Everybody's Going Pink. The local grocery is festooned with pink ribbons, pink spatulas, pink cast-iron skillets, pink m&ms... and if they didn't trigger my deep-seated Barbie aversion, I might be lured in. The cause itself is laudable enough: Breast Cancer Awareness. But something seems terribly wrong about the grocery store's attempt at Corporate Philanthropic Activism. Maybe it has something to do with selling cancer-causing plastics to raise money for The Cure. Maybe it's just the visual clash between battling displays of Breast Cancer Pink and Halloween Black and Orange. The only pink thing I'm willing to purchase is a bit of deli ham, and even that triggers a mind-stomach tussle: the pretty pink meat would be greyish, if not for the addition of hazardous nitrates. Today, the stomach wins, but I walk past the teflon-coated pink skillets and plastic pink spatulas, ruefully shaking my head.
Elsewhere in Maine, however, there's a better movement afoot...or perhaps I should say abreast.
Chesley Flotten, owner of a knitting shop in Brunswick, Maine, has created an affordable prosthetic breast called the "knitted knocker." What began with a small local knitting circle has now spread worldwide, with groups of volunteers gleefully clicking their needles for a truly splendid cause. The devices are easy to make, comfortable to wear, (depending on the knitter's choice of fibers!) and much cheaper than the typical $500 post-surgery prosthetic. I'm not a skilled knitter myself, my lifetime output thus far being limited to two lumpy scarves and half a vest, but these folks inspire me to keep trying and learning. Knitting, like scything, is an example of low-tech brilliance I'd like to embrace--just as I'd like the chance to embrace all the fine, wise, funny, wonderful women whose lives have been cut short by cancer.
Want to learn more about Knitted Knockers? Try this! May your knitting be added to the great healing tapestry of all who work for justice and peace!
And, by the way, not all the pinkness is bad. Please take the time to check out Matthew Oliphant's "Pink for October" project. Another good thing to do in the name of The Cause? Re-read Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." I miss her.