An interview with the humorist and essayist about his book, Half Empty, his Academy Award-winning short film, and his recurrence of cancer:
GROSS: You were diagnosed with cancer in your 20s. Now you’re in your 40s and have a cancer diagnosis again. Are you dealing with it emotionally differently now in your 40s than you did in your 20s?
Mr. RAKOFF: Yes, I think I am. I think – well, first of all, the cancer that I had in my 20s was, I even referred to it as the dilettante cancer. You know, it was Hodgkin’s lymphoma, eminently curable and just a whole different ballgame from what I’ve got now.
And I was a little less interested in knowing about the cancer back then in my 20s. I was sort of like, well, do whatever you need to do. I’m just going to sit here and lie back and think of England.