AA Gill announced in his Sunday Times restaurant review this weekend that he has cancer.
Not just a little bit of cancer, like I had, but 'an embarrassment of cancer, the full English. There is barely a morsel of offal not included. (He has) a trucker's gut-buster, gimpy, malevolent, meaty malignancy.'
This made me cry. Not because I've ever met AA (Adrian Anthony, not Alcoholics Anonymous, although more on that later), but because he is a genius and the world would be a less interesting and vibrant place without his words.
I can, I hope, make words line up on a stage and take a hesitant bow, but AA can make words do aerial acrobatics and death defying somersaults. His metaphors and analogies make me laugh out loud with their originality and utter rightness.
AA is an alcoholic which is, in my book, another reason to love him. In his early thirties a GP told him that unless he quit drinking he would only live another six months.
'It's not death that terrifies me,' Gill said, 'it's life.' And isn't that just a perfect explanation of why we drink?
Gill dried out, did the steps and was introduced to an editor at Tatler who commissioned him to write an article about his experience in rehab. The rest, as they say, was history.
It's not his years of drinking that caused AA's cancer, but his other addiction - nicotine. Despite having ditched the smokes fifteen years ago he has smoking related lung cancer.
AA says of his future: 'I don't feel I've been cheated of anything....I gave up (alcohol) when I was still young, so it was like being offered the next life. It was the real Willy Wonka golden ticket, I got a really good deal.'
So, if you're still humming and hah-ing about quitting then please just grab that golden ticket while you're still young enough to make the most of it.
And Adrian, if you ever come across this post, then thank you. Thank you for showing us all how words can change the world.
P.S. If you want to read my blog from the beginning then click here.