The Weekend Shift: your mysterious uncle Cuba


Growing up in Tampa, Cuban culture was always in the peripheral. Sub-par Cuban sandwiches were a daily lunch option in every school cafeteria. I had Cuban teachers, Cuban friends, ate at Cuban restaurants, my parents even had a Cuban coffee phase. But as far as I was concerned, Cuba was like some long lost uncle you always heard bad things about but who still seemed kind of mysterious and intriguing.

On one hand things were so bad in the island nation that people would leave their loved ones and the only homes they’d ever known to attempt to float ninety-miles to Florida on a makeshift raft in the hopes of a better life. They’d rather risk death than stay there. That’s telling. On the other hand, the food was delectable, and they had a lot of cool classic cars and free abortions.

Uncle Cuba was rebellious. He didn’t give a fuck.

Then, he shows up 55-years after we cut him off with an invaluable bounty to share with his estranged family in the form of a super-cheap and effective lung cancer vaccine called ClimaVax. Which is freaking- how you say?...Amazing!

All this time we talked shit about Uncle Cuba and we find out he’s been quietly tinkering away on some third-world little island and uh, just, ya know, working on something that has the potential to be the best option for fighting lung cancer that’s ever existed, and he is magnanimous enough to share after how we shunned him. Wow, Tio. Maybe we misjudged you.

If you haven’t heard, Cuba has developed a lung-cancer vaccine that has minimal side effects and works to keep already formed tumors from growing or spreading to other areas of the body, essentially buying time. Unlike traditional vaccines, it’s only given once tumors are already present, so on the downside you have to actually get lung cancer to get the vaccine, but great news if you do happen to get lung cancer.

Plus, if your lifestyle choices make you a good candidate for that terrible disease, it’s nice to think that maybe by the time you grow your tumors researchers may have expounded upon it and have this thing licked. The medical community is also hopeful and reportedly optimistic that the vaccine will work on other types of cancers.

Lung cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in Cuba, likely because of all those fine cigars, but Uncle Cuba isn’t the type to give up his bad habit. He just finds a way to keep doing it and not die as quickly. Giving up vices sucks. Everybody knows that. Especially when they are part of your national identity. Much like how we love our “Apple Pie” and are therefore grateful for insulin.

If only the Russians would come up with a cure for the debilitating hangover, we could be on our way to a Utopian future. 

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