Naming the Enemy

The names of evil spirits have power. For instance, in the Harry Potter universe, people generally don’t say “Voldemort.” They refer to him as “You-Know-Who” and “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”

Lord Voldemort courtesy of Wikipedia

Courtesy of Wikipedia

By saying the evil spirit’s true name, you bring yourself to the attention of the evil spirit — and the evil spirit, once noticing you, just might choose to do more evil. To you.

The word “cancer” is a powerful name for an evil spirit, and I feel an urge to rename it when it applies to me. Calling it “cancer” feels a little like I’m putting a Voldemort-target on my cells. I want a different name to refer to the nasty cells that think they can take over my body.

My friend Shelley used to call her breast cancer “Ruby Red.” As the chemo was going in, her mantra was “Die Ruby! DIE!” And she would visualize Ruby exploding. Great image!!

My theme song is The Ride of the Valkyries (thank you Jane for this wonderful Met performance!) This is a good clip of the entire song — even if you don’t like opera, it’s worth a look. The Valkyries are part of Norse mythology. They rode winged horses and would bring fallen heroes to Valhalla–which is party city until the world ends in Ragnarok. The opera clip below is from a New York Metropolitan Opera production of Richard Wagner‘s Die Walkure. The big boards the warrior women are on represent the huge horses they ride. They’re on the battle field collecting the souls of the fallen heroes (notice they’re much larger than the skeletons they’re collecting).

I am inspired! This is a good fight song!

On the lighter side, there’s a wonderful Bugs Bunny cartoon called “What’s Opera Doc?” that has a great scene where Elmer Fudd sings “Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!” I think it’s the only cartoon where Elmer actually succeeds in killing Bugs (after all, that’s what usually happens in opera). Here is the entire cartoon. It’s not the best video quality (I think someone copied it off of their TV), but it’s good enough to give you a laugh. If you’re really paying attention, you’ll notice how the cartoonists used large colored circles — like spotlights in a real opera — to focus your attention on the “singer.”

I love this cartoon, and there’s much to be said for having a Magic Helmet. But, as was pointed out to me by some of my buddies on Facebook, Bugs is cute. Affectionate. Maybe even a welterweight, and not really equal to the battle I’m waging.

So I’ve turned my attention to something a little more serious and possibly gruesome. Lots of blood and guts and vengeance. Lots of enemies slain.

One of my favorite TV shows is “Vikings” on the History channel. I thought I could choose a bad guy from that show and name my cancer after him. Or her–there’s a character named Siggy (played by Jessalyn Gilsig) who is pretty much out for herself trying to regain her previous power and status. From Wikipedia, “She possesses a strategic mind and a tireless urge to retain (or regain) her power and influence.”

Siggy is devious. Siggy want’s her power back. Siggy is a very worthy adversary. I think I’ll call my enemy Siggy.

NOTE: Portions of this post originally appeared elsewhere. Also, I have backdated this post to preserve chronological order.