The Fun Side of Cancer

After 20 years as a top salesman at a major company Stewart got laid off.  After 5 months with no prospects and no interviews he decided to get a full physical while he was still on Cobra. That’s when he found out that the lump in the middle of his back was actually melanoma.

The good part was that the operation to have it removed was not as bad as he thought, although it did leave a large hole in his back covered by bandages. During the healing process, he had to sleep on his stomach, and be careful when sitting in a high-backed chair.

The wound was still painful but healing when Stewart got a call for a job interview for a sales position. The company said that the salespeople they were looking for should be “aggressive”, “driven” and above all “enthusiastic”. Stewart knew he would be perfect for it.

When Stewart arrived for the interview, he was a little worried, since everyone in the place was about half his age, including his prospective boss, Mike. However,  once they got talking it was like they were old friends.  Mike was impressed with Stewart’s background. He even liked the fact that Stewart had been  out of work for so long. Mike assumed correctly that this would just make Stewart more eager to prove himself on the job.

The only thing Stewart did not mention was the cancer. He was already worried about being the old guy in the office. He definitely did not want to be the old sick guy.  In retrospect, it might have been better if Stewart had made mention of his recent surgery.

On the way out the door, Mike gave Stewart a big smile and said, “I am sure you will be hearing from us real soon.” Then to finish the interview on a really upbeat note, he gave Stewart a friendly slap on the back – exactly on the top of the healing wound.

Incredible  pain shot through Steward’s body. In a completely involuntary reaction he screamed out at the top of his lungs.


Everyone in the entire office stopped what they were doing and stared at Stewart.  He needed to make a split second decision as to what to do next. He did not make a wise choice.

Instead of simply explaining  to Mike abut the operation, Stewart, being a salesman, tried to turn his outburst into a positive event.

Stewart decided to shout at the top of his lungs a second time,


It was a risky move to make, and unfortunately it did not pay off.  The entire office continued to stare at him with open mouths. Mike slowly edged away, with a look of fear in his eyes.

Stewart left the interview and never did hear back from that company.  Apparently the people doing the hiring decided there was a difference between Enthusiastic and Insane.

Epilogue: – 3 months later Stewart did get a job at another company, whee he still works today.

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