I got an email recently from the best friend of Jab the other day named Dean. He had just discovered last week of the passing of Jab and lead him to contact me, and he had written a Eulogy on facebook for his best friend, which I received permission to repost for y'all:
Eulogy for a friend. (Tim “Jabronisaur” “Martian” Marks)
I met an unusual character walking home for the first time from my new school after moving to Florida from Chicago. I do not know how a conversation got started. We were both shy people, so that is a mystery I cannot recall. However, in our short walk home he told his story of where he was from. It was an elaborate tale of another world that he added great detail too. The planet had a name that escapes me. We were only 10, so though even at that age I had a skeptical mind, my impression of the detail and the passionless, deadpan way he told the story left me wondering. I do not believe he relented on this background description of his origins until a year or two later. (I named him Martian as a result of his story.) So exact and quick where each of his answers to my inquiries, that even with him now gone, even after knowing how human and frail he was, some part of me still has doubts that he was merely one of us. As I do not believe in a religiously driven afterlife, I would like to playfully continue with that childhood doubt he put in me, and let the small part of my mind that is still a nearly crippled with shyness, almost friendless, ten year old child nervously walking home from school in a new place, believe that the mother-ship had simply called Tim home when his studies of this planet’s people had been completed.
The human part of my friend was even more enigmatic. We had brief spats growing up, but he was always a kind soul. His small stature, coupled with my oversized stature when we hit 12 years old and I quickly came to the size I am today long before most of my peers, made for an odd couple. I was his constant bodyguard in middle school. Not only was he on the small size then, which by itself was not unusual, but his strange otherworldly appearance of narrow eyes and shinning blond hair, his complete inability to fit in to any sort of normal conversation, and perhaps compounded by his friends calling him Martian, often left him the object of intimidation. Early in high school, we rode the bus together and sat in the front and talked. Such a weird pairing left us with accusations of homosexuality and other ridicule. (I believe this may have been part of the reason he dropped out of school and got his GED. Those kids where very cruel, and there were older kids now so my size advantage had come to an end.) Thinking back to my later two years at middle school, it was probably my friendship with him and the circle of other oddballs that it attracted, that kept me from becoming a bully. It is hard to pick on others when you are protecting the oddest creature of all. Without Tim in my life, it is likely I would have been more callous, and more of an ass than I was in my youth.
When high school came around, and my interest turned to girls, my friend was the best listener of all, though oddly he never showed much interest himself in a particular human. When I was crushed by losing a girlfriend, as young men often are, he consoled me. When I wished to talk of fantastic things that our expanding minds were discovering, he was my sound board. In many ways, he was also my conscious as I developed one. When we later partied starting in the mid 80’s, he was many times the voice of reason that kept me from getting out of hand, though not always successfully. When I got into the most trouble in high school is when I found another group of “friends” that encouraged my craziness that Tim was not a part of. This lasted a year, and thankfully the core group took me back or I would have had nobody. We had met Chris Siewak in middle school, and then in 9th grade the circle, from my point of view, completed when Dave Crowther, the all purpose animal, joined in. Since this is my vain attempt at eulogizing Tim, those are the names that count. Endless hours, countless nights role-playing, where bonds where formed that where closer than any blood relatives I have ever had. Certainly, he was closer to me than a brother could have ever been.
When we became adults and were on the precipice of drifting apart, I still picture sitting in Tim’s place maybe a week before I was to marry my first wife, saying “So this is the end of an era” while tearing up a little. That about summed it up. He would have been the best man at my wedding if my bride to be had not insisted on choosing one for me, but that is another story. Once, when she was out of town about two years later, I found where Tim was living and joined him in a night of revelry. That was the next to last time I ever saw him. In the intervening 14 years while I got my life back in order after leaving my first wife, I do not know what happened to him. From around the year 2000 to 2007, I searched for him off and on using the internet. Because I had always had a suspicion he would die first, I already thought he was gone. However, after leaving many messages with people, finally I got a call back, “Dean, this is Martian.” I did not know that this would lead to the final moments I had with my friend, but at least I had them. He came in to meet me for lunch at work. His father George dropped him off and I got to speak with him as well, though I was surprised he remembered me. Tim told me a little of his life, but mainly we talked of the old days. I tried to get him a job where I was working. Tim spoke oddly during our meeting, probably out of nervousness. It was good to find out he kept with his art work over the years at least, and this was what he was able to talk about most coherently.
Now with overwhelming guilt, I am sorry to say after that, we did not keep up much of a relationship. However, we did continue communicating minimally, at least by phone and by email, though mostly by the latter. I bought him an online game that we might try to capture some of the role-playing game magic of our youth. We played a couple of times, but it did not really pan out. During what would become the last year of his life, I had a personal problem, and we subsequently had a few moments were we reconnected like the old days as he became my sounding board again, and listened with sympathy to his old friend. The last time I spoke to him on the phone he said he was taking a trip to California for an anime convention when I had mentioned we should take a ride to Alabama, on me, to see Dave. He stopped responding to my emails at some point after that, which I now know correlates to his demise. As I said, we had bonded again briefly, and now that is what I will remember most. I am grateful we had those few moments instead of my merely finding out someday that someone I had not seen in over 20 years is gone, though it was not nearly enough.
Tim Marks was my oldest and probably closest friend. At least, now, today while I continue to grieve, it feels like it. I loved him. I miss him horribly, and his memory is part of what I am, for as long as I am. I still consider him one of the cornerstones of my personality. His life had impact. He was here. I hope he was from that planet he talked about, because if it exists, and if he is an example of those creatures, then it must be a better, kinder place than this. Maybe he will come back someday and show it to us when we are ready.
One point Jab's friend mentioned was that "he was even a character in my short stories called Samurai Martian, opposite myself, Gus the Dwarf Lord from Hell, and Dave the Barbarian Ninja. I only mention that to show you that he had always been quite an interesting person." no doubt about it, hopefully we'll see these stories, but it is just mind blowing reading all this.
Basically, I cannot sum it up better than Dean: "It is so very interesting, like peeling an onion, to see the man Tim had become in the years since we were close. I cannot express enough just how damn cool it is that he got with your website and found such an outlet for his creativity." likewise, with these tales of Jab's past leads us to know the man we knew and loved at JPHiP.
I really learned from this, to always ALWAYS cherish those around us. Stay positive, be like Jab. This is what makes me so proud to be