Normally, I would have laughed this off. But the corresponding note and column are works of art, and I would be depriving you all of something special if I failed to reprint them here.
So here, my friends, is The Real Mitch Albom's response to this morning's column:
from M Albom to firstname.lastname@example.org date Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 2:48 PM subject Column from Mitch Albom
I saw your scathing post from your cancer blog this morning and decided it needed correcting, so I have penned this column in your honor. I hope this smooths everything over.
Let me know if you ever are free on Tuesdays to chat.
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away. But this wasn't a normal moment. And he knew it.
It was one moment. One arm pit. One lump. Worse than a lump of coal in your stocking. It was on his lymph nodes.
Nick Cheolas has cancer. It was words that didn't go with the man.
After meeting with Nick for the first time ten days from now, one thing became clear. Nick isn't a man you feel like would ever get cancer. Not now at least. Not at the doorstep of the Bar Exam. But sometimes you walk into a bar. And it hurts. Hurts bad.
You see, what's tragic is that it isn't more tragic. This is a happy story. Really. Nick has a healthy approach to this challenge. His strong faith points him seaward - a journey of discovery he certainly won't stop believing. He will beat it. Hair be damned. Strength be diminished. Color from his face be gone. Pale to the victor, indeed.
He may move slowly for the next few months, a thin man with heavy burdens.
But that is all it takes. One moment. One arm pit. One lump. To send your dreams deferring.
But only for a moment, he says. He talks and we admire.
You need to think about it. How many of us would do what Nick is doing? How many would approach the assembly line of life with such blue collar fortitude? How many titans of finance would go back to being a bank teller? How many of us would be able to drink a gallon of milk and go run a marathon? Does any of this have anything to do with Nick? No. And that is exactly the point.
Cancer makes no sense. None. It sneaks from the dark corners of our life plans. There is nothing trivial about that. Cancer has no place in our twenty-somethings. Syphilis, maybe. Mono, certainly. Sclerosis of the liver, perhaps. But cancer? Not now. Hopefully not ever.
Cancer at any age can make someone feel isolated - at least until a former student comes and visits you. But Nick is not isolated. There is support for him. We have his back. Even as cancer has the rest of him.
We know cancer can't win. Kill your children, kill your city. We can't let that happen to Nick. And he can't do this alone. We have to be pulling for him together. There is already one division in Nick's life. Its address is 436. There can't be another.
One moment. One arm pit. One lump. No more.
It is our moment. Our arm pit. Our lump.