Having cancer is really boring. Don’t get me wrong; it’s also terrifying, stressful, and exhausting. But a lot of the time, it’s just mind-numbingly boring. When I got diagnosed a few months ago, I figured I was in for some sort of spaghetti Western shootout with my rogue cells. In practice, fighting cancer mostly consists of sitting around. You sit and wait for doctor’s appointments. You sit and wait for your chemotherapy drugs to get mixed up. Then you sit in a recliner and receive the chemo. In terms of thrilling action, my fight with cancer ranks slightly above my epic teenage duel with the AP chemistry exam.
I’m incredibly fortunate to be receiving treatment at one of the country’s top hospitals, and better yet, it’s only three subway stops away from mental_floss HQ. The one downside to this amazing place is that the selection of reading material in the waiting rooms is pretty weak. The only magazines are ones that get left behind by previous patients, which largely results in an eclectic mix of trade mags. (I’m sure Paper Age and National Guard are both fine publications, but they’re not exactly general interest titles.)
One of the perks of working for a magazine, though, is that you inevitably end up with a giant pile of back issues in your apartment. So I started pulling old copies of mental_floss off of my pile at home and leaving one or two on the waiting room tables when I went in for treatment. Patients and their family members can spend the better part of a day waiting and receiving therapy, so I figured they probably wouldn't mind reading back issues.
When I went in for chemo on Friday, I saw three different people reading old issues of mental_floss and smiling. If our mag can make things even marginally less grim and tedious for these folks, we’re delighted to help.
When I told our co-founders Will and Mangesh what I’d been doing, they had a great idea: We should donate a pile of issues to other places that could use a little cheery reading material. So if you’ve got a location where some mental_floss love would brighten things up, tell us about it in the comments or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. After the holidays, we’ll dig into our stockpile of back issues and pick a bunch of places to send a year’s worth of reading material. So let’s hear your suggestions!
And if you're in a waiting room today and need immediate entertainment, grab a tablet and you can download the last few issues free.