White vinyl Backspacer

Two of my longtime page-mates from Salon, Cary Tennis and King Kaufman have been hit with serious health emergencies in recent months.

In November, Cary announced in his beloved advice column that he was diagnosed with a rare cancer (sacral chordoma) and was going to have to undergo surgery, which took place on December 17th. He’s been good at keeping us all updated since on his Open Salon blog.

In early January, King was suddenly taken ill and hospitalized for a devastating ailment none of us had ever heard of before. One minute he was banging out bellicose e-mails on our usage of the term “healthcare” (one word, not two), and the next his legs buckled under him as he ran for a bus. He ended up unable to walk or even get out of bed for two weeks.

King had developed Guillain-Barré syndrome on the heels of a bout of lingering pneumonia, which he contracted at the end of November. We all googled it frantically and our jaws collectively dropped as we watched him go from a belligerent grumpy cuss to a silent grumpy cuss, unable to move. After three weeks in the hospital and a physical rehab center, he is now home, on his way to what his doctors say is likely to be a full recovery.

When people are catastrophically ill, it seems that nothing you do can ever be enough. We brought food over. We sent e-mails and made calls. We volunteered baby sitting. And then we decided to mobilize and pull together a bake sale to help take care of all those unforeseen expenses that pile up. There are medical expenses and lost wages, and then there are things you don’t even think of, like the $16 a day parking fee King’s wife Jane had to pay at the hospital where King spent 16 days.

My contribution to the “bake sale” is a copy of the extremely rare white vinyl version of the Backspacer LP. The auction blog is here; the Backspacer auction is here. I can sign the cover, or not, at the winning bidder’s request.

… adding: holy crap! I’m thrilled that we’re raising some serious funds to help Cary and King, but keep in mind folks, there’s a week to go on this auction … and at this point, please don’t bid on this thing unless you can really afford it …

also: be sure to browse through the other items — signed books from numerous Salon authors, original art from Keith Knight, and a chance to have Joan Walsh debate your conservative relatives in person (seriously)!