His father was a tyrant; his mother was a singer with a penchant for the morose. Edgar Allen Hofflebrock died on April 1, 2017, causing everyone who heard the news to believe it a hoax. He is survived by the legion of those who have adopted his motto: Be humble. Be curious. Move forward.
From seemingly nowhere, Hofflebrock swept the miniature model train world by storm with his eye for the right locomotive at the right time. He captured the model magazine market with his November 2006 issue featuring an exclusive interview with none other than Harold “The Steam Engine” Smith just three days after the release the engineer’s autobiography: Life on the Infinite Rail. From there, he was catapulted to the starry skies of fame, the Captain of the Miniature Choo Choo Industry. Those attracted to men wanted him. Those who considered themselves men wanted to be him.
The smartphone was the asteroid that decimated his planet. The atmosphere of gentlemanly refinery evaporated quickly once content was so easily accessible. His publishing partners went under, and his cache and influence dwindled until there was nothing left save the original office in Humblingberg, Georgia, where he held on to the belief that people still wanted fresh, crisp photographs and articles that they could touch, tack to the wall, and could read in the bathroom without fear of dropping an expensive device in the toilet.
Alas, despite Hofflebrock’s efforts and his fortune spent on advertising, he was forced to give up the ghost. He finally decided to close up shop in November 2008, two full years of bi-monthly issues later.
E. A. Hofflebrock was more than this, of course. He led many lives. He toppled many mythical creatures. This is merely but one example of how this great person spent his time here on Earth, and it was the story he died telling.
“Remember,” he asked, “when I decided to start a magazine about model trains, of all things?”
And then the gunfire started during the concert he’d arranged for the Blumbering Bumberdums Library and Bistro grand opening.
We should have seen it coming.
His death is a deep wound in this world – as sudden and devastating as it gets, really – but it doesn’t have to mean that he’s gone for good. We can pick up his mantle and carry on, chanting, “Our passion is our conductor, our intuition is our guide, and the traincar of the heart is our primary mode of transportation.”