a miscarriage of justice.” The more I read and researched Sheriff Clarke, the more I ... (click for more)

Corker, Alexander Say Budget Bill Is A Start, But Much Left To Do

Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander said the budget bill passed Tuesday was a first step, but much more work remains on balancing the federal budget. Senator Corker said,  “Left to my own accord this budget would look far different, but at the end of the day I believe it’s important for Congress to complete this basic tenet of governing and set the stage for a responsible ... (click for more)

More Paving To Begin Soon On Dayton Boulevard; Red Bank Budget Has No Tax Increase

Improvements and work along Dayton Boulevard will begin soon. At the Red Bank Commission meeting Tuesday night, City Manager Randall Smith received approval from the commissioners to enter into a contract with TDOT on the next phase of paving Dayton Boulevard. Resurfacing has recently been finished from Memorial Drive to Greenleaf Street. The upcoming work will continue up Dayton ... (click for more)

Aslinger The Hammer As Hurricanes Nail Down 5-AAA Tourney Title

ATHENS, Tenn. – East Hamilton coach Steve Garland was confident his baseball team could win the District 5-AAA baseball tournament championship in one game. Garland’s counterpart, Jared Hensley, was hoping for a long night and that meant the Trojans would have to force a second game to decide the title. Garland and the second-seeded Hurricanes dominated the night with ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Christian Survives Shootout Scare

One shot off the hands of Chattanooga Christian goalkeeper Cameron Close cost the Chargers a lead in their district soccer semifinal Tuesday night, but another ultimately helped CCS win it. Visiting Notre Dame equalized five minutes into the second half of the 7-A/AA semifinal, and neither team could break through during 35 more minutes of regulation, 30 of overtime, and ... (click for more)