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The Evening's Festivities
Tonight, I attended Canton's Relay for Life event. I went there pretty much exclusively to see Chuck do his fire thing. I had no real grasp on what I was attending. I was peripherally aware that this was to raise money for Cancer research, and I guess I expected a couple hundred people, a few stands, and that was about it. I was wrong... When I arrived at about 5 PM, I was a bit taken aback. There had to be a few thousand people there, maybe a hundred or so tents, a huge stage area, and all manner of sales and activities going on. The kids and I just wandered around for a few hours. We met up with Chuck's friends, Tom and Kelly and were instantly members of the 'family'. Very cool. So we wandered around, saw the sights, and generally waited for Chuck's appearance. Sadly, no sword fighting today, due to the wet and cruddy conditions. Chuck's fire eating/breathing display was awesome. Seriously, I mean, I've seen it done before, but never done A) about 6 feet from me and B) by someone I know personally, someone I know not to be impervious to fire. I had the opportunity to stand in the crowd for about 2 shows and one 'mini' show... and the crowd was impressed, not just with the fire display, but with Chuck's 'stage presence' and banter. More than one person commented that it was like two shows in one... a freak show and a comedy show... and they were right. And the nail thing?... beautifully sick...hehe :) I guess the most important thing that happened all night, however, is that I gained some insight. At one point in the evening, they do a 'silent lap', in which all of these candle lit bags are glowing, all the other lights are off... and thousands of attendees silently walk the circuit. It was while walking around this, looking at the bags... each representing either a cancer survivor, or a life taken by cancer, that I realized how serious this is. Let me rephrase. I KNOW that cancer is serious. I realize it kills. But for all the years that I smoked, etc, I just considered it something else I could die of, like old age, heart attacks, or a misplaced speeding bus. Tonight I saw the very human impact that it has on the families and loved ones... and it was a wake up call. For years I've been very cavalier about my health... a luxury I could afford as a single bachelor, with no children... or even a married father of two... but as a single father of two... I have to worry about where my kids would go it I were to die... or get badly ill... and their mother is not really an option... So I need to actually take care of myself. To that end, this has definitely reaffirmed my decision to quit smoking... (over 14 days now), but it has also prompted some other changes. For around a year now, I've had infrequent 'oddness' to do with the rhythm of my heartbeat.. and some chest pain to go along with it. It's time to get that checked out. Also, without getting into too much detail, I have a lump that needs looking into. I have lied about this to every single close friend so that they would get off my back about getting it checked... but it's time to just get it done. I guess I got the message that I was supposed to from the evening. Peace and g'nite.