(Martha, as I’ve often mentioned, is the person who first suggested that I consider writing and drawing a graphic novel for DC Comics. That led to Stuck Rubber Baby; and as you probably know, many good things have flowed from that. Since leaving her post at DC Martha has been most visible to the world as a columnist at ComicMix and Michael Davis World. But right now it’s not Martha I want to write about; it’s her husband John.)
As you know if you clicked on his link above, John died in April. That pisses me off. Losing my friends continues to have that effect on me, even when AIDS isn’t involved, as is the case with John. But at the risk of introducing a dark cloud into my talk of summer picnics, I can’t resist taking note of John’s passing several months ago because he looks so damned sunny in the picnic snapshot of him that I’m showing you.
That image brings back memories of all the good conversations (and occasional friendly arguments) I had with John while he was alive. They force me to surrender to warm and fuzzy feelings about him even though he would definitely look askance at having such maudlin terms applied to any remembrance of him.
Too bad, John; if you’re put off by warm and fuzzy, you shouldn’t have spent so much time becoming an expert on Disney animation.
The pleasures of knowing the three-member Tebbel-Thomases family have been enhancing the Sedarbaum-Cruse family’s quality of life for almost all of the thirty-three years that Eddie and I have spent together. Happily, Arthur and Martha are still within reach (although "Arthur" has become "Art" in adulthood). That helps us deal with John’s physical presence being gone.
Looking at the wry expression on John’s youthful face in the snapshot above generates in me a mixture of pleasure and yearning that mirrors the bittersweetness of life itself. I want all the good parts of being alive to keep on going and going. I don’t want to let go of any of them.
But just as AIDS ripped one valued friend after another out of our lives during the worst of the gay-centric phase of the epidemic, getting older is bringing a fresh wave of losses caused by more conventional ailments, like the cancer that leapt out of nowhere to snag John this spring. That’s the way things go; there’s no getting around it.
It still makes me mad, though, and I’m bad at composing eulogies because my verbal capacities freeze up when I’m pissed. So I’m relieved that I can hand over my virtual microphone to The Beat‘s Heidi Macdonald, who wrote some eloquent words about our mutual friend in her April 18 post.
Also, that tyke named Arthur in the picnic photos above has grown up, moved to Los Angeles, and become comedy screenwriter-improvisational performer-humor columnist Art Tebbel. And it’s in the last of those roles that Art wrote the following down-to-earth tribute to his dad (who as you can see from the photo on the right below, never stopped being able to do wry).