When my friend Ed Brayton invited me to join Freethought Blogs last summer, I knew this was going to be a great network, and that I’d be among some really awesome bloggers. As new bloggers came on board over our first couple of months, it was clear that we were building a network that nobody could rival. But nothing is perfect, and a few of the bloggers who joined us have already decided this wasn’t for them and left. But I never expected that Ed, whose baby FTB is, would be among those who wouldn’t be blogging here for very long. We were all blindsided when Ed suddenly announced in an email to the rest of us that he would be leaving at the end of April.
Ed was reluctant to talk about his decision to leave, which I know must have been a very difficult decision for him after all the work he put into founding FTB, but after several conversations I was finally able to get him to open up and tell me why he was leaving.
He told me that he had decided to make some major changes in his life a few months ago while he was on one of his frequent trips to Las Vegas to play poker. Something happened on that trip that scared the bejeezus out of Ed and made him ask himself if putting himself out there as a blogger and speaker was really worth risking his life over.
It seems that Chuck Norris was also in Vegas, and in a chance encounter in an elevator at his hotel, Ed came face to face with the man who he had, (in what he later called “an enormous lapse in judgment”), made fun of in his 2007 presentation at YearlyKos, which was broadcast on C-SPAN. Ed just couldn’t resist getting in a few jokes about Norris’s position as a board member of the National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools.
For anyone who didn’t see it, here’s what Ed had to say about Norris:
Although Ed has often joked about pissing off Chuck Norris by making fun of him on C-SPAN, what he never revealed to anybody was that he has lived in constant fear ever since, wondering how he could possibly escape from the man who can run so fast he can punch himself in the back of the head if he ever did happen to come face to face with him.
All Ed could think about when he realized that the man in the elevator with him was Norris was another joke he had made in the same presentation in which he made fun of Norris. Referring to one of the other Bible curriculum “scholars,” Ed had quipped, “if [he] is a respected scholar, than I am an award winning aerobics instructor.” At that moment, Ed vowed that if he did somehow manage to get away from Norris unscathed, he really was going to take up aerobics and get in better shape so that he would never again be in the paralyzing fear he was experiencing in that elevator. All Ed could do was to hope that Norris didn’t recognize him, in what he described as “the longest elevator ride of his life.”
When the elevator doors finally opened, Ed ran as fast as he could to his room, and once safely inside — and after the several minutes that it took him to catch his breath from the sprint down the hall — said to himself, “It isn’t worth it! I need to find a safer profession.”
So, that night, having had a killer day at the poker table, Ed made a decision. He would be leaving his blogging days behind, and becoming a professional poker player.
While all of us here at FTB, as well as all of his readers, will miss Ed greatly, we can certainly understand his decision and wish him the best of luck in his new career, and in those aerobics classes he has vowed to take. We also wish him well in his therapy and hope that he will soon be able to ride in elevators again (although he says that all the walking up and down stairs he’s been doing is really helping to boost his endurance for those aerobics classes).