Saturday, March 03, 2012

My dad is dying of cancer.

(Don't be fooled by the photo; Dad quit smoking 51 years ago when he got married. But look at how absolutely fucking cool he was/is.)
Regular readers, both fans and trolls, have probably noticed a slight increase in my anger in the comments. Well, this is the main reason why.
Father dropped out of college (English major) to get a job so he could get married. His stepfather got him a good paying job at the local DuPont chemical plant as a pipefitter. He busted his ass there for 37 years, working amongst some of the vilest substances known by/created by man. He retired with the strongest hands you could imagine, and asbestosis of the lungs.
The fact that my dad started distance running in 1968, and was still doing it when he retired at 60, saved his life. At 70, he couldn't run anymore, but he could still workout on an elliptical and kayak faster and longer than you or me. He had—it looked like—beaten the asbestosis.
Two months ago, after suffering through months of debilitating back and rib pain, he was diagnosed with third stage multiple myeloma. It is incurable. He may have six months, or six years, depending on his response to treatment.
I was so angry when hearing the bad news, I wanted to beat the shit out of somebody; the back doctor who missed the lesions on his spine in an x-ray six months ago; the CEO of DuPont (Although doctors don't know the cause of this cancer, I am 100% sure it has something to do with his time working in that fucking chemical hell.); asshole commenters.
Why am I posting this here? I needed to write about it, in public. I'm an atheist, but my mom is a devout Methodist. I've been praying through her for a miracle for my father. He does not deserve this. She does not deserve this.
To the couple of you who, for whatever reason, hate every word I type, I'm sorry for being such a jerk. I will post every one of your comments from now on. Do your worst. I have bigger worries.


Anonymous W.C.S. said...

My best friend too. I've been a proper cunt.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Let me be the first asshole commenter to say hang tough, man.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous John Proffitt said...

Terrible news I wouldn't wish on an enemy. Your copyranter work touches thousands and thousands of lives and I, for just one, wish you and your father the best. You and he deserve better.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Shaun said...

Hey CR, I've never once commented on something in here, but I LOVE your blog. Keep it up, and fuck the naysayers.

Thoughts and prayers for your dad, your mother and you.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Maven said...

The very best to you and your family as you go thru this.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Maria Alexander said...

My heart goes out to you, Mark. As a fellow human being and copywriter, I wish you and your family all the best always.

Also? FUCK cancer, the motherfucking fucker of a goddamn fucking disease. FUCK that shit.

::hugs:: if you'll have 'em.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Dalia said... <3

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi CR, I've been a reader of your blog for a bit now and I am so very sorry to hear this news.

I'm not very religious myself but I will be praying for you and your dad. No one should have to go through something like this.
Just know you have all the support in the world from so many people.

Your father is lucky to have someone who cares this much for him.
Sending love.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. My dad died of cancer more than three years ago after toiling among carcinogenic solvents at IBM for the bulk of his working life. Sending my best thoughts to your father, you, and your family.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Kirkistan said...

Hey CR--I read everyone of your posts and greatly enjoy them. I am a praying guy. So I'm gonna pray--for the whole deal. And I'm sorry.

1:25 PM  
Blogger scmgeek said...

Hi, saw your tweet. Your compassion towards your mother and father is obvious. Don't apologize for being an atheist, just be you and do it well.I won't blow sunshine up your ass, but I will say that people you don't even know are moved. --peace

1:32 PM  
Anonymous RJGNYC said...

Hoping he can beat the odds again.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Katherine said...

CR, I love this blog almost as much as I hate square-tipped acrylic nails. Don't let anyone's vitriol get to you.

There will be MANY people thinking of you and your family in the days/months ahead, myself included. Only the very best to you all.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous -1-T-M- said...

My sincere sympathy goes to you and your family at this time. Count your blessings and memories, consider yourself fortunate!

I envy the genuine, close relationship you've shared with your dad.

But enough about me... you forgot to include his stint in the Navy:

My Dad was a SCUBA diver in the Navy and for 25 subsequent years. He was/is cooler than I am/will ever be.

FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2006

PS: A bitter aftertaste, still lingering. I fail to see why you had to end your heartfelt notice, apologizing to asshole anonymous commenters and prodding them on.

1:52 PM  
Blogger shadowfax said...

Cancer Sucks. Seriously. Very sorry for you & yours.

2:13 PM  
Blogger piscescancer said...

I've never commented before, though I've been a devout follower of your blog for some time now. Just wanted to say that I'm so sorry to hear this and wish you and your family the best in this terrible situation.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear this, Mark. I have some understanding of what you're going through -- I lost my dad five years ago to a rare cancer that he probably contracted during his years in the National Guard, working at Nike Missile site. He fought that ugly beast for 13 years before it stole him away from us, at just 63 years old.

As a non-believer, I don't pray, but my heart hurts for you.

(You probably don't remember me -- I used to blog at "Knotted Knickers", when you had a blog called "I Hate Capri Pants". I still check in on you from time to time here, but I no longer have a personal blog -- just professional sites and blogs for my classes where I interact with students.)

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that tough old bastard gives it all the fight he's got.

And I'm very sorry you and your family have to go through this shit. In a truly just world, no one would have to work with those fucking chemicals.

- spencer

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Kookla-Kookla said...

Sorry Mark, it's a terrible thing cancer. My thoughts are with you, keep us updated. Love and Light to you and your family.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear. I have some religious ad friends and they'll for sure pray for you.

I was very luck to have lived through it myself.
Also, I just want to say that I love your shit. Makes my day happier.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don’t work in advertising. I read you because you write well, you offer pithy analyses on timely topics through your comments (and those of your followers) on current advertising, and you organize a blog so much better than anyone else I read, so I can unearth your earlier comments without much bother. You are a guilty pleasure. Otherwise, you are inutil.

I don’t know you, but you make me wish I did, at least better than this and your other blogs permit me. I don’t like Capri pants, either, but I don’t understand the sport of ‘fighting on ice skates,’ and have no desire to begin now.

Human life is a sexually transmitted disease that always proves fatal. Your dad has navigated well the dangers of this narrow sliver of temperatures in which we live and those of the unusually peaceful rocks on which we live. I thank him for you. Oh, I forgot: because sexually transmitted life is also statistically very difficult to achieve, you are a miracle, especially in an atheistic sort of way. Your parents, all of those through whose gene pool you travelled, deserve our thanks, because they have earned it. They worked like the dickens to have children that they probably didn’t know what to do with and they rather nicely collaborated to create you – and your father, too.

You deserve to be angry. That’s a sign of emotional health in the face of certain stimuli. I think your father’s illness qualifies. Vent. This is as good a place as any to do it. Yet, don’t dwell too long on it. This blog entry was just about right.

Now. Get back to work entertaining, enlightening and educating us. We are a sorry lump and need you. Oh. And join the crowd of us who have shared suffering with ill parents and lost them. That part of the journey does hurt a lot, but, if we are lucky, you will lose yourself in your work (and not in your lovely wife’s arms).

Regards, Joe.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad news, hang in there. About your Dupont reference and the reader comment about IBM, how did your "big Monsanto pitch" turn out?

5:35 PM  
Blogger copyranter said...

Sorry Joe, but I will be losing myself in both places.

5:36 PM  
Blogger copyranter said...

Anon, that Monsanto thing was a joke.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Aurelle said...

I'm sorry to hear this. Hang in there, wherever there is. I hope he knows how much he means to you.

long time reader, first time commenter

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear tis

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry and wish I were religious enough to pray. Suffice to say that I hope for only the best for your father, your mother, and you.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous cath said...

I'm sorry to hear this. Life can be shitty sometimes. I, too, am an atheist and don't believe in miracles; nevertheless, I hope something strange and wondrous happens, and your dad gets well.

Also, I second Maria's comment: FUCK CANCER.

11:41 PM  
Blogger phillibuster said...

I'm sorry man, I think it's safe to say that we're all pulling for him.

1:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck Cancer!

2:39 AM  
Anonymous Jesuschill said...


Me too. But it's my mum. And she's only 62. Cancer in her lungs and all over her brain. In December they told us she had a month to live. But she's still going.
I'm typing this next to her bed while she sleeps.
It's so fucking unfair that she's suffering like this. And my dad has aged a thousand years and become a complete dithering old fool overnight. And I'm suddenly the parent.
Something happens irreparably to your soul when you change your mother's nappy...

It's lame saying "hang in there" because we're all going to die. Horribly. Unfairly. The few of us who pass quietly and genctly in their sleep are so very fucking few.

Life is fucking stupid.

5:48 AM  
Anonymous bhatnaturally said...

Sorry to hear this, Mark. Wishing all the best to you and your family.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lost my father to lung cancer in 1995 when he was only 70 years old.

I read your blog and I don't know you, but let me give you some advice. Put your anger aside for now. Don't let it distract you from spending the last days with both your father and your mother. In fact, accept that it is time to grow up a little more - we get older, and our parents get older, and if things go to plan, we bury them when we are adults, which is far better than the other way around. It's your turn to be there for your parents right now. You will have plenty of time later to be angry; right now be grateful that you have the time to say "Goodbye" and "I love you." And do it as many times as you can.

I have lost both my parents. It sucks because they were great people and I miss them.

I am religious. I will include you and your family in my prayers today at Mass.

Stephanie Richer

9:24 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...

I just started to read your blog recently and love it. You are a smart, clever, twisted man. I'm so sorry about what you are going through with your father. I'm not an atheist.... I'll be praying for all of you.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Zach said...

I am a complete stranger to you and you are a tiny bit less of a stranger to me. It is really thanks to your sense of humor that has brought us "together" for the last few years that I have been reading your blog. I hope somehow, someway, that you'll find a way to use that sense of humor to get through this ordeal.

On second thought: anger makes a much stronger punchline for what you're going through.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is going to sound really terrible, but... spend some time with your father, and ask all the questions that you always wondered about. about you, him, your family, like why did uncle louie like only chocolate ice cream...

you will not regret it.


2:55 PM  
Anonymous Nellodee said...

I never comment, but I love what you do.
Fuck cancer.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Kelly Kautz said...

I'm really sorry to read this. Your rantings bring a smile to my work day. Warm wishes to you and your family.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Viktor Shutdafockv said...

Send lots of love to your dad & keep going strong.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Bert said...

You have the support from us Creative Criminals.

4:28 PM  
Blogger The Dame said...

First time I have commented on here, after lurking for ages.
I just wanted to sorry to hear the news CR.
It's a shit story you have to share with us, and I am sending you and your family much love and strength at this awful time.
You of course are feeling angry, who wouldn't? You can see from the responses here that we are open to listening to you vent as much as you need to.
Don't dwell too long on your anger though. It can be all consuming and take your attention away from the here and now.
Be with your family with love and happiness in your heart, revel in the time you have together and talk about the good times and the happy memories you clearly share.
Thank you for sharing, and thanks for the laughs and the links I have very much enjoyed.
The thoughts of an internet stranger are very much with you.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Cactus P. said...

Having been thorough this myself, my heart goes out to you. May you and your father find grace and peace in the weeks to come.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you and your family.

Mark Rice

7:34 PM  
Blogger Scamp said...

Sorry to hear this, Mark. My mother has lung cancer but has survived 2 years. Your dad sounds very fit I hope he does well.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Spit grtzr said...

sorry man

I know what it's like

8:25 PM  
Anonymous mrjohn said...

Time is your most valuable asset, spend it with your Dad.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Rashmi said...

Never commented before, started every morning browsing through your blog.

Am so sorry. My best thoughts to your dad, mum and you. He sounds like one tough guy, bet he can beat this one too.

I do pray. And I will.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's weird, I found out last week that my dad was dieing too. Cancer, that came from nowhere in his pancreas. Oh, and than I found out, same week, that I'm going to be a dad myself...I've never been more afraid in my life.

1:40 AM  
Blogger Benjamin Lukoff said...

Sorry to hear it. My father died of lung cancer in August 2000. I miss him every day. Spend as much time as you can with your dad. Tell him you love him. And you will be OK, eventually. It will take time. But you will be.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Words are inadequate to describe emotions.”
~Samuel Becket, playwright

I’m sorry I don’t have the words to make you feel better; perhaps there aren’t any. All I can tell you is that now is the time for you to be to him the man that he has always been to you. Right now, no one in the world is more important than your father.

~Harry from Edmonton

2:03 AM  
Blogger mlhefel said...

My sympathies. I too have lost my dad, I hope one day you find peace.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Jess Banda said...

My mother passed away from cancer...don't leave anything unsaid...prayers to your family.

9:36 AM  
Blogger eshmukler said...

As a regular non-commenting reader, who is also an atheist, WHO also lost someone very close to cancer, WHOSE father is also going through some shit thanks to solvents he worked with in the 70's but more importantly as a human being you and your family are in my thoughts and I wish you the best.

Hang in there and know that not all of the people who read your stuff daily are asshole trolls.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Paula Zargaj-Reynolds said...

So sorry. You and your family are in my prayers.

-- Paula

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Kurt said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and very much appreciate the time you take to craft a response to the over abundance of crap out in the world. Very sorry to hear about your dad. Life is cruel and most certainly not fair.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an asbestos attorney here in San Francisco and its awful what I see families going through all the time because corporations couldnt give a shit about the health of their employees. Best wishes to you and your family.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I'm a copywriting, Methodist cancer survivor who's married to another cancer survivor. I'm not here to judge you - just to offer up my prayers for you, your Dad and your family. For whatever it's worth, I named my cancer "Karl" - because I wanted to put a face on my enemy. With the help of some amazing doctors and through the grace of God, I've been successful in kicking "Karl's" ass for 8 years. My prayer is that your Dad kicks his own "Karl" ass and that you find the peace that passes all understanding.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous SpireaX said...

May I just say that photo of your dad is simply adorable?

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Axel said...

Lost my mum to cancer 3 years ago, it's hard and I miss her but it gets easier. Tough for my dad though, he was never a big social fella and now he's all alone (living abroad - thank goodness for text messages and Skype). Neither of us believe in God, the afterlife etc but my mother-in-law is a devout Catholic and went to a medium, and swears my mum spoke to her, despite the two never having met (the funny thing is that what she supposedly said, sounded just like what my mum would say).
I wish you and your family and loved ones all the best. I know it's easy for me to say, but time IS a great healer.

8:35 AM  
Blogger SchizoFishNChimps said...

That's fucked up. I'm sorry about your Dad.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous alison said...

My heart truly goes out to you. Cancer can be such a horrendous and shocking thing. But, remember, although your dad has cancer, he is still the same man he has always been. And, as grim as it may be, try to take this diagnosis as an opportunity to spend as much time with your parents as you can.

Cancer is cruel and vicious, but it often gives us a window of time we otherwise wouldn't get with our ailing loved ones. Cherish your father; spend as much time with him as you can, in both the good moments and the pain. You will find that the good memories are the ones that stick with you the longest.

Fuck cancer. Your father is not cancer, nor ever will he be just cancer. He is so much greater than the disease, and you and your mom deserve to have every moment of time with him that you possibly can.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Rikki said...

I'm sorry to hear about your dad. I hope you get to make the best of the time you have left together. He sounds like a remarkable person.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your dad is way fucking cool.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking as a chemist, I would say you're most likely right that the chemical exposure was related. Pipefitter in a chemical plant? Yeah... harsh. On the other hand, back in the day they had totally different concepts of risk. Just look at what happened to workers at dry cleaners. Or the dudes standing around when they tested the atomic bomb. For what it's worth, I don't think they were just trying to sucker punch your Dad, and I'm guessing they paid him quite well. From what you're saying, I'd venture that your Dad won't have too much longer to live, so I hope the doctors will focus on keeping him comfortable and on painkillers. Having been through a different yet similar situation, at some point you make your peace with dying but doing it in horrible pain is something everyone should be spared. I'll be keeping you all in my athiestic prayers. Try to focus on the time you have left.

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. Wishing all strength to your dad and you.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been where you are. Be as angry as you want. Anyone who doesn't understand can fuck off. This fellow atheist is putting out all the good vibes/mojo/whathaveyou she has for you and your family. I'm very sorry that you have to deal with this.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Nukegrrrl said...

My best wishes to you, your mom, and the wonderful sounding man that you must have inherited your balls of steel from.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous alex said...

stay strong.
recognize the luck that your life crossed path with your father.
appreciate the times together as memories no one can take from you.
pray to all that's holy that he will have no pain.
and if it is better for him to rest in peace then so be it.

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my dad died two years ago of advanced tuberculosis, and it all started because a group of doctors didn't dare to diagnose him. while they were trying to push the responsibility of diagnosis to each other, my dad slipped into an 8 month coma he never woke up from.

i understand the frustration you must be feeling now. hang tight, brother. don't give up fighting for your dad.

another copywriter

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Cara said...

My Dad was also diagnosed with stage II multiple myeloma last month. It's been crazy since. If you ever want to talk, let me know.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Gemma said...

Hi everyone, just cried reading these comments. My dad turned yellow after back pain in july last year, he had the tumour, half his pancreas and some of his stomach removed in september, then spent 8 weeks in and out of intensive care as he had a major heart attack and bleeding from his bowels (then had an op to bring part of his bowel outside his body)In january we were told that the cancer was in 16 of the 24 lymph nodes that were removed n that the cancer would come back in 12-15 months n that they wouldnt be able to save dad. dad had a scan 2 weeks ago as he has been in pain and very sick for weeks, the results were meant to be given 20.04.12, but it got brought forward to 30.03.12, at 3pm yesterday my world fell apart when we sat in that room and were told that dad doesnt have long, its in his liver, lungs and something else beginning with P (I feel guilty as I cant remember the name of it) My dads dream has always been to give 1 of his 3 daughters away and I am the first to get married on 30.06.12, I hate myself for not getting married years ago! I would do it tomorrow n cancel the booked wedding but dad is not fit to do it. How will I ever cope with losing him and knowing that he just missed his dream? I cant get married if he isnt there. love to you all from Gemma xx

7:31 PM  
Blogger Gemma said...

hi Im so sorry, when i posted what I had said about my dad n how bad I feel I didnt realise this was a blog of yours,(im bad with the internet and never do anything right) I typed into google about my dad n thought I had posted on a chat room for help (didnt mean to pour my heart out to someone thats asking for help Im so sorry) I have looked properly this time n I feel your pain xx

7:52 PM  
Blogger dy95 said...

CR, FUCK CANCER a thousand times over! I'm so sick and tired of this thief called CANCER, stealing our loved ones away from us! My Dad gave up his valiant fight against lung cancer on 7 Feb 2012. Thoughts and prayers for you and yours...

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wishing ur dad all de best with his battle , mine just passed away recently after a 7 yr fight against multiple myeloma , i hope the treatment works well 4 ur dad, it amazing what they can do , a cure would b better but make de most of the time ye got left , x

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Neil said...

I don't know you or your Father.
I stumbled across your page whilst perambulating about the interweb.

My Dad is also dying of cancer. Less than 2 weeks left they say.

I feel your pain. Your rage. Your contempt.

I am agnostic. My parents are devout catholic.

I hope your loss and mine serve to bring your (my) family closer together.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Little-Beardz said...

My Father dropped out of college - he was majoring in robotics engineering - to support myself and our family also. He worked there for 32 years. He didn't retire until the plant was closed. Now, he's 56 -just turned 56 Sunday - and dying of cancer. He was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Mulitforme last September. I know that his brain cancer came from working in the putrid factory. I love my Father very much. He raised my brother and I all alone. We had no Mother present. And now the best years of his life are being stolen from him. I want to kill someone. More realistically I am planning to kill myself once he passes. I've already bought a gun. And I've begun looking into my own prearranged funeral packages. Sorry about my own rant. I feel your pain. Wish there was a way to help you find peace.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little-beardz I had to comment when I saw your post. I don't know how long ago you posted this but I had to say something. My dad also has gbm and I feel your pain. I feel like you and I are meant to talk. Please email me at

9:17 PM  

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