I teased him about having an NRA sticker on his car. I teased him about putting the “wrong” in “sarong.” He teased me about my Feeling Circles and liberal tree-huggerness. We teased each other mercilessly which is what 2 pals do when they’re joined forever in friendship.
Three years ago today we lost Chris Haddle to a rare form of duct cancer called Adenocarcinoma—so rare that research and resources have been scant at best. (There are some more recent signs of hope, however.) I still believe in 5 years we’ll be talking about targeted therapies and nanotechnology cures for many forms of cancer but it’ll be too late for Crusty and so many other sufferers who didn’t make it.
“Adeena Carcinoma? At least you got a solid drag name out of it” was my joke we both always chuckled over.
For this 95th edition of CrankyYank we look back at his larger-than-life personality that was more engaged, kind and caring that he would’ve ever wanted to admit.
Crusty was a lifelong tennis player with a down-the-line backhand that could stop a train. He continued playing, competing and winning even through rigorous chemo treatments and surgeries, like a boss.
In 2016 Atlanta Team Tennis Association named him Peggy Brodsky Player of the Year, posthumously, for his contributions to LGBTQ+ tennis in Atlanta. Numerous members of Atlanta’s close-knit tennis community came out to honor him at his memorial at St. Mark church in midtown.
Crusty was a fantastic photographer. After he posted this gorgeous pic of Niagara Falls on the Facebook machine (following a visit with then-husband Eddie Duke) I rang him up to see if he’d be willing to donate a framed version to ARTvision in support of Positive Impact Health Centers, and he said yes.
His framed piece was a big hit and sold twice—once to Atlanta buyer Mike Weaver, and a second time to great pals Jeff Hook and Torsten Fralux in Luxembourg. I personally delivered their finished piece to them (on a trip I was supposed to take with Crusty) posthumously, and ended up spreading his ashes there too which was obviously not part of the plan.
Crusty was a big fan of music and although we agreed on very little in that regard (I called his favorite fictitious group “Bastard Schoolteachers”), we had a few bands in common. Evanescence and Amy Lee were smack-dab in the middle of our music Venn Diagram.
We saw them multiple times at The Tabernacle, where we rocked it out to all the classics like “Going Under,” “My Immortal” and “Bring Me to Life.”
How would Crusty feel about having a kid named after him? Dunno. He’d probably secretly love the honor but would complain mercilessly about my lack of originality; complaining and crankiness was something we very much had in common.
Christopher Cameron Pollock was born on 11 December 2018 and from the outset appeared possessed by Crusty’s giggly-silly spirit. Cam was literally 30 minutes old and I saw his face contort into the biggest crack-up about some joke he heard while in the womb that he’d just remembered.
Maybe Crusty’s smiting me from beyond but he’s most certainly applauding Cam’s humor skills. 🔵
Will Pollock is a perpetually crabby New York City escapee based in Midtown Atlanta. He’s a freelance multimedia journalist, media analyst and author of two books (the award-wining Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way.
In 2001, Will earned his Masters from The Medill School of Journalism, graduating with highest honors from the magazine sequence. As permanent member of Journalism’s National Honors Society, he’s been active in monitoring, writing and blogging about media and journalism ever since he graduated.
Obsessed with good storytelling and journalistic excellence, Will uses snark, humor and reason to distill dumb shit and make it fun. He’s a seeker/maker of non-consensus news, and helps you cure your crankies by finding the nut in every story.
As for-profit media continues to fail us, it’s more important than ever to find reliable sources. Authentic storytelling exists—you just have to look for it. On this blog you’ll get ideas, not ideology. Sass with class. Reporting with rapport. Evidence with a touch of evil. You get the idea.
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