I Am Bee Mice Elf

“It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.” ~W.C. Fields

Erica – A living Comet A Dirty Snowball

Written By: IAmBeeMiceElf - Apr• 26•18

Comets are often referred to as “dirty snowballs.”  says these people .   I was not aware of that until I looked it up for this story. I have to laugh, because I love describing my friend as a dirty snowball – But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The obvious first question is, who is Erica? Erica Chase-Salerno was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in the Summer of 2015.  Read the story of her journey via her own words HERE. This is the story of the curve in her road where she intersected with me. I had  heard about Erica before meeting with her in real life. She had a rather large online presence and local following through her columns in Kids Almanac. She was married to a former high school classmate of mine. I had seen her posts and comments on mutual friends walls (we currently have 43).    I live in a small town, everyone either knows you or knows someone who knows you. There is no way not to know Erica, there is no way not to know me, yet, we did not know each other.

Right now, I need to be up front and admit, I have a measurable degree of “paranoia” –or as I like to refer to it as a jungle survival skill– about my townsfolk.  I wanted to like her, she had liked some of my comments, she had agreed with some things I had said, but EVERYONE liked her which usually means you’re spineless or you’re wishy washy or afraid to make a statement or a go with the flow not to make waves – or some other character flaw that usually prevents me from having any kind of respect for you.  Not to mention that people dislike me, I have town, school, and police agendas and meeting minutes to prove this; so when I’m cautious of people’s intentions, it’s not fully unjustified.  Approximately 3 seconds after meeting Erica “in real life” I realized… she was a dirty snowball!

I was sitting at the Main Street Bistro with my friend, another former classmate of her husband, when we met. I think her husband walked out first and we acknowledged each other with a nod or a hey… and then she walked past … and I’m not sure who spoke first -because as I’ve learned, we’re kinda kindred that way- it’s just as realistic that she reached out as it is that I did — but I know it went something like this “OMG! I’m so glad to finally fucking meet you!!” met with equal enthusiasm from the other.

In her writings, she speaks of the cosmos, the stars, the celestial. She fully, happily and unapologetically admits an obsession with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Also, she loves THE Rock and comets are made of rock, but that just might be a coincidence.  In the most recent addition to her story she wrote about her “Death Room” which she named “Celestina.” Comets come from the leftovers of stars and planets formed billions of years ago. We are all billion year old carbon, but Erica is bigger than that. She’s a comet. She some how encompasses billions of years of knowledge, insight, and acceptance and shares it with us, through writing about her illness. I didn’t know her “before”, but I am assured she was quite as firey in her lust for life when she had no “reason” to be. Erica recently spoke of her urgency to try all the things and seizing the moments on the radio show No One Like You.

This story sounds like it’s becoming an ode. It’s reading like a letter to Leif Garrett in Tiger Beat magazine. But that’s the feelings she invokes in people. There’s a reason she curses like a Teamster and glows like an angel.  Only the idea of a being so advanced that she sees through things like “curse words” and “politics” – someone facing something even the strongest warriors fear and not only meeting it eye to eye but then… flipping it off by saying FUCK YOUUUUUU CANCER.  I’m going to live! I am going to emit the stardust in me and share it with my friends and anyone else who will listen! For as long as I am alive I will BE alive!

There will come a day, when I go to post a really bad pun on Erica’s wall, and then I will remember, she’s not here to see it.  She is stardust. She is golden.

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