Site Outage, and Why I Do This
Apologies for the downtime of late — we lost a database server, among other things, that kept things offline much longer than we would have liked. As for the “among other things,” well, that’s what I wanted to talk about.
Another reason for the long outage was the death of my father weekend before last. It hit me pretty hard, and as the technical guy behind all of this I admit the site became a lower priority for me than it always has been since we launched the place. Because of that, the outage lasted much longer than I would typically accept.
I had a great father. Smart, caring, supportive, and everything a father should be. I’ll always remember him as he seemed when I was a child: big, strong, funny, and completely invincible. Unfortunately, that all changed several years ago when my father was diagnosed with cancer in his tongue and throat, brought on from years of smoking Marlboro Reds (also my brand of choice, no doubt from a misguided attempt to be more like my dad).
It wasn’t the cancer that destroyed him, so much as the treatment. Doctors went after the cancer with aggressive treatments like surgery and radiation therapy, and while my father’s life was saved, it was effectively ruined. He spent the following years in sever pain, no longer the strong, imposing, energetic man he was. Almost overnight, he became emaciated and frail, appearing and acting much, much older than he was. He could only spend minutes at a time with family and friends before he’d have to withdraw to be alone with his pain.
As I was thinking of my father in these days following his death, it occurred to me that, in a large way, he has been a driving force behind why I started this site. It’s no secret that smoking kills — but it doesn’t just kill, it does it in horrible, ugly ways that can leave people facing unendurable suffering of the kind that finally claimed my father.
I think of my father, and believe in my heart that while I have strived over the years in many ways to be more like him, picking up e-cigarettes and getting myself off the Marlboro Reds could very well spare me from being like he was for those horrible years at the end of his life, when cancer and the treatments for it turned him into a pale, emaciated shadow of the man I remember.
Every person spared from that kind of suffering is a victory, and that’s a huge reason why I stay excited about running this site, and about the inroads e-cigarettes have been making despite the horribly misguided attempts from several fronts to stop that progress.
Keep spreading the word, and sharing your stories, as I will. Though it’s too late to help my father, it’s not too late for the millions more who will certainly share his fate, or one like it, if they keep smoking.
If that’s not a battle worth fighting, I don’t know what is.