Winnie-the-Pooh’s big cancer scare

I had a horrendous dream yesterday morning. I was walking through a half animated/half real forest. Waddling down a pretty, sun speckled trail appeared none other than Winnie-the-Pooh, your favorite “bear of very little brain.” But right behind him, waddling in hot pursuit, was ANOTHER Winnie-the-Pooh. The second Winnie had cancer! He was trying to catch the first Winnie to give him his cancer.

The only physical difference between the two was that the second, cancerous, Winnie-the-Pooh had white eyes instead of black. “Jesus Christ, Winnie, run! It’s cancer, for fuck’s sake!,” I yelled. Realizing he was in mortal danger, healthy Winnie waddled as fast as he could, big, stupid smile frozen on his face, and kept repeating over and over “Oh, bother!, Oh, bother!”

My alarm went off and I woke up in an absolute stupor. I walked to the bathroom through thick air and replayed the dream over and over while in the shower. I got into the city, still not fully awake, turned the corner at 44th and Broadway and was hit in the face with this:

Sweet Mother Mary! The big Times Square Disney store animated billboard is featuring Pooh characters. It’s as though this town is a living entity that peers into my innermost thoughts and daydreams and uses them to torment me. My iTouch shuffle does it sometimes, too.

* * *

A friend invited me over for a post-work glass of vino and a bite to eat. He lives on the Upper West Side and was home with his charming 3-year old daughter while his wife was out at a business dinner. I had some time to kill so I walked up from 54th and 6th, cut across a corner of Central Park, and then up Amsterdam Avenue into the west 70’s. The sky was a brilliant blue hue and there was just a slight twinge of a cool breeze to announce the coming of autumn.

I didn’t listen to my iTouch or bury my face in a smart phone (as many did). Instead, I did a lot of people-watching and soaked it all in. Walking up Central Park West and winding through the neighborhood, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the sense that I was surrounded by successful, happy people. People who had interesting careers and lots of friends. Pretty homes, perfect marriages, stable work they enjoyed and no financial duress. They don’t get bad haircuts, don’t drive a car with a big dent in the front quarter panel and don’t wear shoes that hurt their feet. Frankly, it made me feel kind of sad.

Now, I know better. All those people who I clandestinely envied are probably just as neurotic and I am. Possibly more so. The Upper West Side of Manhattan is one of the top two epicenters in the U.S. for neurotic behavior (the other being the Upper East Side). But it seems to me they handle their neurosis with a lot more panache and joie de vivre than I do mine. I felt melancholy.

What are we longing for? Where does all this yearning come from?

—Pina Bausch

15 thoughts on “Winnie-the-Pooh’s big cancer scare

  1. SF: I felt blue BEFORE the wine. But, as with all good spirits, I felt better after I left my friend’s apartment with a warm red wine glow. Ellie: I usually don’t remember my dreams! That’s the funny thing! Are you going to post your dream? You should. I showed you mine.

  2. looby: My greatest fear is that there is no answer. That we simply meander through life with these unfulfilled longings. SB & Dinah: In the sequel, Pooh travels to Brazil for a radical cancer treatment, unapproved by the medical community, that involves obscure jungle plants and chanting. He is joined by Piglet, who is looking to cure hit gout.

  3. Melancholy, it’s one of my favorite states of being and varies in color and shade but it’s beautiful nonetheless.Did you see the new book of Bukowski? the uncollected Notes of a Dirty Old Man? coming soon i believe.

  4. Too many typos to have left that hanging out there…Are you familiar with ancient temperment theories? The melacholic was thought to produce too much black bile (the word comes from the Greek “melas” + “khole”…”black”+”bile” respectively) and, therefore, left them gloomy or irritable. The tradition was carried well into the Renaissance and linked with most creative minds or “the artist”. Here’s how Wiki chooses to condense it into a sound/web bite:”A person who is a thoughtful ponderer has a melancholic disposition. Often very considerate and get rather worried when they could not be on time for events, melancholics can be highly creative in activities such as poetry and art – and can become preoccupied with the tragedy and cruelty in the world. A melancholic is also often a perfectionist. They are often self-reliant and independent; one negative part of being a melancholic is sometimes they can get so involved in what they are doing they forget to think of others.”There were different theories on how to regain a balancing of all the “humors” (blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm). Associations were made with the four cardinal directions, four states (wet, dry, cold & hot) and four elements (earth, air, fire & water) in order to better describe complex physio- and psychological states that we have science to do this for us today. Like astrology, it’s actually quite remarkable how accurate pre-enlightenment systems were able to classify and codify conditions and what not. Today, we would suggest going to a nutritionist to get a better sense of what our bodies need (o must avoid) in order to “be healthy” and have a balanced emotional state. We would also consult a psychiatrist who would prescribe all sorts of modern marvels in pill form.I wish I could remember what wine should offer a melancholic, but I believe you’ve demonstrated its positive effects!

  5. Ellie: Why don’t you post a dream or two and let me (us) decide if it’s boring or not!kono: Melancholy scares the hell out of me. I’m always worried I won’t pull out of it. Did NOT know about the Buk book. Thanks for the heads-up.JZ: Thanks for that thought piece. It ascribes all these admirable traits to people who are melancholic but I would gladly trade my meager talents for uninterrupted bliss. Nobody wants to be a happy idiot but if you’re happy, does it matter if people think you’re an idiot? Perhaps not. As far as turning to specific wine for a melancholic, I will do an exhaustive study and get back to you on which one was the most effective.

Vent Central:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s