StrangeAppar8us back in the days of R/L facial symmetry

(Update on the condition of our blog confrere StrangeAppar8us)

StrangeAppar8us died on November 3rd. Well, actually, since he’s sitting here right now, I guess I’d have to say that either he didn’t die very much, or that he never died at all.

For a variety of reasons, Strange opted to exit this dimension of space by shooting himself in the right temple with the .32-calibre Colt 1911 pistol the US Coast Guard had issued his dad for use in World War II. The bullet made one entry hole in the right side of his face and exited from five other holes in his skulldome and opposite temple.

In the movies, anyone else who tried this would have been dead.  Strange didn’t really die; neither did a failed suicide improve the conditions of his life by any metric. In fact, the only permanent aftereffect (so far) is that the bullet evaporated 50% of his active memory and the destruction of both eyeballs. The severing of the optic nerve has made him blind for the rest of his life.

The good news: while Strange was fully committed to dying on a night some eight months past, the allure of Death now escapes him, and he is fully committed to reassembling the motives and tools that once made him one of the most dedicated writers in any arena. StrangeAppar8us wants to live. He wants to live more and better than he ever lived before. And above all, he wants to spend more time with you—my fellow ‘Roasters, who expressed their sadness at my absence, and web chums like Michael Berube and Mr. Wonderful and John Cole and Roy Edroso and Tbogg and Thers and asiangrrl and meep-meep (and endless others), who praised my work and wished me luck, and, in many cases, gave generously to the welfare fund that is currently helping to rebuild my life with talking computers and recording devices that can turn a blind man back into a writer.

Thanks to all, I am currently into my 9th month as a patient at a well-known Pittsburgh rehab clinic. I’m getting better, even if I can’t see just yet. I may never see again…but I wanted you to know that by hook or crook, I’m coming back to this blog gangbusters, even dictating every new post to Mrs. Polly, precisely as I’m doing now. (StrangeAppar8us wipes a tear from his eye, gestures to Mrs. Polly, and steps behind the theatre scenery. Mrs. Polly is drowned by applause. As sure as any doctor, she saved his life.)

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 07/26/12 at 09:30 AM • Permalink

Categories: Rumproast RelatedStrangeAppar8us

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I had this great joke all prepared about how you were a superhero, and how you could borrow my red leather and latex bondage gear and be Daredevil for Halloween.

I had the barrel of my .45 to my temple once, with a hollow-point that I had kissed in the chamber, and the hammer back.

I don’t know why I didn’t pull the trigger that night, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Welcome back, Strange.  I missed you.

I’m glad you’re back. We were a sadder, emptier place without you. Be strong, get well. We love you.

I’m sorry for the sorrow and grief that caused the original event, I’m glad to see you back, Strange. 


Thank you for coming back.  Thank you to Mrs. Polly and everyone you mentioned for all they’ve done to make that possible.

And most of all, thank you, Strange, for being you.  Your voice is too important not to be heard.

We missed you, brother.

Dearest Strange,

Not a day has gone by that I have not thought of you and wished for your recovery. 

In looking back at your past posts, I’m struck again by your brilliance, humor and absolute kindness. 

Thank you for sharing your experience with us.  I know I’m not the only person here who is so very, very glad you were not successful in your attempt. 

Mrs. Polly—the world is a better place with you in it. 

And what Lowkey said.

Strange, we’ve been doing our best to keep the home fires burning, but daily miss you like hell.

Mitt’s a tedious arsehole, but he’s providing more material than it’s humanly possible to ridicule (he’s only been in the UK 24 hours or and he’s already managed to piss off David Cameron, and quite possibly Boris Johnson, and make some serious diplomatic blunders, which must be some sort of Olympic time trial record), so we could use all the help we can get.

Keep getting well, and I’m looking forward to the bionic rantings and insights to come.

...and maybe not SOL.  Maybe with L in the process of changing.

Don’t let the bastards get you down.  Of course, they do get you down.  They get all of us down, from time to time.  (And we all have different bastards.) 

The worst thing about emotion is how CONVINCING it is at the time.  In spite of what one knows, or tries to remember.

So here’s something to remember: You have friends.

  I am grateful for whatever twist fate that allows you to continue to express the original and inspirational commentary.  Your view of the world and those who work in was in my mind skewed just enough to be able to compliment my own weirdness. 
  Words can’t express how appreciative I am to all who have helped you through and to continue on.
Blessings of peace and love to you and all.


We missed you. I’m so glad you’re in the world.

Now I’ll step back behind the scenery with you while Mrs. Polly, at center stage, has to cover her ears on account of the thunderous applause, and then, if that weren’t challenging enough, Mrs. Polly has to call for back-up as the incoming floral bouquets start raining down around her.

So then we come out from behind the scenery (it’s not just us; there’s a lot of people behind the scenery) to protect Mrs. Polly. Suddenly the whole audience understands that she’s gotten enough flowers, so they start throwing hundred dollar bills (rubber-banded into smallish manageable non-scary wads), and after that, there’s a party. Then after that, it’s good times as far as anyone can see.

And then, at some point, I’m hoping there will be a dog at your side to let you know, each moment, how far you can see.

Welcome back, Honey.

If life is a song [Dr. Who, song of the what?]. I repeat, if life is a song, we need your voice for harmony and volume.

Animals are nice to have around. Maybe when you’ve served your time at the rehab center you can surround yourself with some.


The Mad Monk Poet of Rumproast returns, and we are all the better for it. Welcome back!

This atheist lacks the right words at this moment, so will just say thank god, and welcome back.

Just to state the obvious:
You add much to the world; the wretched place doesn’t deserve you, but it does need you.

Who needs gun control?

Marksmanship training maybe.

You dumbass, brilliant, funny motherfucker.

Odd to be cheering failure, but really glad the universe intervened and gave you a second chance to cherish life and gave us more time to cherish you.

(dictated by Strange)

to meepmeep and teri:

You cannot take your own life if God has other plans for you…especially if your aim is worse than Kid Shelleen’s.

Thank you both for caring so much! Heck, thanks to ALL of you for caring that much.

Strange, today would’ve been my dad’s 79th birthday. You two would get along like gangbusters, but I really think that meeting will have to wait a few more decades.

At any rate, I can’t think of a nicer way to celebrate the natal day of one of my favorite guys than with the return from the brink of another. So virtual cake, ice cream, flowers and hugs to you and Mrs. P!

Welcome back Strange.  It is so very, very very good to see your byline up there again.

As sure as any doctor, she saved his life.

This is no exaggeration.  Thank you as well, Mrs. P.  Strange wouldn’t be where he is without her.

My wish for you is that you never find yourself devoid of hope. Peace.

welcome back Strange!  can’t fathom the next several months without the haven of rumproast and it’s writers including you.

Strange, if you don’t stay out of the abyss, I shall start singing.
So very glad you are alive.

I rarely comment here (or anywhere for that matter because I truly can’t match the level of snark) but this is one of my favorite blogs and you have been sorely missed.  Welcome back.  It’s so good to hear your voice again.

Welcome back, Strange.  I’m really looking forward to seeing all that you’ll do this time around. 

The delightfully odd (and decidedly portly) Miss Zip sends her love.

And I also extend big ups to Mrs. Polly.  I hope your knee is feeling better!

Love, Nancy

Oblo! Hugs right back. Larkspur, the greasepaint cannot hide my blushes. Thanks and blessings, all our Roasty friends. I’m reading everything to our Wondrous Strange.

And Lowkey, retroactive sigh of relief and gratitude that you’re here to help welcome Strange.

Strange, I am so fucking glad you’re back. It looks as if you’re so fucking glad you’re back, too, and that is even more thrilling.

Hi Mrs. Polly… perhaps Strange would get a kick out of the comments on Betty’s Balloon Juice post about him.  Amidst all the cauliflower advocacy, there’s a lot of Strange-love there.

Comment by seablue on 07/26/12 at 12:01 PM

I don’t reply much here anymore, but I read.  I am so happy for this.

It’s a strange, strange, world, and we are all better for the strangeness.


Oh, happy day! So glad you’re back, and thanks to Mrs. Polly, too!

It is the “mercy fuck” of side-dishes

God, I forgot about that.  Freaking brilliant.

I am *quite* pleased that you failed in this attempt.  The world would have been a poorer place without your dry wit and humor.

I’ve been to that dark place before.  I didn’t take enough belladonna to do more than trip like I just ate a bowl of Hunter S. Thompson’s breakfast cereal, and I came back with the distinct impression that the universe said “It’s not your time yet, idiot!”

You have my best wishes and thoughts for the best recovery and rehabilitation possible, 

Take care
Patrick McKinnion

Well, you’re still a good enough writer to put me in tears before breakfast. I suppose next you are going to post about orphans and widows? Maybe puppies lost in a storm? Strange, I’ve got a rep to protect here. You’re making me look like a pansy. Sniff

I am very glad you are back and I am looking forward to your thoughts on this so-comical-it-seems-fictional election cycle.

Oh, my god, Strange.  It is so fucking good to read you again, even if you’re not black (hope you remember our old joke). 

I know the abyss well, and I know the despair that can be overwhelming at times.  I hope you don’t sink into it again, but if you do, remember that there are many people who love you and who are cheering you on.  The world would be a much grimmer, much worse place without you. 

Please, let us know if there is anything else we can do for you.  Don’t hesitate.  And, a big HUZZAH to you, Mrs. P., for your unflagging dedication to Strange as he makes his way towards recovery. 

::massive group hugs::

Welcome back, brother.

So glad to have you back, Strange, and hear your voice again on this blog.

You’ve been missed.

Stick around.

Welcome back, man.  That was a brave post.  Hurry up and start posting moar!!!

Welcome back, so great to have you back at the ‘roast. 
We saved plenty of
cilantro for you!

Comment by JasonM on 07/26/12 at 02:13 PM

Just sneaking back in to post the quick post I did over at #ABLC about you, Strange.  ::hugs::

As a victim of my child’s suicide I’m glad you failed at this, though I am sorry you paid such a price for that failure.

First time commenter - way too much talent to waste on death, keep on keepin’ on.

Welcome back to the whole general mishmash, Strange. I’ve missed you every day for months and months.


{Thank you, Mrs. Polly}

Love is like a willful bird, do you want it? It flies away! Yet, when you least expect its bliss, it turns around and it’s here to stay!—Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap

You just made my week, 8ball.

Good to have you back.

Very much overjoyed to see you back.  :)

Oh, this is so wonderful to read, welcome back, Strange!  Those first few lines scared the shit out of me - damned speed reading, I thought you’d actually died!  I’m so, so glad you didn’t, 8 months ago OR today!

Welcome back into the saddle!

Welcome back! You’ve been truly missed.

Welcome back, Strange, and it’s good to see that you’re recovering. I hope that whatever pushed you toward that abyss doesn’t happen again: you really are awesomely funny and an excellent writer.

I’m glad you’re getting the support you need right now.

I read here daily and you have been missed.  I’m glad to read that you are still with us.  I had brother who tried and was successful at what was attempted.  I wish he was still here.  23 years later and I still miss my big brother. 

Keep being “Strange”, the world needs more of you.

So happy that you’re back.

Welcome back, Strange! We all missed you.

Mr. Strange, sir ... it was such a pleasure to meet you and Mrs. Polly, and I’m so glad you’re back—making the Internets a much brighter place to be.  Let the analog record show that I arrived bearing precisely the sammich I promised so long ago….

Seriously, this post makes me weepy in the best way. I’m not just glad you’re back—I’m glad you’re still with us.  This election season might just be bearable after all, if you’ll be our guide.

Welcome back, Strange. And, way cool, Mrs. Polly.

Glad to have you back, Strange!

I echo what everyone else has already said so eloquently.

We definitely missed you and are grateful to have you with us, here in this world!

Looking forward to a future full of your particular perspective to ALWAYS brighten my day!!

So keep this in mind at all times - your very words have often come across as proof to the rest of us that life is worth living…if for nothing more than the joys of getting to experience a good laugh from the witty pearls of wisdom you are kind enough to share.


Welcome back, Strange, we missed you.  You are blessed to have a friend like Mrs. Polly.

What they all said.

I haven’t got the vocab of everybody else here so I’m going to send a heartfelt message in Kiwi speak: I’m glad you fucked up killing yourself.

Lots of love to you and the wonderful Nurse Polly.

Strange-tomorrow is my 20th birthday of being sober. It it also 20 years since I laid a 10” chef’s knife against one wrist and asked God, “should I do it?”. The answer was no. It’s still one day at a time, but I have the love of my life to get me through each one. We are so fucking happy to have you back, your voice has been missed.
You’re an asshole for trying to leave us, but we love you anyway.

Thank you, Mrs Polly and crew for keeping him in the here and now.

Welcome back, Strange.  You were the reason I started coming to RumpRoast about 18 months ago.  I never miss a day and, now, I have even more reason to hang out here.  Glad you’re hanging around, too . . .

Yo Strange!

What ^^ they said!

Welcome back!

I know of you only what others have spoken; surely a man so beloved by his friends makes the universe better by being in it. Glad to have the opportunity to make your acquaintance, and I wish you well as you heal.


Strange ,welcome back.  I too have been to that dark place but if anything this rumproast community shows you is that there are people, no matter how remote, there for you.  Looking forward to your voice in the future.

Glad to have you back.

That’s Strange?

I thought it was Ozzy Osborne.

Quaker, Our Boy has been gracious enough not to fight off some of his neighbors’ attaching the nickname “Ozzy” to him, though he had the look long before most of them knew who Ozzy was. Strange should probably sue Ozzy O. for, if not copyright infringement, then sullying the brand, for those are Lennon glasses, and the brilliance, not to mention the hair, speak much more of the Egg-man than the Oz-man.

To all the dear people who have expressed their love and support for Strange, our deepest thanks. I’ve been reading Strange all the wonderful, compassionate, comments he has received from our fabulous Roast community. We are the little blog with the big, beefy heart, of which I am so very proud to be a member.

I want to import a few gems from the Rumper Room. this first was posted by Lowkey while waiting for the magical 10:30 AM hour for Strange’s comeback:




I feel like a lab that’s just heard a car door in the driveway.
Comment by Lowkey on 07/26/12 at 10:11 AM

Then, from our friend and foster-mother of Strange’s kitteh, Zip:

@ Mrs. Polly:  Over the past couple of days, I’ve been learning more about Strange, both from RR and your old blog.  I have to say, as regards the loving comments:  He deserves every one of them and more.  You just don’t see alot of that kindness nowadays and it is to be treasured.
Comment by Nancy in Detroit on 07/27/12 at 11:13 AM

And finally, this exchange, which says as much as ever needs to be said, about Strange’s return:

Man, this place positively glows now!
Comment by StringOnAStick on 07/27/12 at 05:48 PM

Aint that the truth, String, aint that the truth.
Comment by HumboldtBlue on 07/27/12 at 07:34 PM

Welcome back, Strange.

I debated making some snarky comment, then thought about just saying welcome back…

Your continuing recovery is the best news I have had in a long long time. Sincerely. Such a gifted person will continue to grace us.

The efforts of Mrs. P and others have restored a lot of faith in my belief of the compassion that humans are capable of.

I guess the best way I can say how I feel is that your strength and the compassion of those who have helped has truly lifted my heart. I’ll be beaming for the rest of the day.

Even Humboldt would admit that’s a pretty big admission from an asshole like me.

I might just go punch a Republican in your honor today.

Well, i’m late to this post, but want to say - glad you’re still here, and best wishes for the future.

I’m late with the ‘welcome back’, only because I haven’t been here regularly since your alleged retirement. I am very glad you’re back, and willing to dazzle us all with the brilliance only you could bring.

I’ve been there, several times. So far, I’ve been, depending on how you look at it, successful or unsuccessful at finding a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I have learned to not take myself too seriously, as the consequences of doing so are pretty brutal. When I quit doing the things that hurt me, I didn’t feel so bad. I was the master of my own misery, and luckily I had people around me to boot me in my ass, when I was backing into that corner I couldn’t get out of.

Looks like you’re a miracle, surrounded by a bunch of other miracles.

Ah, he does look like a faun. But no jubilant and frisky Todd Rundgren today.  Leonard Cohen will deliver the get well card. Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will
If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will

If it be your will.

Comment by that which must not be named on 08/03/12 at 11:03 AM
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