An Appeal

Um.

My Dad appears to be dying. And I’m pretty much broke.

He lives in a little town in California; I live in a little town in upstate New York.

I haven’t been in very close contact with him the last few years, but it hasn’t been all my doing. The rough-barked cowboy bastard had his phone switched off a year or so back, and his lifelong habit is to never return letters or calls, so most of our contact has been one-way, through the mail. I set him up an email account about a year back, and wrote him the details of how easy it was to use, and where he could access it – the local library, which is on his way to town. His response: “I don’t do computers.”

So, uh, I’m going to ask for donations, so I can maybe get there to see him. Okay? Crap, I hate this.

Anyway, I should tell you about him. He’s not my father, but he is my Dad. I met him when I was about 21, and we’ve been close and closer and far and farther – kind of a sine wave of family connectedness – in the going-on-40 years since. Family connectedness of a sort that I never enjoyed with my “real” father, or my stepfather. I called him Old Ranger, or Old Man; neither of us were comfortable with me saying “Dad” right out in the open air, but it was how I always thought of him.

Below is a three-parter (written a while back) that says something about what it’s all been like. Just recently, we’ve been closer than the ending of this piece suggests. I’ve talked to him a few times on his friend’s cellphone, and he actually thanked me for calling – he was genuinely glad to hear from me.

Part 1Part 2Part 3Donation Request

And damn, I’ve missed him. He’s a true mountain man, a man with the bark on, and it was always hard to be close to him, but I think both of us knew how much we cared.

Dammit, I thought there would be more time. I kinda always expected he’d be THERE somehow, and anything broken between us could be fixed.

I want to see him this one last time.

I know there are plenty of people all over in worse situations than me, and we all donate to causes nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you have a few dollars you’d like to contribute to THIS small cause, click the button:

[Donate button removed; read addendum below]

I really appreciate it, and I’ll keep you posted over the next several days on what happens.

——————————————–

I took out the donate button after getting enough to make the trip. The generosity of the FTB community has been overwhelming — thank you all for the kind words, well wishes, and donations! Special thanks to Greta Christina and PZ Myers for telling their readership about this post.

I have a flight to Los Angeles at 5:30 a.m. I’ll drive from there to the Eastern Sierra, where my Dad lives. I don’t know how many days I’ll be there. I’ll keep you all informed as much as I can while away, but I’ll be on borrowed (or library) computers, so updates may be erratic.

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About Hank Fox
  • Randomfactor

    Having a problem with the link…

  • AW

    I am also having a problem with the link.

  • http://lostinthotphotoblog.wordpress.com EvilPoet

    I’m also having trouble with the link. When I click on it I get this message: “Some required information is missing or incomplete. Please correct your entries and try again.”

  • Hank Fox

    Hopefully that’s fixed now. Thanks for letting me know!

  • scott

    - this has SCAM written all over it,, if you look at the comments the donate link does not work,,, well imagine that,, everybody has a sob story,, some are real some are not,,, this guy supposedly wrote a book that has been published, I doubt he really needs money to go see his sick “Dad” (who does not “do” computers…) this BS story was written very carefully so it could not be vetted,,,

    • Hank Fox

      Scott, ouch.

      No, it’s real.

      Thank you for the input. I think.

      I don’t know why the Donate button didn’t work, but I think I have it fixed now.

      As to having a book published and not needing money … oh boy, it would be SO great if publishing one book put you on Easy Street.

      • scott

        So why not cancel your internet connection and use that money to go see you “Dying Dad” ,,, hello.

      • Timid Atheist

        It’s pretty obvious that scott doesn’t know the first thing about publishing.

        I will take a look at my budget and do what I can to help you, Mr. Fox. I do hope you make it to see him. I know what it’s like to be isolated from family, for the past nine years I’ve lived over a thousand miles from anyone who cares about be except for my daughter.

    • amy

      If it really is a scam, what’s the difference to you?

      If scamming for money is immoral to you, why would you joke about getting money sent to you? Unless of course you are just as immoral, hypocrite.

      Are you jealous that someone is getting money and you aren’t? Therefore it’s a scam?

      In short: Fuck off.

    • konrad_arflane

      - this has SCAM written all over it,, if you look at the comments the donate link does not work,,,

      Um. Please explain why the donate link being broken indicates a scam. For a scam to work, there has to be some way to make money off it, no?

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/joeyess?feature=mhee joeyess

      What is your problem, dude? You don’t want to give, don’t. Otherwise, stfu. Man, you’re a sorry excuse for a human being, you know that?

    • http://www.themindisaterriblething.com Shripathi Kamath

      A scam requires a promise of riches back to you for your contribution.

      How does asking for a donation count as a scam, Scott?

      But wait, there’s more.

      You cite this as evidence
      <blockquote.the donate link does not work

      So someone trying to scam you has a broken link which prevents you from being scammed?

      Are you really this stupid?

  • Randomfactor

    So don’t donate, scott. It’s certainly a more plausible story than any I heard in church.

    • Hank Fox

      Random:

      It’s certainly a more plausible story than any I heard in church.

      THAT was the best thing I’ve heard in weeks! Got me laughing so hard I started coughing.

      • http://y371de.com/ Markus

        So you’re a smoker, too?

        Welcome to the Cough Club! ;-)

    • scott

      well i will agree with that,, LOL

      • http://www.themindisaterriblething.com Shripathi Kamath

        You left out a couple of commas, Scott

  • Hank Fox

    Okay, the donate button seems to be working now. If you have any more problems with it, you can directly enter my email address at PayPal.

    hankfox1 [at] gmail [dot] com

    And — ALREADY! — thank you D.S., R.D., P.P., A.W., E.V., TMCS, and others, for your generosity.

    Pam … jeez. Thank you so much. This is bringing tears to my eyes.

    • Carlie

      Just checking to be sure – the email address on the donate account isn’t exactly the same as the hankfox email address, correct?

  • scott

    Really,, ? so you have a home and an internet connection yet you cannot come up with a couple hundred dollars (MAX) to go see you “Dad” ? give me a effin break……….. if you can get on the internet you can come up with bus fare,,, you sir are full of shit ,, albeit you ARE making money off these suckers… ok,, whatever ,, you are not getting anything from me.

    • Ray Moscow

      Damn, Scott is too smart for us. I was about to send him a proposal for an important Nigerian opportunity, too.

    • wren

      Scott, my father-in-law died last year and the price for the trip for my husband and I was $500 each. It’s not cheap to get flights across country, especially last minute. Don’t be an ass about it.

    • Captain Mike

      Scott, I have no doubt that others will say this much more eloquently than I can, but I feel I must let you know how I feel.

      You, sir, are being an asshole. Also dumb.

  • Ray Moscow

    I hope you get to make that trip.

  • niftyatheist

    Good luck with this, Hank. I hope you make it out west in time to see your “dad” and talk a little.

    • niftyatheist

      Yikes, those scarequotes make it look like I was mocking your relationship. Please disregard! That wasn’t the meaning at all – I am reacting to the troll scott and making the point that whether or not this relationship was biological, this man was a “dad” to you. I respect that and empathize with you. Having lost both of my parents far too soon and far too suddenly over the past few years, I cannot bear to think of you being prevented from seeing him one last time due to financial constraints.
      Apologies for the wordy comment – just couldn’t leave that odd-looking comment above without clarifying.

      • scott

        send me some money ! my penis fell off and i need an addadicktomy ! ” a fool and his money are soon parted”.

      • scott

        BTW,, this BS story about a “Dad” is irreverent. This whole thig is just a bullshit made up story praying on the weak minded to send this clown money,, think about it,, he could use the money he is spending here to write this bullshit via his internet bill to buy a fucking bus ticket to ANYWHERE in the United States,, Remember this, “A FOOL AND HIS MONEY ARE SOON PARTED” !

        • niftyatheist

          Haha. You are too funny. And by “funny”, I mean pathetic. Why is this such a big deal to you, I wonder? Troll.

        • Lottie

          Good grief, Scott! How much do you pay your ISP? If it’s enough for a round trip ticket across the country, I think you are the fool who is being parted from his money.

          The same morons who think that someone has to be living in a box before he can ask for help are usually the same asshats who wouldn’t help out anyway because it’s your own damn fault you ended up in a box. I think it’s just a way for them to rationalize their own greed. Fuckers.

          That said, I will look over my bank account and see what I can do, Hank. I feel your pain. I do…

          • http://hartland.patch.com Jordan Genso

            I love your second paragraph. Very well put.

  • Coragyps

    Scott – to paraphrase a song about some streets somewhere in California:

    “I don’t know you but I don’t like you…”

    And I don’t see starting to, either.

    • scott

      LOL. ok, send this guy your money,, I dont care,, (“A fool and his money are soon parted”)

      • reflective

        Do I detect another unhappy Republican troll. Stop feeding it!

  • michaelswanson

    Fuck off, Scott. Who the hell are you to determine with such certainty that this man is a liar and a thief? You understand, don’t you, that calling a man a thief is a serious accusation and that you should never do so without more justification than your own burnt out cynicism. Of course he could be lying. Anyone can lie. But is he? Prove it, asshole.

    And have you even been reading this blog?

    I can’t donate to you, Hank, but I hope the best for you and the Old Man.

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  • judykomorita

    Just donated.

    Ignore Scott. You have more important things to think about.

    I hope you make it there, Hank. It’s especially important when we know we won’t be seeing them in any heaven.

  • rich rutishauser

    Just donated. Good luck to you both.

  • Mommiest

    Hank, is there an address to which someone could send a check?

  • Pieter B

    scott, I’d rather get conned every once in a while than develop a heart as petrified as yours.

  • Flea

    Good luck! (and ban the nasty troll)

  • hotshoe

    Hank, I’m sorry for you and your dad.

    I just got back from doing that trip in the opposite direction – I had to visit my father who is not dying (well, not any more than we all are) but who is very old and frail and needy. I disliked our visit: he was a bad father, psychologically abused my mother and abandoned us kids, and has never become aware of the amends he should make.

    I’d give a lot to be able to go back in the time machine just a few weeks and not spend my money on those train tickets, so that I could donate the money to you instead. I’m sure your dad deserves you so much more.

    Guessing from the photo, I don’t live in the same part of CA but if you need someone to pick you up at an airport or train station and get you out to “the ranch” maybe I can help.

    • Pieter B

      Same here, Hank. If you come through LAX or Burbank I’d be happy to help out or even just buy you a drink or a meal if you’ve got a long enough layover.

  • http://lostinthotphotoblog.wordpress.com EvilPoet

    The link worked perfectly this time, Hank. Best of luck in raising the funds. My thoughts will be with you and your Dad. Take care.

  • http://www.kevland.com/ Johnny Vector

    Scott’s right, this is almost certainly a scam. In this day and age it’s preposterously easy to just go out and start posting comments on blogs, writing so well that people remember your name, then write a book, get a place on a new blog network and proceed to write some of the most entertaining and thought provoking prose there is, for several months, all as a way to get 20 or 30 people to maybe donate something when you put out a sob story about being broke.

    Hell, you know I’d do the same. If I had any talent for writing. And that many stories to tell.

    So. No donation for you, Mister Fox (if that is your real name). Besides, I can’t afford it, I just put all my cash in your tip jar.

    Because that, Scott, is what this is. We are contributing because Hank has entertained and enlightened us, proving in the process that he is a good man, worthy of our support. That’s what you do when an artist makes your world better, and you can afford to. You throw a dollar in the hat, or the guitar case, or the PayPal button. You buy the CD, you get a T-shirt, you buy the book. And you make the world a little bit better.

    Try it sometime.

    • lurker

      Perfect sales pitch Johnny ;)

      Seriously, your musings inspired me to just donate 5€. Hank and all the other great folks at FTB more than deserve some support from me for all the food for thought, inspiration and insight into American culture (and last but not least amusement about the pathetic trolls they seem to attract) they have provided me with.

      @Hank: I hope you will be able to make the trip and find some comfort in the encounter with your dad

    • janedoe

      “You throw a dollar in the hat, or the guitar case, or the PayPal button. You buy the CD, you get a T-shirt, you buy the book. And you make the world a little bit better.”

      Exactly.

  • sk

    Just sent $5, it’s not alot, but I don’t have alot, hope it helps!

  • sk

    Re: Johnny

    Maybe, maybe not. For some reason, I am less inclined to dismiss this as BS than if it weren’t by an atheist. :) Not to say it couldn’t happen of course.

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  • Crommunist

    Wow, seriously? Scott is a piece of dogshit. There’s orders of magnitude difference between paying for an internet connection once a month and having enough cash on hand to finance a trip from New York to California. What the HELL?

    • Pieter B

      There’s orders of magnitude difference between paying for an internet connection once a month and having enough cash on hand to finance a trip from New York to California.

      Especially between small towns in both states.

  • judykomorita

    There’s nothing wrong with being skeptical of someone’s plea for help. After all, most of us are skeptics.

    But to me there is a big difference between some random person’s “Hey dudes, I need money for (x)” and a plea from someone who writes with the wisdom and intelligence we see here, day after day. And those 3 posts about his Dad I have seen before, long before he ever asked for help.

    I choose to give him a helping hand. You are not required to. But quitcherbitchin’, okay?

  • Philip

    I hope you make it there, Hank.

  • Crudely Wrott

    Hank, that picture of your Dad could be a picture of mine!

    That horse he’s settin’ on is a dead ringer for old Chesty.

    Chesty is long gone and so is Poor Ol’ Pap. I know how you’re feeling right now, pardner, and I know it’s a terrible feeling.

    I’m a’gonna set me up a Pay Pal deal and send you a little sumpthin’.

    Courage, friend.

  • Cuttlefish

    Scott, I was about to ask you where I could donate to chip in, do my part, to help buy you a clue, but I see Johnny Vector has already donated one gratis.

    I love this community.

  • Mrs Tilton

    Hank,

    sorry to hear about your dad. But I’m glad to hear you’re covered to get out and see him. Still, I’m about to tuck a small donation into your shirt-pocket because, as someone said upthread, still gotta eat once you’re out there.

    As an aside, I was tempted to join the chorus telling “scott” to go fuck himself with a rusty-nail-studded 2X4 — sideways. But then I thought that would be unfair, as he is clearly more sinned against than sinning, being the obvious product of an upbringing irreparably warped by an unholy combination of Republicanism, evangelical Christianity, the “thoughts” of Ayn Rand and having a very, very small penis. So instead I’ll just urge everybody: DNFTT.

    • Deanna Joy Lyons

      Mrs. Tilton, you are wonderful and you inspired me to do the same.

      Also, I wanted to spite the troll. Gave a bit extra just to piss him off. Much more productive for me than arguing with him. :)

      Hank, good luck on your trip. Glad you get to go see your dad.

  • james

    Hank, I hope that you are to get to see your father and say good bye to him. It is very critical for closure after his passing. All I could give is $10.00 but I know that small amounts can add up quickly.
    Warmest regards,
    James

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Camels With Hammers

    How much would it cost to get rid of scott?

  • leftwingfox

    Sent. Best wishes, Hank.

  • http://googleplus.bengrimm.net/ Ben C. O. Grimm

    Just sent a couple of bucks your way and shared your story on Twitter and Google+. We’ll get you there. Let’s be Good without God.

  • silly thesis

    Up front: best wishes, for your difficult journey.

    I hate when there are these calls for cash generate comments like those at 12 and 16: “I would sooo help you out, but I don’t have any spare money right now”.

    They usually come from fat fucks who sit on the internet all day and claim disability. These cunts are FTB regulars; all they can do is sit in their Medicaid fatmanwheelchairs and jab a stick at their keyboard to tell us how they reeeeeally wish that – after their weekly supply of bacon, cheesewhiz, pork rinds and wonder bread – they had a few bucks left over to donate.

    Here’s a hint, fatties: either give up a couple pounds of food this week, or else shut the fuck up and don’t tell us how much you care (but can’t actually give shit).

    Same goes for those who always comment when the post is about some atheist conference.

    • Toasted Rye

      I don’t like you. De lurked for a moment just to say that.

      • silly thesis

        A shit remains ungiven. Have a nice day.

        • Lottie

          I honestly can’t help feeling sorry for people who are obviously so bitter and miserable with their own lives that they can’t resist a single opportunity to lash out and attack people they don’t even know. I also feel embarrassed for them, as they seem oblivious to the fact that, in their attempts to shame and humiliate others, they’re really only making themselves look like malicious, hateful assholes. Pathetic…

  • tfkreference

    Damn, missed the fun. Scott must have taken the wrong exit on the information superhighway. For all the free entertainment, education, edification, and enlightenment I get from the FTBloggers I’d send almost any of them a few bucks–even if Ed were raising a stake for a big poker game! Have a good trip, Hank.

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  • http://icarusswims.blogspot.com Anne C. Hanna

    I’m late to the party, it seems, and I’ve never been more than an occasional silent visitor here anyway. But I just wanted to say that the story you’ve told about Charley is amazing, and I really hope your visit goes well. Whatever happens, I admire your courage in reaching out to him again at this point rather than letting the chance slip away from you. Good luck, and have a safe journey.

  • http://www.decrepitoldfool.com george.w

    Got here too late for donation but will order book.

    Here’s the thing Scott: we’ve known Hank for years. If you’re new to his writing go read whatever you can find.

  • Carlie

    I think you should leave the donate button up forever on the sidebar, just to piss off Scott.

  • http://y371de.com/ Markus

    Hi,

    I’m very sorry about you father. I just was about to donate, went here and read that you have removed the “donate” button as soon as you received the required amount.

    That’s Greatness, I would like to stress that!

    And, as I have now learned, even Rednecks can be thoughtful(l?) atheists.

  • Lance Baker

    Gidday Hank, Only just found this blog via Pharyngula. Glad to hear you got the money to cover your the travel costs. Never feel embarrassed to ask for help mate, despite the odd whining idiot with warped morals, the vast majority of people in our community are very caring and only too happy to help out if they can. I’ll keep an eye on your blog from this point on and wait with interest for updates on your situation.
    Best wishes,

    Lance Baker
    Australia

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