It is with sadness that we pass along the news of the passing of Jay Comeau, one of Power Line’s most faithful and enthusiastic readers and commenters. If you want to know just how big a Power Line fan Jay was, just check out his Facebook banner:
None of us ever met Jay in person (he lived in southwest Florida), and in fact we don’t even know what he looks like, as his Facebook page features dog pictures exclusively. But we all felt like we knew him. He may not have been the most frequent commenter on the site, but he was certainly the most irascible and invariably the person most likely to make you laugh out loud. He seemed always to be trying to find the narrowest margin from being over the line, especially when commenting on the “empowered feminists” featured at the end of every Week in Pictures. And he had lots of interlocutors egging him on—you know who you are out there Steve Baker! In fact:
Unfortunately our site’s search engine doesn’t have the capability of doing a name search in our comment threads, or we’d put together a Greatest Hits compilation. Jay did carry on some long instant message threads with Steve, which include evidence of how he liked to provoke us (in a friendly way) from time to time:
But he didn’t really mean it:
And he used to beat on us for being Trump skeptics. From the night of the first debate:
Steve admits to baiting Jay deliberately, anticipating (usually correctly) that it would work:
In a post last summer on an ill-considered lesbian-themed advertisement on behalf of Canadian tar sands development, Steve warned, “Note to all commenters with the initials “JC”: Behave yourself.” Everyone knew who the initials referred to:
He used these threads for lots of one-offs and gossipy comments about pals of ours:
Jay succumbed to a liver ailment several weeks back, but passed away before a liver transplant could be arranged. He did, however, obtain a treasured piece of apparel:
Jay’s girlfriend posted this on his Facebook page yesterday:
Jay and Steve had a long message thread going on election night, which began as everyone recalls looking very different than it turned out:
May I suggest that all of Jay’s friends and readers hoist a Jameson in his memory tonight.
Well today we did.
LOREE HINDERAKER adds: Several years ago a person we know from our church, OUR CHURCH, repeatedly insulted John in the PL comments. I had cooked dinner for this person and welcomed him to our house. John didn’t notice or care because he never does, that is how he is, but it really bugged me and our kids were outraged. Of course, I didn’t feel that I could comment and I didn’t let the kids comment.
Jay could comment, though, and he did. We didn’t know Jay, but our girls and I completely enjoyed the way he tormented this person. It was funny and amazing to them and to me.
A few times over the years, PL commenters have gone after our kids. Why? I don’t know, but Jay stuck up for our kids in his typical irreverent way.
When our youngest daughter was attacked in the Star Tribune earlier this year, I asked Jay if he would be willing to weigh in, in the Star Tribune’s comments. He was happy to oblige, and as always was funny and effective.
I emailed him my thanks and we kept up a conversation. He wrote to me, “PL is full of brilliant, accomplished doctors, lawyers, engineers, entrepreneurs, educators and defenders of our country” and you’re saying thanks to me. I’m “Jay freaking nobody.” When he complained that his Power Line shirt was threadbare, I sent him a new PL shirt and hat. It was touching to learn that Jay wore that shirt while he was in hospice care.
It was a sad and terrible shock to us when John heard that Jay had died. We never met Jay or, as Steve writes, we never even knew what he looked like. We will miss his humor and wit. RIP, Jay Comeau.