A few years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Some doctor decided that it would be really cool and productive to lop off her breast. It seemed like a good idea at the time and in order to make it sound even more reasonable, they called the procedure a mastectomy. After a lifetime dosage of radiation and non-stop chemotherapy, she is coasting along in a "some months I have hair, some I don't" kind of chemical idle. The cancer isn't advancing, it isn't retreating; it's in for the long haul.

Ok, this situation pretty much sucks and everyone knows it. Consequently, it is an unsolicited-sympathy magnet. The most common sympathy token received is:

I'm so sorry. You and your mother will be in our prayers.

My family and my mother's social circle is mostly Southern Baptist. I have heard this token more than I care to count. From the aforementioned family and friends, this is pretty expected. This sort of verbal affirmation of their support was, I'm sure, welcome at some point in the past. The memory of those days is long lost in a hazy cloud of irritation. Infinite repetitions, and contributions by people who don't know me or my mother at all (but a reasonable percent of whom I am sure mean well and are sincere) have made this little token abrasive.

Then came the straw that sodomized the camel's backside. An acquaintance of mine, who professes to be a Buddhist, felt like offering his token. Now let it be said that I have an impression of this person as a buddhist wannabe who doesn't really get the whole point of Buddhism. He expresses funky ideas like meat can't touch my food, other odd stances regarding Buddhism and being a vegetarian and a slew of other wacky things. So one day, in a gesture of universal harmonic solidarity, this person walks up to me and after inquiring about my mom's health says,

I'll pray to Buddha for her health.

You've got be fucking kidding me. I thought I was going to lose it. I thought that unless I did some major anger management or was willing to go underground, I was going to jail. Last time I checked, Buddha was not just some lameass winamp skin for Jesus. It seems perfectly acceptable for christians to petition Jesus to cure Aunt Bessie's goiter or to give Cousin Chichi the strength to accept her harelip. That's his shtick. Oh yeah, and there's that salvation thing. This pseudo buddhist could've expressed his concern for my mother's well-being, meditated on the path of her enlightenment or offered to take out her trash and all would have been copacetic. As it is, we were all just lucky no one got hurt.

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