Silver Lining Ploy Book

Despite well-intended testimonials to the contrary, very little about cancer is “empowering.”

So it was nice to be reminded of  a genuine silver lining the other day. MTS — the provincial phone company — called me at home. The nice young woman noted I am on a pay-as-you-go, month-to-month, that’s-enough-hyphens cell phone plan. Would I like to enter into a one-year contract and get one month for free?

I live for these moments.

“I’m sorry Miss. It sounds like a good deal, but I have cancer so I don’t enter into long-term commitments.”

Check and mate. Cancer is kryptonite for telemarketers. All they can do, as she did, was apologize for calling and wish me the best. After three years, I have a small army of telemarketers rooting for me.

I first recognized this phenomenon when a rep from my bank tried to sell me life insurance. My honest answer was, yes, I would love to buy as much as I can, but the likelihood of a looming payout guarantees your company won’t actually sell it to me.

“Thank you for your time Mr. O’Brien, and good luck.”

I have since turned down several life insurance salesmen, all of whom evolve from polite to incredibly polite during our brief calls.

I know I can visit Mexico armed with the perfect answer for anyone who tries to sell me a time-share. “Did you say “time?”, ’cause that’s the one thing I don’t have.”

I easily decline extended warranties. “Sixty bucks for another year? Let me get back to you after my next scan.” The only extended warranty I want is from my oncologist.

I will continue to exploit this rare silver lining. And not just with telemarketers. It can end any phone call, especially if the caller knows little about cancer.

“Hey mom, I gotta go. A new tumour just popped up. On my ankle. Yeah, I’m looking at it now. Okay bye, love ya!”

I am waiting to test this power in the ultimate challenge: “Sorry officer. I’m just rushing to my radiation treatment. You know, before it spreads.

“How about an official escort?”

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