There are a lot of characters in the blogging world, which makes it a little scary but mostly fun. So many fascinating people, funny and smart. Warm and thoughtful. Friends all over the world you would never know if it wasn't for your blog.
There aren’t many that are as big a character as my good friend Crotchety Old Man. Crotchety is cranky, natch, politically incorrect, can be vulgar, hates Bruce Springsteen and makes fun of LOL Cats (which is the funniest thing in the universe, helllllo!!!). And he tells fart jokes. All this takes place on his blog, Crotchety Old Man Yells at Cars.
If you read his blog you will discover all the above. You will also discover he can be hilarious. He is indefatigable, until recently writing a post every single day. He holds a weekly ‘Caption This’ contest, posting an outrageous photo to which dozens of people offer uproarious captions. He was voted “Humor Blogger of the Year” last year. Crotchety has a long-suffering wife who is the gracious butt of much humor. Example: He treated her to an ergonomic snow shovel by way of a thoughtful gift. Hey, he was concerned about her back.
Reading his blog further you discover more about Crotchety, also known as Joe. He writes three other blogs. “The Joy of Toast.” Esoteric, yes, but toast is good. “Yankee Fans Forever.” Pretty self explanatory and fun. Then there is “Diabetes Destroys.” And at this you discover that Crotchety has been suffering with this insidious disease for a long time. Reading “Yells at Cars” you would never would have known it, but our guy is very sick indeed.
When I first realized it, I was humbled by his matter-of-factness. There is no self pity, no whining. Just getting on with it. I had been carrying on about my own chronic illness, because of course I am the only person in the world with one, and I saw Joe’s other blog. I e-mailed him and told him how sorry and embarrassed I was that I had been so self-centered. Relax, he said, it’s all good.
As this past year has gone on, there was no way to prevent his illness from slipping into “Yells at Cars”, because he was simply so sick. But he kept going. To the extent that when he had to call 911 to get him to the hospital, he posted first to let us all know. And ended up making a funny story out of it.
So all this is pretty cool all by itself. Such a testament to a strong spirit and a loving, if exasperated, wife. But more than anything this is a great story because of the huge heart this Crotchety Old Man tries to hide from the world.
I have really struggled over the past few years since being diagnosed with MS. It drags me down and I go into hibernation mode. Joe, who I have never met, seems to have a sixth sense when I am in a bad place. If I was out of commission for too long I always got an e-mail or a note on my blog. Just a few words. Never anything sappy or sentimental. All the more moving for its simplicity. “You ok?” “What’s going on kiddo?” “Get back to writing soon” and, always, “Glad to see you back”. His down-to-earth concern was so touching, it never failed to get me moving again, even if just in baby steps.
As I write this, Joe is gravely ill with renal failure. He is facing a serious surgery tonight, dangerous for someone as sick as he is. I called him last night and he really was too weak to talk much, which made my heart hurt. So the marvelous Mrs. C. got on the phone and within seconds we were gibbering away as if we had know each other our whole lives. And what do you know, she’s a Springsteen fan!!! I think that caused Joe to roll over in his hospital bed.
So I am praying for Joe, Mrs. C and their children tonight. That Joe will get through the surgery safely. That his suffering will be eased. That he will get the best care possible from his providers. And that his family will feel peace and confidence as they wait.
Check out Joe’s blog, Crotchety Old Man Yells at Cars, and please send good, healing thoughts his way that he will be back making us laugh before we know it.