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Bad Advice, or Is This It?

Posted Jan 20 2010 7:53pm
Through a circuitous path from a Gawker media website to an advice column through another link, I found an absolutely ridiculous website called "The Checkout Line". It's content (which doesn't really improve beyond the insensitive title), seems to focus exclusively to giving advice to the healthy and unphased folks frustrated by other people's bad luck.

Yes, really.

Reading through the first page or so of questions, I see one theme over and over again. The family member of a cancer survivor, or perhaps the friend of a hospice nurse, complains about having to adjust their (otherwise uncomplicated) lives around the grief or stress experienced by the patient. A sister complains that her sibling, a cancer survivor, talks about her experience too much and gets too much attention. A sibling complains that they don't want to be nice to their jerk brother just because he has a brain tumor. And over and over, Judy the Journalist (not Judy the Psychologist, or Judy the Cancer Survivor, or Judy Whose Only Child Died) tells the complainer: Yeah, you are right. Tell your grief-riddled cousin to shut up (or whatever).

The extent to which this annoys me is precisely because talking about grief is important. Those who have suffered it, through their own illness or the loss of a family member, need to talk about it to heal. If we can't turn to our friends and family, what good are they? Sure, relationships are a two way street and everyone needs to give and receive love, but it is inappropriate and vain to reiterate that those touched by cancer are selfish brats for talking about themselves so damn much. The world needs fewer advice columnists, and fewer people encouraging the kind of selfishness that this woman seems to applaud.

I hope that in my grief (sorry to mention it so often), I have missed the joke in the website. Maybe it's a doomed-to-fail humorous book pitch, or something. If that's the case, please let me know.

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