Friday, February 27, 2009

Gee, that face is familiar

Early last month, the optometrist down the block from my office threw up a large sign in his storefront window promoting free eye exams.

The sign shows a smiling, middle-aged couple relaxing at what looks like a beach. The guy is wearing a beige sweater, powder blue shirt and a pair of eyeglasses, and the woman is sporting a white turtleneck sweater.

Every time I went for a walk and found myself standing at that corner where the optometrist is located, I stared at the couple and asked myself, "Where do I know you two from?"

I figured it out the first week that I began radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

One night, I spent time reading a 50-page brochure titled "Your Guide to Radiation Therapy,"which I picked up at Kaiser's Radiation and Oncology Department. After closing the booklet, I took another look at the woman featured on the cover.

It was the same woman in the sign at the optometrist's shop!

Not only did the cover of the radiation therapy brochure feature the same woman, she was wearing the same white turtleneck sweater, her hair was styled the same way, she was wearing the same jewelry, and the photo was taken with that same sandy shore in the background.

And inside the booklet, on Page 3, there was another photo of her, next to the same guy in the sign at the optometrist's shop.

When I first spotted this brochure, and laid my eyes on this woman and her companion, I thought that maybe someday I would run into them as I zip around Kaiser, accessing services for cancer patients.

Now I'm not so sure. I guess that there is a strong possibility that these folks are models cherry-picked from a digital image warehouse to splash onto the radiation brochure.

I wonder where I'll see them next?

Maybe Radiation Lady is hiding a tattoo beneath her turtleneck and I'll spot her at the newsstand on the cover of Biker Chick magazine.

Maybe she and Cancer Dude, in addition to monitoring their eyesight and keeping on top of their risk for cancer, also make sure they get enough fiber in their diet and I'll see them on a cereal box in the breakfast aisle at the grocery store.

Or maybe I'll spot Radiation Lady on the back of a dust jacket for a best-selling novel written by an author whose real mug is too homely to move books off shelves.

One thing is certain: Whatever they decide to shill next, Radiation Lady and Cancer Dude are both part of my life now.

At least until my cancer goes into remission and the optometrist down the street changes his marketing campaign.

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