Heavenly Complaint

David had been in Heaven for a little bit now, and all in all, it was quite nice for him. With a place like heaven, how could it not be everything that you’d expect?

David was a good person. That’s how he got in to the pearly gates. He died young but it wasn’t anything crazy tragic. Of course dying young is a terrible thing to happen. Especially for your family. But David’s death was pretty great compared to most last-days-on-Earth. But David’s death was not important. Such a topic is taboo in Heaven. No, it’s what was sitting right in front of David that was the problem.

There was a fly in his soup.

David enjoyed the food in Heaven, very much. He would meet up with his friends and relatives that had passed and they would all have great conversation over food cooked by all of the greatest dead chefs. The food was always delicious and there was nothing to complain about.

Except this damn fly in David’s soup.

David wondered how the small creature even made it’s way into his broccoli and cheese soup. Was this a prank? Were there practical jokes in Heaven? David remembered that this was heaven and that there’s a reserved space in hell for people who play pranks.

David wondered if he should make a complaint.

But a complaint? In Heaven? It was unheard of. Literally unheard of because no one since the beginning of Heaven had made a complaint about the place.

David was hungry though. He thought about not finishing it and ordering something else. But ordering something else would be weird and he was still fairly new to Heaven and didn’t want to be that guy.

David was getting hungrier and hungrier.

The worse part about the fly was that it wasn’t completely dead. Nothing is dead in heaven so this bug was free to flop around in David’s dish, full of life. It’s almost as if the fly was in its own personal heaven. David thought about this for a second.

He didn’t want to be a murderer in Heaven.

Are bugs untouchable up here? David thought. He hadn’t really seen any type of bug since his time here but maybe they were all enjoying themselves out of sight and not having to deal with being squished by a human.

David decides to eat and work around the fly in his soup.

After more than a few attempts, David decides that this just isn’t worth it. He had lived a good life and shouldn’t have to deal with a fly in his soup. He decides that it would be a good idea to take it up with the “Big Guy.”

David left the table with the fly enjoying David’s meal more than he did.

David asked around to various friends about the best way to make a complaint. They all tried to shut him up because no one should complain in Heaven. “Just be glad you got in.” was the most popular response. “Maybe the fly would have tasted delicious?” was the least popular response.

David couldn’t stop thinking about the fly so he did his research and actually found a way to have a chat with his Creator, you know, without doing it the old fashioned way of praying. David wanted some face time with God.

After two weeks, his wish was granted by an Angel and he ordered to be available on Tuesday morning. The phone call he received was vague and when David asked where he should meet God, the Angel quickly responded, “He’ll meet you” and hung up the phone.

Tuesday came and sure enough, God was in David’s living room when he came downstairs to make his morning coffee. God was sitting on David’s couch, but it wasn’t quite sitting in the way you’d think.  It was almost like he was floating and relaxing at the same time.  God had reached true couch comfort and was ready for his meeting with David. 

“Sorry to show up like this, I am a morning person and I like to get my work done first thing.” Said God

Before David could respond, God spoke once more.

“You see David, I know all about you. I knew about your complaint before you made a complaint.”

David tried to respond.

“Hush please, I am God but I have little patience and a lot to do. Now, don’t you think that having a fly in your soup was a test? Surely you didn’t think that just making it into heaven meant that you wouldn’t be tested every now and again.”

David pondered this and started to realize what a fool he has been.

“Please don’t feel like a fool, this happens a lot. I am a forgiving omnipresent being and will let this one slide. You can still be here safely in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

David tried to thank God before he got up off the couch. In one quick maneuver God rose off the couch, he avoided the awkward grunt that most humans feel the need to let out when leaving any furniture.

“No need to thank me, It’s what I do. Just remember, next time you find something you want to complain about, just realize how much time you wasted to say it to someone who doesn’t really care.”

David changed his body language and was ready to speak.

“I do care about you, David. But it’s a universal fact that no one cares about people’s complaints. So please, unless you find out that a murderer made his or her way into Heaven, keep your complaints to yourself because now I have to think of a new way to test your patience with waiters.”

David looked down and realized that he had been short with waiters down on Earth and he should have been smart enough to realize this was a test. After all, he was in Heaven.

“Enjoy Heaven, David. We have a lot to offer here. Who knows, that fly could have tasted great?”

God exited David’s condo and left a cool breeze that only left David with uplifting spirits. David had been wrong to complain to management in Heaven and he was dedicated to live the rest of his time there with joy.

Meanwhile, God had to get on with his day and cross items off of his to-do list. His next stop would be the kitchen to fire the chef.

“Is this another one of your tests, Lord?” asked the faithful chef.

“Yeeessssss. As you know, I do like tests.” Replied The Almighty.

“Oh Master, I will keep my faith and follow you through adversity.” Cried the chef as he hung up his apron.

God rested his hand upon the chef’s shoulder and replied: 

“We’ve also had some complaints about the soup, so this is more of a judgment call.”


The Tale of the Flying Marlin

1958- The Flying Marlin was deep in the Atlantic Ocean, no one in history could quite say where- but it was deep in the swirling storms of the Atlantic. The beautiful Flying Marlin ship has begun to take on water and the crew wonders what to do next. What do you do when you’re working on the poop deck of a fishing boat and your Northern starboard begins to flood with water?

You speak with The Captain.

The Crew of the Flying Marlin raced to The Captain’s corridor and knocked hesitantly at the door.

“Sir. I uh, I mean Captain.” Said the First Mate; a bit quieter than he should have.

“What it is friends!?” The Captain replied with a jovial response.

You see, The Captain never liked a stern ship. He kept the Flying Marlin calm and efficient. The Crew took home a decent pay for fisherman in 1958 and risked their lives about once a month to a hairy situation. This was worse than hairy.

“The ship is sinking, Captain.” The First Mate formally informed The Captain.

The thick copper door swung open and the captain (not completely sober) addressed the crew.

“Alright men, the Flying Marlin is an ol’ gal but we better get her patched up soon or you’ll be delivering our latest bounty to the Devil at bottom of the Sea.

The Crew looked a little bit defeated already.

“Captain, it’s beyond repair. We need to take emergency precautions. I have a wife at home and I would like to see her and my son again.” The First Mate cried.

The Captain put his hand on the First Mate’s shoulder.

“Then let’s get you come, mate.”

The Captain ordered all of the crew to find the life rafts and take immediate (but efficient) choices in order to save the crew. When all of the rafts were set to be deployed one by one by a hoist, the crew got a bit happier and had some hope in their hearts.

The Captain had been looking upon his crew with joy as he smoked his pipe. The Captain wasn’t a big smoker, but he figured if there ever was a time to have a smoke-this was it.

The emergency life rafts were ready to go.

“All younger men first! Lets get these boys home to their family.” The First Mate shouted. Even though he was a young man himself, he knew he had obligations to The Captain.

The Crew followed orders and put the younger crew members on the life rafts. In Theory, this was a kind hearted gesture all thought up by The Captain. It wasn’t until the last life raft was out of site that everyone realized they had just saved their strongest men and The Flying Marlin was left with 16 old men.

These senior portions of The Crew were gentlemen who lived on the sea their whole life. They had been with The Flying Marlin since she first set sail and most of them lost some fingers in the process. Moral was low but no one was giving up.

The Last Minutes

Now, with a ship full of old men in galoshes aboard a vessel that is now taking on massive amounts of the salty sea… The Crew began to panic and the mood was sinking just as quickly as the ship. The Crew of the Flying Marlin began to fight the Atlantic with a bit of a chill down their spine.

“Captain! What now!?” Shouted the First mate from the Southern Side.

The Flying Marlin was in full Titanic Mode.

The Captain stopped puffing his pipe because by now it was raining and he found it annoying to light a match every 30 seconds, only to have it whiffed out by the surrounding elements.

The Captain responded just before the crew got anxious.

“We are going build our own life rafts, gentleman!” The captain informed everyone.

“Find whatever you can and make a life raft. We have some time and I know all of you are good with tools and creativity.”

 The Captain pointed to his First Mate.

“We used to install fencing around the old factory together.”

The Captain pointed to his Second Mate.

“We’ve known each other since Mrs. Goldman’s science class!”

The Captain pointed to his Third Mate.

“And we were on the same little league team!”

“Go Badgers!” They said in unison.

“Lets lay this bastard of a ship down and save our lives!” The Captain screamed. The Crew shouted with cheer and hope.

The Crew began to search for all the materials they could find in order to float and stay alive. The situation was the perfect blend of  every-man-for-himself- mixed with together-on-the-Flying-Marlin.

Doors. Furniture. Art Work.  The crew began using their best imagination and building their life rafts for the chance of surviving this daunting situation.

The Captain was happy and wished he was able to smoke his pipe again because he thought it would be the perfect time. But again, the surrounding conditions weren’t allowing it. The Captain crossed his arms and smiled.

You’d think with the very few skills that The Crew had, it would take some time to build a raft. You’d be surprised at how quick an Old Man can build a life raft when he is facing death at sea. A little over an hour, all of The Crew members had built their own rafts.

Some of them had individual rafts with beautiful nautical furnishings and some men decide to work together and build a group raft to save each other’s lives. The men completed their projects just in time because the ship was sinking fast now and they were awaiting orders from The Captain.

“Captain! We have completed your orders to build ourselves a raft. To our own surprise, it worked out pretty well!” The First mate shouted.

“When shall we set sail!?” Cried the Second Mate.

“We shall set sail immediately! This old girl of a ship is about to guzzle all the water she can handle and I don’t want to be on board when she takes her last breath!” Proclaimed The Captain.

The Crew all looked puzzled at The Captain. The Crew knew why, but the Captain looked puzzled back because he had no idea what was happening.

“What in the hell are you looking at men!? Lets move!” Their Captain ordered.

The First mate removed his hat and brought it to his chest as if he was about to deliver bad news.

“Captain, while we were building our life rafts, we figured you were building one too. Did you not?” The First Mate replied.

“Are you fucking serious!?”

The Captain rarely cursed but he figured now was the perfect time.

The Second Mate took off his hat. The Captain had just seen this move from the First Mate so he braced himself for more bad news.

“Captain, we honestly thought you were going down with the ship once we noticed you just watching us and smiling. I mean, The Flying Marlin is your vessel and when you didn’t move a muscle to make a life raft, we wanted to honor your solitude because we figured you were about to die.” The Second Mate reported.

“I’m not suicidal! I want off of this drafty old ship! Please! One of you must have room for me!” The Captain cried out.

The Crew looked around at each other’s life rafts. Even though they all looked pretty solid, and were all floating quite well by this time- they had no room for a portly, old Captain. And The Captain knew this now.

The Captain removed his hat and placed it to his chest. The crew knew bad news was coming because it’s not like this was an original move or anything.

“My Crew, friends, and family, I wish you the best and hope you get back to land safely. Just be aware that there are quite a few sharks in these waters and that we are probably headed towards a recession of some kind, so maybe find a new profession when you hit dry land.”

Some of The Crew began to cry. At this point, The Captain was on the very last few feet of his ship and the rest of his crew was safely on their rickety rafts.  The Captain gave his official hat to his First Mate and saluted him.

“May you all always remember what happened here on The Flying Marlin.”

The Captain whipped out his tobacco pipe and puffed away as he descended into the ocean with The Flying Marlin.

After the last bubble from The Captain’s breathe came to the surface, The Crew took a moment of silence and wiped their tears.

“Men! Lets get to safety!” The First Mate (now Captain) shouted.

The Men began to row their makeshift raft army to shore. It turns out they were not far at all from a rescue ship that was signaled by the first wave of young crew member that left the Flying Marlin earlier. When everyone was rescued, they all realized that they had been selfish not helping The Captain. But it was too late for that because the ugly sea took him under and his body was probably being eaten by the aforementioned sharks.

Years Gone By

Whenever The Crew (especially The First and Second Mate) thought of The Captain they smiled and were inspired by the courage The Captain had. They all told the tale about The Flying Marlin, especially when in the company of The Crew.

Fortunately, most of The Crew took The Captain’s advice and began new careers in carpentry. They realized the craftsmanship of their rafts and saw that they were actually pretty good with tools and wood, especially under pressure. They began a Carpenter’s Union and to this day, The Crew and their next generation of kin still operates out of Maine.

Recently, the local Historic Society holds a day in The Captain’s honor. The town builds tiny creative rafts and sets them all out to sea to sink. It’s terrible for the environment but brings a lot of joy to locals and tourists who heard the Tale of the Flying Marlin.

As far as The Captain? Some say that on a calm, warm summer night, if you salute the Atlantic Sea- you’ll smell the rich tobacco that The Captain puffed with his last breathe.

Plastic Revolution

Matthew, a young, but clear faced teenaged is addressing his peers and standing on the bench of a local ice cream parlor.

OK guys, thanks for seeing me here. I know the Frosty Freeze isn’t the best place to meet but my Mom is doing holiday shopping next door and she’s my ride.

I know what you’re all thinking. We don’t need to do this. Well, we do. We are fifteen years old and the time has come for us to become men. 

No more playing with action figures. Yes, I know it will be tough but the rewards will be awesome. I mean, who wouldn’t want to trade their super-chopping action hero for a drivers license? Or pass on our warrior quest cards to our younger siblings for a date with Chelsea Quinn from homeroom! It’s time to start acting our age, friends.

Let me tell you the good news though!  This is only temporary. We can collect our action figures and hero cards when we hit our mid life crisis. Men all over the world are doing it! Just the other day I saw a vintage pocket monster card on Ebidz.com so I know that we are not alone. YOU are not alone. Because anytime we feel the urge to buy the latest Spaceborg Power Blaster, just know how much cooler it will be to kiss Chelsea Quinn. By the way, I am only using her as an example for this scenario. We all know that she let me borrow a pencil last week so we are basically on the fast track to love.

So boys..ahem..MEN! Let’s drop our plastic toys and pick up our newfound freedom. Who’s with me!

(The crowd cheers)

Now, who can give me a ride home? My mom just texted me and said she’s gong to be running late and I don’t want to walk home alone, it’s scary.

I love you Marvin

Greetings earthlings!

When I was growing up I was greatly inspired by two Mels in my life. The first was, and still is- Mel Brooks. The second, and probably more influential was Mel Blanc- also known as “The man of a thousand voices.”

You may not know any of Mel Blanc’s work off the top of your head so let me make a quick list (just to name a few): Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, Sylvester, Speedy GonzalesYosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, and most importantly…Marvin the Martian

That’s right, as a 32 year old man I can still happily say that any time I see or hear about Marvin the Martian that it brings me joy. I will tell you one thing (followed by another thing)…I can’t stand how Marvin the Martian got the reputation of being an angry Tune. Looney? Yes. Angry? Sometimes.

We’ve all seen Marvin the Martian shirts where he is grumpy and about to lose it. If not, here is a reference:

Exhibit A: See the look in his eyes.

I will tell you why I want to defend my out-of-this-world friend: Because he’s a loner looking for love and attention. So you can probably make the connection why I liked him so much at a young age..

You’re probably asking yourself “Mark, why do you care so much?” to which I would reply “Because friends stick up for friends.”

Bugs Bunny Ain’t Shit

That’s right. Bugs has been getting all the attention since the tunes hit the media. Case in point: He is the star player on the Tune Squad! Who was Marvin the Martian in Space Jam? The fuckin’ referee…he wasn’t even asked to play on either side- even when the opposing team was FROM SPACE!

Now, I have thought about this (mostly while awake and sleep training my daughter) The referee role perfectly sums up Marvin though. He just wants to keep things fair and balanced in a world that has been turned upside down and invaded.

Back to Bugs (aint funny) Bunny…Marvin spent his career exploring space and inventing new gadgets. Only to have them blown up in his face by Bugs Bunny! Did he try to destroy earth once or twice? Sure.. but who hasn’t!?

Given the choice: I would rather have Marvin the Martian babysit than Bugs Bunny.

Just look at that bad influence!

Man’s Best Friend

Marvin had to be a good Martian because he had a faithful martian dog appropriately named K-9.

Go team!

K-9 would always obey Marvin and they would go on adventures together that were often thwarted by Bugs Bunny or worse, Duck Dodgers…

The Real Enemy

Duck Dodgers was the space version of Daffy Duck and he was a jerk. He’s pretty much the “Duff Man” super hero in Looney Tunes that tried to destroy Marvin at all costs.

Such a bad leader…

Marvin would be minding his own business and exploring planets. Then, when he would successfully find new territory…and being the marketing genius he is- he would plant his flag into the ground.

Then Duck Dodgers would come along and zap him and take his land. WHAT AN ASS!

Who prevailed? Duck (dickhead) Dodgers. He even got his own spinoff tv series on Cartoon Network appropriately named: Duck Dodgers. At least he and Marvin teamed up a little on that show to fight evil.

Notice how Marvin looks scared.

A Martian in love

Marvin even had his space sites on an out-of-this world Queen named Queen Tyr’ahnee

Can you blame him?

Unfortunately Queen Tyr’ahnee only had eyes for Duck (douche) Dodgers:

It’s lonely out here in space..

Bring this back to earth

Ok, if you don’t see my passion for re-branding Marvin the Martian- that’s fine. But at least hear me out for one last thing (see I told you there would be more).

Marvin, although he is a Martian, was the most human tune on the show. He experienced every emotion love, hate, happiness, anger, joy, loss..he felt it all!

We haven’t seen much of Marvin lately for one good reason: He’s a papa to a baby girl.

Marvin and Marcia Martian

Another reason I will keep on claiming that Marvin the Martian was the greatest tune the screen has ever seen. Thank you for your time and remember to love like a martian.

My Apologies


Dear Trailblazerblogger43,

I’m sorry- but I’m the guy that walked through your picture. I didn’t mean to, I swear. But we both know it happened and I am pretty sure you’re upset because if you tried to upload your photo to your travel blog, you saw a photo with a pale, white man in a business shirt that was in a hurry to catch his train- obviously not the type of photo that would get a lot of interest on your amateur content site.

Look, again, I’m sorry. You probably spent a lot of money traveling to New York City but you’ve got to understand, people live here and have places to go. We aren’t all tourist.

I don’t say that in a mean way, I am just trying to defend myself a little bit. Let me paint a picture of reality…I live here and I probably end up in hundreds, if not thousands of pictures a year- especially since I commonly use Grand Central Terminal as a way to see my folks in Poughkeepsie.

If I were to jump and sway my myself out of every camera pointed at me, I would be volunteering for a task that I do not want to do. My time is limited as it is and even if I was dedicated to this task, I would probably only avoid thirty percent of the photos…a failing rate.

Thank you for your understanding. Hope you enjoyed your vacation in the greatest city in the world. NYC. The Big Apple, baby.

P.S- you were facing the sun. When I took a photography class in college, the professor told us to always have the sun behind us to accent your focal point.

So, to be honest- your picture was probably ruined from the start.

Safe travels home.

Life Cycle

As you may have noticed from scrolling through the pages of this here website, I don’t exactly have consistency with the type of content that I post. If I was still a “professional” blog writer, my editor and SEO marketing manager would tell me to fix that so I can maintain my minimum wage job status while struggling through cancer recovery..(breathe).

Sorry- did I get off on a tangent?

Anyway, happy to report that I no longer take orders from a blog manager, influencer, SEO commander, or whatever-the-hell they are calling themselves. Don’t get me wrong, there jobs aren’t easy, but that life isn’t for me. (He said while he continued to write his personal blog for free).

Look, I didn’t really plan on posting that much on here. But my ego got super boosted when I saw that a lot of people seemed to have been responding to what I post. So I did what any good American would do and decided to feed me ego and get ta writin’ sum more.

Side note: In my opinion, ego isn’t bad. It’s just the way you execute it…Kanye, A-Rod, and (probably) Leonardo DiCaprio would say it’s confidence and not ego that drives them. Personally, I think confidence is ego with Ray Ban sunglasses on. Neither are bad, but too much of the other will probably leave you crying in the shower…or as I call it “Tuesday.”

Man, did I get off topic. Bare with me, kinda free flowing all of this because I have been so backed up with words for so long…(ahem).

Life: what is it? why are we here? And what is better than a good turkey sandwich?

I ask these important questions because my good friends at Facebook like to have “memories” and that is what sparked this post..

I don’t have to tell you that life is weird and can’t be explained by anyone. If someone tells you they have the secret to life- ask them how much it costs and then report them to the Better Business Bureau.

Heres how Facebook wanted to let me know that life’s content isn’t consistent:

4 Years ago: I was in chemo therapy at Sloan Kettering receiving treatment and being delivered amazing banana bread (s/o to Sofiya Alexandra) totally fogged and detached. Although I think I did some writing..

8 years ago: I was working in Los Angeles and performing at iO West theatre (RIP). Our group “First World Problems” was on a long run of successful shows, depending on who you ask.

9 Years ago today, I got in my car and moved to Los Angeles. Slept on couches (s/o to Phil Tipping) until I landed in a sweet house in Eagle Rock, CA on an air mattress that had just sprung a leak…I then called my Mom to tell her how well I was doing.

10 years ago today: I boasted about making a great Turkey Sandwich.

Your biggest Influencer you follow on Instagram doesn’t need to tell you that life has ups and downs. I just told you that, so like, don’t read their post..just scroll past it; please keep reading this one though because I promise I am almost done.

(clears throat and straightens clip on tie)

I will never forget an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine when Detective Jake Perelta (Andy Samberg) misses out on a date with Lt. Amy Santiago ( Melissa Fumero) to a well respected and super-star colleague: Detective Dave Majors (Garret Dillahunt).


The episode ends with Amy not having a great time with Dave on a date they had, mostly because she had eyes for someone else in the precinct… Jake runs into him and says “you must be pretty bummed you two didn’t hit it off.”

Dave simply replies with: “Not really, I can’t wait to see what happens to me next” and walks off.

THAT is the line that I always remember when the world is upside-down because to Dave Majors, there was no up or down..there just was- and he couldn’t wait to see what life is.

I’m going to post this on Facebook so I get a memory of memories that I shared because I want to remember how happy I am today. (S/O to my amazing wife Jade and our “sweet pea”).


*S/O to the writers of Season 2 Epsisode 21


Welcome To Chemo Land

A lot of dear friends and family have been asking me “how is everything going?” And it’s a very innocent question but sometimes it gets tiring for someone going through cancer. It’s not because I don’t want to answer, but mostly because I don’t always have the energy to.

So I have decided to shed some light on what it feels like to go through Chemo Land.

After what feels like a swift diagnoses from your doctor, you are requested to take your ticket to the cancer train and get on it. Yes, you could miss your train but it would be beneficial if you got on.

You ask your doctor if relatives and friends are allowed to enter Chemo Land.

“Yes, but this is mostly for you to see. We promise it will help, even when it doesn’t feel like it.”

With fear in my bones, I arrive at my cancer train, Gate Stage 2. I look around in hopes that I can maybe find a new friend right away. After a quick look around the gate, I’ve realized that most of the passengers are nothing like me. Yes, most of us are bald and carry our scars but there’s really no one that I see myself in. It’s probably because I don’t want to admit that we are similar but trying to stay unique through this process.

Everyone waiting at their gates have their emotions running from 1-10 and good-evil. It’s a tough crowd but no one says a word.

The Chemo Land Train pulls up to our station. I stall a bit to get in but remember all of the love I have supporting me so I take a deep breath and step on.

If you’ve ever been to Chemo Land, than you know that no one is there to help you with your baggage on the train. Most of the passengers arrive on the train with a bunch of baggage. The amount you think “shouldn’t have they left that behind?” But on the train to Chemo Land, not many people judge each other.

The train arrives at the destination faster than you’d think. But it makes me glad that the cancer train is faster than I thought it would be.

Patients or “guests” as they are called in Chemo Land, arrive to their labeled care packages. It took me some time before I found “Mark Alderson” because I had to stand in a line of “Mark’s.” And if you’ve ever met someone else with your name that you don’t like and you spark a conversation with them, it could ruin your day.

I felt loved when I saw the fantastic cards and care packages that family and friends sent me. The stack of mail was so big, that I was given 2 free “Chemo Land” reusable bags. This little win got me happy to enter.

Chemo Land is not what you’d expect it to look like. While there are roller coasters that go up and down, sweet tasting food, coffee shops, and multiple books stores, you can’t forget that doctors and the health system run Chemo Land, which can be relaxing and scary at the same time.

Before I can go far and explore for a bit, I have to check in with my doctor and get routine blood work; this is a must in Chemo Land. I learn quickly that I am going to get tired of getting poked with needles before I can go anywhere but I try to see the advantages of this place.

After my routine blood work I noticed a “Hall of Fame” exhibit being reconstructed. As I take a closer peak I spot a lot of Lance Armstrong stuff coming out and Steve Jobs stuff going in. There wasn’t much else to see because the rest of the exhibit was closed until 2016. I move along because I hope to not see the final exhibit in 2016.

With the sun still shining, I decided to go to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Library and silently open up my care package mail.

I enjoyed and even tried at a lot of the care mail that I received because a lot of them were full of good treats. With each delivery I opened I felt so much love and inspiration that it fueled my body and prepared me for the rest of my time here.

All care mail is good care mail when you’re in Chemo Land. But I make a note to respond quicker to the ones that had chocolate and gift cards in them. I appreciate people praying for me, and I believe in prayer, but chocolate can taste better than a prayer on a bad day in Chemo Land. I take a bite of a Mr. Goodbar and hope that no one will have to understand what I mean by that.

After a nice sit down, I realize that I should go explore what Chemo Land has to offer. And when you’re in Chemo Land, you should always get up and do what your body allows you to do because there are restrictions when it comes to your energy level.

I head straight for the The Realizer, a roller coaster simulated to take you through a journey of cancer. It’s a tough coaster to ride but some say that if you can keep your eyes open, it’s the best ride in Chemo Land.

I was happy to find out that the wait time for the ride wasn’t very long. I realized quickly that it’s because they shuffle you in to your cars like the ones at “The Haunted Mansion” in Disneyland. It’s very efficient and just as spooky in Chemo Land.

At first it’s a slow ride to get going, you see colors that represent certain energies that you’ll realize through cancer and how to avoid the darker colors on bad days. But it’s not totally lame because Chemo Land uses great special effects to keep everybody engaged. Every character even knew my name throughout the epilogue!

Then came the coaster part of The Realizer.

 You are strapped in fast. It’s almost painful but you forget about all of that when you see the big drop coming.

You climb and climb up to what is an inescapable fall. You wonder how you got yourself into this mess and hope that this ride will give you answers.

You fall. A type of fall that is hard to describe. Not one of the ones where the pit of your gut is rising but you get euphoria and forget all about it. No, this fall was headed straight down and left you numb. This was the first time that I realized that Chemo Land won’t always be fun. There will be a lot of ups and downs and I was headed straight down, along with 19 other strangers that signed up for this ride.

The Realizer takes you through twists and turns and a tunnel that repeats positive mantras until you see the light at the end of the tunnel until you come to a complete stop.

I step off the The Realizer a little more prepared for what Chemo Land was going to bring me. Pain, Loss, Love, and Recovery was what I felt I was in for but some guests came off The Realizer with different feelings, especially the younger ones.

I looked at my watch and realized I could spend some more time in Chemo Land before I get too exhausted and have to head off to Recovery Road. That’s when I spotted a sign up for a cancer 5k. I’ve been known to run in my past so I figured I would check it out for a good cause.

“Each spot is $35 and we ask that you fundraise for the event.” The man in the orange “We Support Cancer” hat informs me.

“Sorry, seems like a good cause but I don’t have any money. I spent all my savings just to go to Chemo Land. Maybe next year.” I lie to the volunteer.

I hate lying, but I also hate paying to exercise plus there was a line forming behind me full of enthusiastic Chemo Land guests that wanted to take the 5k challenge.

I take the free orange hat that was offered to me and put it on my head. Not because I like free stuff per say, but I needed to stay out of direct sunlight while chemotherapy was coursing through my veins. Doctors orders, you know?

I notice a well shaded over hang that has television screens and bright colors. I am a millennial so this catches my eye immediately and I go and see what it’s all about.

I quickly learn that it’s a station where you can video chat with any of your loved ones and friends for free. A service sponsored by Evian Water.

I grab a free bottle of water and called my family. Luckily they were all together in Arizona for a family reunion which is good because the Evian worker said to make all phone calls to a “10 minute minimum.” Or else I had to sign up for a year of Evian delivery.

I say my goodbyes to my family just in time and tell them all that I love them. Some of them cry but I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear or two either. It was hardest saying good-bye to my fiancee, Jade. But I know she’s always with me, because I can find her in my past, present, and future any time I want. Just not during my time in Chemo Land and that got my sad.

I purchased a quick bite to eat, which consisted of a loaded turkey sandwich and French Fries. I always get French Fries, even if those chopped and salted potatoes cost extra, I am always on board. Luckily I used my cancer card and get a free side item with my purchase.

All off a sudden I hear a siren go off in Chemo Land. Immediately I think something is wrong, but a frequent visitor assured me that it was just time for more blood work.

“They don’t let the ones with low counts stay out too late, doctors orders, you know?”

I nod and tell him that it isn’t my first time in Chemo Land, but the sound never gets less harsh to hear and the needles never get easier to take. Plus I dropped by food and that kind of bummed me out.

We all see our respected doctors and most of us get the go ahead to finish out our cycle in Chemo Land if we choose, but we have to get on the last train back to Recovery Road because that’s just as an important stop during cancer as Chemo Land.

My blood work turned out OK (given my situation) so I was cleared to stay in Chemo Land until my cycle was up. I tried to make the best of it but my brain was making it harder and harder to focus on anything the later I stayed.

All the rides made me nauseous and the on site pharmacy wouldn’t renew my anti-nausea pills on account of me wanting to over exert myself during my time in Chemo Land. They recommended that I rest, but my brain didn’t want to turn off to relax just yet. So I wandered around to see what I could do without feeling sick.

I notice an arcade and I figured that it would be fun a place to end my cycle. A lot of the games were named after various Chemo Land themes like “Cancer Blaster” that resembled “Asteroids” and “5k Runner” which was a rip off of “Temple Run” but with more ads for cancer supported companies.

I decided to play “Chemo Combat 7”. It was a gory fighting game where you battle different personifications of cancer, like Tyrannosaurus Tumor. It was cathartic, totally freeing, and full of cancer carnage.

I realized that it was my first time getting a lot of my aggression out after hearing my cancer diagnosis, I guess we all vent in different ways. Plus all the games were free and free stuff makes anyone happy, even if it’s orange hats.

I was almost finished with my one player campaign mode in the arcade when I felt a gurgle in my stomach. It was time to poop. Or not poop? Chemo Land makes it hard to do both so it’s hard to read your body most of the time.

As I rush to the bathroom I see signs for advertisements near the restrooms:

“Gotta Go? Use Colace!”

“Need A Push from your Tush? Use Sena!”

“Need to Stop Going? Try Fage’ Yogurt!”

I sit in the stall and realize that they keep this place pretty clean. It’s always nice to do your businesses in a clean environment.

After some false alarms I realize it’s just gas and maybe I should check in to see when my train leaves to Recovery Road. I was getting tired and didn’t want to be exhausted for my next visit to Chemo Land.

I run through the gift shop and bought some organic peppermint tea, the volunteer said that it would help sooth my “tummy.” Her face was nurturing as she said it and who am I to say no to anyone that says “tummy” over “stomach?” Hearing the word “stomach” always makes me feel heavy.

I grab all of my care mail and get ready for the train to Recovery Road. Another alarm goes off. This time it made me nervous because I thought I was done with my blood work and IV treatment for the day. Another guest headed toward the train notices my face of concern and helps me out.

“It’s the last call for the in-patient visitors. Aren’t we lucky we get to leave Chemo Land and come back? Some of us have to stay here until all of their cycles are up.” He bows his head and says a quick prayer that I couldn’t quite hear, that was probably the idea though.

I look back and see handfuls of in-patient visitors shuffle back into a large, not so pleasant building inside of Chemo Land. I bow my head and say a prayer because I was one bad test away from meeting new friends in there and seeing a different side of Chemo Land.

Before my train to Recovery Road arrives, protestors litter the gates and pass out flyers from unnamed blogs that cover just about everything- from proper diet routines, yoga studios, and magical healing pills. I stopped collecting them when I realized that most of the flyers slandered Chemo Land as a government con to make money off of hard-working citizens. It seemed like all of these protestors believed in this info with very little proof.

I’ve given up on feeling anger towards these unhelpful people. Attacking someone with your opinion who is in such a vulnerable state could be one of the lowest things you can do. I would never wish cancer on anyone, but I hope they reflect on their actions if they ever find themselves visiting Chemo Land.

I find my designated chair and put all of my baggage next to me so I can safely carry it with me to Recovery Road. I look around and notice that most of the train is lighter than when we first arrived. I tried not to think too hard as to why but before I could stop the conductor punched my ticket and said:

“Some of us don’t make out it of Chemo Land. Congrats on making your way to Recovery Road.”

I didn’t know how to exactly digest that sentiment but I also didn’t have too much time to think about it because I was ready to sleep before the train began its trek to Recovery Road. I was already picturing it in my mind, but still aware enough to know that I have one more visit to Chemo Land after my current Recovery Road visit before I can be deemed “cancer free.”

As rough as this whole cycle has been, I still consider myself one of the lucky ones.

I try to relax and focus on what this all means; I know I won’t find an answer now so I say a quick prayer before I fall asleep. I guess this is the part of Chemo Land where prayer beats chocolate.

Next stop: Recovery Road.