Empty The Tank
By Anders Drejer
Bring on your Wrecking Ball
Come on and take your best shoot
I have learned a lot from the working moral of Bruce Springsteen and my father and grandparents, all from a working background. My grandfather, one of the great Martins of the family tree, continued to drive to his former workplace after eventually “retiring” at 70. The excuse was that Martin was the only one who could handle the resident watch dog, a large German Shepard. So, my Grandfather was there at 06.00 every morning, seven days a week, to feed said dog and let it in to its compound. And at 18.00 every evening, less weekends, to let the dog out to watch over the Factory grounds.
My father was a Foreman at that Factory. According to legend a great foreman. He hired my cousin, Per, who looks like the rest of the Drejers. Per later built his own house on a hill. By his own hands. I have a picture of him from a few years ago, where Victoria — my youngest daughter is looking at him in awe — as she seems to be thinking “why does this man look exactly like an older version of my father”. Due to the rather messy family history of the Drejers, cousin Per is 20-odd years older than me. My father had a same age first-cousin, female, that he took care of. Her son, Johnny, looks like my twin. We are now the Elders of the clan and have to figure out how the seventh son of the other grandfather?, Martin Jensen, the woodturner, came about. (Maybe another Drejer was involved .. ? By all accounts, said person looks just like Johnny and myself as even older.
My other grandparents, Martin and Stense, eventually named Drejer (the Danish for Turner), had officially seven children. The oldest, Agnes, and the youngest, Visti — my father — were 24 years apart. Stense was a hard and productive women, it seems. There seems to be eigth children, hence Uncle Just …
Hard time come and hard times go
Somewhere, somehow — I can guess how — “Uncle Just” came along. Out of almost nowhere came Just (it is a name) came along to the family in the late 1970s. The then Elders of the clan, my father and Johnny’s father, Jørgen (also a name) took in Uncle Just and treated him like a brother. At this time, Johnny’s mother was dying of the genetic cancer that has killed all but a few of us. These were hard times indeed.
In 1980, my father died of cancer too. I was ten years old and devasted. It is was it is, as the Star Chef usually says.
Eventually, after my first-cousin, Poul, eventually died too. After Nine Hard Years. I was part of researching our genetic disorder with Poul’s doctor, aptly named Thor. It turned out that in Finland, 800 people had been identified with our genetic disorder. And what did the Finn’s do? They helped 400 and left the other 400 in the dark to their genetic destiny. Guess what? 100% of the 400 got colon cancer. And that is not all. 30 % got cancer in the urinary tract, 8 % got brain cancer and so on and so on. Thor and I calculated that my chance — having the genomic fault diagnosed — was a 200% chance of getting cancer. Add to that the 100% chance of getting cancer of prostate cancer that all males have and … you are in trouble!
The Game has been decided
So, what to do?
Thor and I devised a new treatment. The hypothesis was that all the cancer started in the Colon. We have excellent records in Denmark and I studied the family history in the archives in great detail. So, I suggested to Thor that maybe if we — as in he — removed my Colon before the disease set in, all the other cancer would not happen. This was new. Operate on the healthy was new at the time.
But, we did it. First time in world history. On May 7th, 1997, Thor removed my — as it turned out — perfectly healthy Colon and I am now over 50 and, strangely, still alive. By all accounts, I should be dead. But perhaps our hypothesis was correct …
The lesson being? You are the master of your own destiny. Hang on in there. Empty the tank. Every time!