Keep on going…

“To blog or not to blog”, that was again the question this week but this time, dear reader, for a much more important reason. On Wednesday I lost the sight in my right eye. And it may be permanent. Pretty shocking, huh? Pretty lousy huh? That’s what I thought too and still do. But something happened since that event that has made up my mind to (for now) keep this blog going. Here’s what happened…

I received a very late comment on last week’s post (yesterday to be exact) from a sweet soul named Nadine who knew nothing of my condition yet in her sentiment innocently included the words, “… keep on even if you do not write nothing.” Well those words in some way touched me, how I can’t tell you, and they made up my mind to try and keep on blogging. Now some might say, “Aw, man, it’s just a silly blog… what’s the big deal?”  Well if you read my “Happy Birthday” post you’d know why I find this blogging stuff a big deal. And why I’ve decided to keep on even if I do not write nothing.

So how did this happen, you ask, this insane turn of events of which I write? Well, I’d like to say it happened after your friendly bartender jumped over the bar to defend some woman’s honor and an errant bottle sent him into partial darkness. Yes, I’d like to say that’s what brought this about but it simply wouldn’t be true, for everyone knows I can’t jump over the bar I have to walk around. (insert chuckle)

No, dear reader, this was the result of an arrow of fate that found its way into an artery and kept on going till settled in the middle of my eye. Forget the technical term for this mess, what it amounts to is I had a stroke in my eye. That’s what happened.

It occurred this past Wednesday as I was sitting having my lunch, thumbing through the New York Times, when this burst of light suddenly flashed into being. Just like that… POW!!! And in a matter of minutes I was off to an ophthalmologist then quickly on to a specialist, and the prognosis at day’s end was that I may never see again from my right eye. There is a glimmer of hope however, at least I choose to think so, as there exists a glimmer of light on the right periphery. But if not, if my hope and intentions fall short of the mark there are worst things in life to endure… fate’s arrow could’ve alighted in a far worse place.

As for now though (as I adjust to this new phenomenon), and because I’m having trouble with depth perception, I won’t be behind the stick this coming week. Or maybe even the next. But I will be back, in more ways than one, you can count on it.

So on a brighter note, dear reader, as we approach Thanksgiving day, we all have much to be thankful for… I know I do.

I am thankful that I can still walk along the streets of New York and see a tot in a passing stroller suddenly flash me a smile for absolutely no reason.

I’m thankful that I can still on those very same streets of New York as I proceed a little further, be stopped in my tracks when I see a dog stop in its furry tracks, wag its tail, wiggle its body and give me one of those big goofy dog grins.

I’m thankful that if I walk a little further, I can still see Joey the homeless guy sitting on his same milk crate, waiting not just for my daily contribution but our conversation that always brightens our day.

I’m thankful that if I walk just a few more blocks I can still see Central Park, during this my favorite time of year, as Mother Nature in a burst of glory sheds the last of her palette, her leaves falling gracefully down onto Earth’s cold carpet.

And I’m thankful that when I get home again, after all these sights that remain a part of my life,  I can still read my favorite authors, still watch Steelers football, still watch Curb Your Enthusiasm tomorrow as Larry David wraps up another brilliant season, and most of all, inside or outside in this great city of New York, I can still see the smiling faces of those I hold dear. Yes I’m thankful, dear reader, that beauty remains firmly in the eye of this beholder.

Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll try and put up something again next week-end.

PS: I’ve obviously not thrown a “pity party” here so please don’t you either if you leave a comment. Okay? Your friendly bartender is doing just fine, believe me. I may not, however, answer your comments (something that’s as much fun for me as actually writing the post) because for now it’s a little hard to be at the computer for long. But you will be read!

PPS: Hah! I just thought of a joke to make sure indeed this isn’t a pity party. I’m reminded of a cartoon that appeared in The New Yorker many years ago and it goes like this (although it’s funnier of course when you see the actual cartoon). A guy is in a hospital bed in that typical traction depiction. You know, his bandaged arm is raised in an L-shape, his leg is raised in a sling, in fact his entire body is wrapped in bandages and the only thing not covered is his right eye. Got the picture? Good. Because the caption under the doctor who is standing at bedside is this, “Hmmm, I don’t like the look of that eye!”  As I said, dear reader, things could be far worse.

Over and out from Bar-land… see ya’ when I see ya’.

42 Responses to “Keep on going…”


  1. 1 Paleoprof November 21, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    No pity here just a heartfelt take care and a plea to keep writing, even if you don’t have anything to say.

    P

  2. 2 blue girl November 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Pity parties stink. But, getting well wishes and lots of love and support from friends does not. I know that to be true!

    Only you, with your big heart, would write about all you see in New York the way you did in this post. Your words were beautiful.

    Well wishes and lots of love to you, Scribbler. And you know where to find me if you want to “talk”.

    Happy Thanksgiving, my friend. Hang in there.

  3. 3 Comrade PhysioProf November 21, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    You’re the best, brother.

  4. 4 leigh November 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    you show a sign of true resilience, scribbler- being glad for what you do have rather than focusing on the negative. this is more potently helpful than any medicine! my younger sibling lost sight in one eye from the same cause, and has adjusted pretty well to the “new view” with time. i wish you all the best!

  5. 5 Donna B. November 21, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Scribbler, dear… do you have any idea how fucking sexy an eye patch is??

    Not that you need one in any way at all :-)

  6. 6 Anonymoustache November 21, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Scrib50,
    Your powers of observation and perception will always overcome any problems with mere vision, my friend. Nevertheless, here’s truly hoping that the vision in your right eye returns full, and that too soon.
    The joke was, as always, great and impeccably placed. It bolstered my spirit, after reading the initial part of this post, to see that your sense of humor was still stellar. Good luck, dude, and keep on truckin…

  7. 7 chezjake November 21, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Your attitude says it all, Scribbler. This is a mere bump in the road. You’ll be an even better person from the life lessons you learn.

    That said, welcome to the club. I was born legally blind in my left eye — it’s in permanent focus about a mile out and is thus basically useless. You will learn quite quickly that you can approximate depth perception by judging relative size, but that doesn’t work for small, fast moving objects, like hockey pucks, baseballs, or golf balls. I’ve gotten to age 69 with only one eye, and I have no complaints (It even made me 4-F when they tried to draft me foor Nam.), so you should have no problem coping with only one for approximately the last half of your life.

    Be well, keep writing. I’ll be here to read.

  8. 8 goosenyc November 21, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    scribbler you are amazing…

  9. 9 Kewalo November 22, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Well Dang! I knew no good would come from those farts a couple of weeks ago. I fully blamed the gas on last weeks writers block. But this is going too damn far. Keep that farting idiot out of the bar!!

    I know you will be fine. Your spirit is too strong to allow this bump in the road to get you down.

  10. 10 Kewalo November 22, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Please fill me in if I’m losing my mind. I read your blog last Sat early. And couldn’t make up my mind what to say so I wisely said nothing. But unless I’m going crazy, those limericks weren’t there. Because I certainly wouldn’t say that someone had writers block who could just whip up 9 limericks. I am old, but damn! Now I’m going to worry all night that I’ve seriously lost it.

  11. 11 Donna B. November 22, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Just in case it comes to pass that you do lose sight in one eye, I want to point out that two people I’ve known well lost one eye (literally lost, thus the comment about patches) in accidents. One was 17, the other 40 and both have adjusted fine to monocular vision.

    Your brain (which fortunately was spared this arrow), your soul, and your wit (the fine fusion of brain and soul that is uniquely yours) are intact.

    In utter selfishness I say that’s more than enough for this blog to continue.

  12. 12 jc November 22, 2009 at 7:36 am

    LOL Donna – you beat me with the pirate comment. I’d come here if it was a blog or a blarrrgh!

    Scrib, we ain’t leavin. We carved out prime real estate seating for your stories!

  13. 13 physiobabe November 22, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Scrib, darling, you are the sexiest man I’ve ever had the pleasure of chatting with – albeit only once a week. Happy Turkey Day, my friend (Turchia giorno felice, il mio amico). I’ll be here waiting for you.

  14. 14 d-a-p November 22, 2009 at 11:20 am

    thank you for putting a wonderful perspective on Thanksgiving Day and this whole season of the year….
    d-a-p

  15. 15 isisthescientist November 22, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I love you, Scribbler.

  16. 16 Arikia November 22, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Scribbler, you are one amazing man. Whatever happens, I know your lovely stories will continue to be told, one way or another. I’m here for you.

  17. 17 Scicurious November 22, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Your post just emphasizes what an incredible person you are, Scribbler. Happy Turkey Day.

    Also, I had a pumpkin pie martini last night that was fabulous, and I thought of you!

  18. 18 Sheril R. Kirshenbaum November 22, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Keep blogging Scribbler, feel better, and have warm and happy Thanksgiving.

  19. 19 Stephanie Z November 22, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Thank you, Scribbler.

    I have been pitying myself, I’m afraid, over something that, while painful and inconveniently timed, will definitely end. As much as I promised myself I wouldn’t, well….

    Thank you for the well-timed demonstration of grace (as well as all the wonderful stories you tell). And I’ll thank you again on Thursday when we raise the glasses around the table, although it will confuse the hell out of everyone.

    Be well, and let the doctors take very good care of you, even when it feels like they’re doing anything but, and even when you never want to see another one of them.

  20. 20 BikeMonkey November 22, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Ahh, crap. Really sorry to hear the bad news Scrib. Best of luck with recovery if possible and adapting if not.

  21. 21 Pascale November 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Suck it up and keeP on blogging. Its proof that you (me, we, etc) were here at all. And make me a chocolate martini while we’re at it.
    No pity party here. But I do wish tou the best.

  22. 22 Candid Engineer November 22, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    You are awesome no matter how many functioning eyes you have. Although my advice would be to flush the affected eye with tequila. Trust me, I’m a doctor. :)

  23. 23 jd November 23, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Luckily, brains are pretty plastic. I have monocular vision, and can play tennis and drive. The only real limitations seem to be a total inability to play outfield, a lack of appreciation for 3-d movies, and difficulty navigating uneven rocky terrain without using hiking poles. The upshot is that there are about a dozen ways the brain can infer distance, when it is deprived of the simplicity of binocular vision. Things’ll seem weird until the brain gives up on the old way, and starts working on the new ones. For example, I can estimate distance using changes in eye focus, by relative motion, by parallax (i.e. relative angular motion when your head moves), and by relative sizes. I think I wind up using eye focus most heavily.

    So, it’ll suck for a while, but there’s hope for all things except Magic Eye puzzles.

  24. 24 Jennifer November 23, 2009 at 10:10 am

    A perfectly wonderful post, I’d expect nothing less. I’ll expect nothing less in the future, no matter which way things go.

    You’re in my thoughts… not pitiful thoughts, but hopeful, supportive, smart-ass thoughts. :)

  25. 25 JSaw November 23, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Hey man, hope everything works out.

    I’ll finish up the Iliad limerick for ya though…
    ;-)

  26. 26 Irishirritant November 23, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Good on you.

  27. 27 nadine November 23, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Oh,darn. If I had known you were going to use that comment I would have used better english. Let’s see ‘Keep on writing even if you write nothing’? or ‘keep on writing even if you do not write anything’?
    But alas, I missed my big chance to show how superbly intelligent I am.
    P.S. You will be on my Sunday school’s prayer list. We are a group of southern ladies from ages 70 to 92. I won’t tell you where I fit in there.

  28. 28 Abel Pharmboy November 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    You’re a tremendous and articulate man, dear scrib. Your optimism and gratitude for what you have shows the depth of your character. I hope that I am as noble as you when faced with such challenges.

    Not to tell you how to write, of course, but my only recommendation would have been to work in the Monty Python line, “It’s only a flesh wound. Come back you yellow bastards!” And I’m surprised that PhysioProf hasn’t been around to tell you yet another reason why you shouldn’t read that crap paper, the New York Times!

    I, for one, am thankful to be the beneficiary of both your writing and your friendship. If we can be of any help, you know where to find me.

    Hang in there and know that you have all the warmest wishes of the Pharmboy family.

  29. 29 Petro November 23, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks for this post. Well done.

  30. 30 Juniper Shoemaker November 24, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Nah, I won’t pity you. I will raise a glass of sparkling apple cider to you on Thursday, however. And you can’t stop me, especially because you live on the other side of the country.
    :)

  31. 31 Uncle Vinny November 24, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Holy smoke, amigo! I am so sorry to hear about your eye-stroke, and so thrilled to know that you still have full use of the other one. I completely connect with your heart-filling enjoyment of being able to walk down the street and see a happy toddler.

    Keep on keeping on, even if it’s only to hop on here and write a bunch of not writin’ nothin’…

  32. 32 Deschanel November 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I love your writing and your blog. Thanks for it, love your beautiful impressions, and your reminding me of how thankful we all should be. I grew up in Irish bars, my cop Dad in the Bronx wasn’t parent of the year. Your writing gives me such a sense of atmospherics, and personalities, so vividly, that sense of milieu.
    Sine Timore, you are. My very best to you sir.

  33. 33 Toaster November 24, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    So deep in the nerd pool am I that my first thought was not “What is the socially appropriate response?” but rather “How can I fix that with lasers?”. I daresay it’s doable, but the required technology isn’t yet small enough to avoid you looking like a Borg. That right-side glimmer is a good sign, sir! Here’s to hoping that your body is reconfiguring the pipelines instead of making scar tissue!!!

  34. 34 Ken November 24, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Hi Scribbler–

    Like Lola in Damn Yankees I never feel sorry for anybody. You must simply pick yourself up man, and get well and KEEP WRITING. Too many of us have come to depend upon our weekly trip into the holodeck of a classic old style Manhattan bar you have created.

    Many look, few see. Because you are one of the elect who do see, we in turn all spent a few vicarious nights in that former Speakeasy you preside over. One of my ambitions is to take the short trip down the interstate and sit at your wonderful bar, admire all the great old photos on the wall of the 1937 New York Giants (was that Mel Ott?) and sip on that first Jack Daniels.

    Get back in the saddle, Scrib. All of us Jack Daniels drinkers are depending upon you.

  35. 35 Donna B. November 24, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    As I was reading the post, I had a thought that slipped my mind by the end… and that was about those smiling tots.

    That they smile at you is a recognition of you as a sucker. They’ve got your number, you see? They know that gifted with a mere smile, you are one that will go to great lengths to see that they have everything their tiny little hearts desire… and although that may be milk and tickles for them now, they’ve correctly tagged you as a sucker.

    A sucker for humanity, that is. You know what it takes to be a sucker of this sort? Knowing. A knowing of goodness and kindness, a knowing of right and wrong… and a knowing of when to judge and not judge… when to walk from behind the bar and when not to.

    Those dogs that wag their tales with goofy grins when you pass by? They’ve got your number too. They know you’d be there with the beef jerky treat as readily as the Jack Daniels.

    And… yeah, I’ve got your number too, you big old softy. That’s why I love this blog, and know that you’d treat my ugly fat redneck butt kindly if it ever gets the chance to sit at your bar, whether you can see it or not.

  36. 36 Chris November 25, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Keep on trucking brother. I was turned onto your blog by Wolcott and have not been disappointed. Do your best to keep your spirits up and I hope things turn out for the best. I will continue reading as long as you continue to write.

  37. 37 Gingerale November 25, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Isis wants you to remember: she loves you.

  38. 38 M.A.Peel November 25, 2009 at 8:14 am

    I’ve got 2 words for you: Hathaway man.
    And don’t you love how New Yorker cartoons sear themselves into your brain. I remember that one too. Happy T-Day.

  39. 39 siobhan November 25, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you for the Thanksgiving Day reminders – I’ll raise a glass tomorrow to the hope that the glimmer of light out of the corner of your eye indeed signifies your return to 20/20. Regardless, thanks for keeping your Saturday bar in business!

  40. 40 Rob ert1014 November 26, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Years ago I had a drawing teacher at the Art Students League who had had a similar thing happen to her: one day she awakened to find the sight in one of her eyes–and I can’t recall which one–had gone dim, then was simply gone. As I recall her telling, they never did really know what happened…perhaps it was also a “stroke in the eye” as has happened with you. Nonetheless, she maintained her teaching schedule at the League and to watch her draw, one would never have known she was blind in one eye. Amazing! (Sadly, she later died of unrelated cancer.)

    Well, we are all prey to the ills of the flesh, so we must be thankful for the health we have. Here’s to you!

  41. 41 Terry Nolan November 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Hang in there buddy. BR called and told me. Great site,very funny. He got a new hip. The other op they
    couldn’t do. Irish curse or something . We will see you behind the stick soon T , B & The Princess

  42. 42 mvpalex December 17, 2009 at 12:48 am

    That’s what you get for reading the NY Times! Just some levity pal. I wish you all the best and I know you will come back even stronger, so what if you miss the glass a few times, your writing is always on target. GOD BLESS


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