Some things you just don't joke about. Like, say, cancer. But the things we're afraid to kid about usually require the most laughter. When Jim Chastain of Norman looks back at the years since he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in his arm, he looks at all of it — the scary moments, the empowering moments and, surprisingly, the wacky moments. He captures them all in his book, "I Survived Cancer But Never Won the Tour de France.” "I don't think anybody's going to want to read a cancer book that's grim and there's no hope and just telling awful stories,” he said. "But if you can make them laugh along the way and just see how crazy life is, I think at that point in time they give you permission to go into some of the dark side, too.” Chastain will give a talk about his memoir from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Rococo, 2824 N Pennsylvania Ave. His book is honest. The funny stories make the devastation of cancer easier to digest. He shares stories of buxom nurses smashing him into a body mold and hysterical visits to his parents. He gives most parts of the book a funny spin, and he's a master of sarcasm. He is, after all, an attorney. In the introduction, he mentions choosing a book title needed "a bit of optimism.” He writes, "For I doubt anyone would care to read a book called, ‘I May Soon Die of Cancer, and the Tour de France Isn't on my Radar Screen.'” Chastain writes about the dark corners of his life among the fun stories of militant nurses and surprising body functions. He replays the thoughts he has in the shower of what life without him would be like for his wife and children. He talks about reassessing his priorities and realizing some activities of daily life are a waste of time to a man who may not have much time left. "It's just important for you to tell it like it is,” he said. "I've gotten a lot of people who have read this and have said, ‘I've had this experience. I've had that experience. I can't believe you're telling this.' That was just one of the things I felt was really, really necessary. I wasn't going to tell people what they wanted to hear. I was going to tell people this is what really happens.”
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Chastain's memoirCopies "I Survived Cancer But Never Won the Tour de France” are available at bookstores throughout the metro area. Orders may be placed at www. JimChastain.com. The book is $19.95 and printed by Hawk Publishing Group.