On Twitter from Joel on Software – by Joel Spolsky
. . . Although I appreciate that many people find Twitter to be valuable, I find it a truly awful way to exchange thoughts and ideas. It creates a mentally stunted world in which the most complicated thought you can think is one sentence long. It’s a cacophony of people shouting their thoughts into the abyss without listening to what anyone else is saying. Logging on gives you a page full of little hand grenades: impossible-to-understand, context-free sentences that take five minutes of research to unravel and which then turn out to be stupid, irrelevant, or pertaining to the television series Battlestar Galactica. I would write an essay describing why Twitter gives me a headache and makes me fear for the future of humanity, but it doesn’t deserve more than 140 characters of explanation, and I’ve already spent 820.
. . . And I’m still troubled by this sentence, which I’ve heard many times: “Well, at least
it’s a good cancer.” It’s usually applied to cancers that are considered highly treatable,
like those of the prostate and thyroid.
Most people mean well, but the idea of a good cancer makes no sense. At best, the
words break meaninglessly over the patient. There are no good cancers, just as there
are no good wars, no good earthquakes.
Words can just be inadequate. And as we stumble and trip toward trying to say the
right and true thing, we often reach for the nearest rotted-out cliché for support.
Better to say nothing, and offer the gift of your presence, than to utter bankrupt
Silences make us squirm. But when I was sickest, most numbed by my treatment, it
was more than healing to bask in a friend’s compassionate silence, to receive and give
a hug, to be sustained by a genuine smile.
Strangely enough, although cancer threatened my life it also exalted it, brought with it
a bright and terrible clarity.
So, no, cancer isn’t a battle, a fight. It’s simply life — life raised to a higher power.