"A perfectly silly, genius idea" -- David Letterman

Mark Gentle

When I started this project in 2010, I didn't imagine it would mean anything other than silliness.

But CelebriGum has brought me new friends, and now I mourn the loss of one of these friends.

I never met Alabama resident Mark Gentle in the "real" world, but we developed an internet friendship based on our mutual appreciation of comedy, absurdity, and weird beauty.  When I invited CelebriGum fans to submit FanGum photos, Mark rose to the challenge and sent some real humdingers.

Later, when I announced the FanGum Photo Contest, Mark again marshaled his gum, his camera, his keen eye, and his mischievous mind.  He came up with this image which was awarded the Grand Prize by judge Paul Shaffer.

The prize was either: send your gum to me to have it placed on the ledge alongside the original gum for some CelebriGum photos, or have your photo taken with the original gum when you're in New York City.

Mark chose option one.  He'd actually saved the gum from the prize-winning photo.  So it turned out it wasn't a tiny Lockheed A-12 spy plane; it was a giant wad of gum.

I was able to get author Stephen King and actor Johnny Galecki.

This nonsense pleased Mark to no end.

I'd known he was seriously ill; he occasionally made reference to it in a Facebook post, but he didn't want it to be his defining characteristic.  He preferred delighting his friends with jokes and witty observations.

Mark died of pancreatic and liver cancer on June 26th at the age of 59. He leaves behind his wife Jo, brothers Mike and Greg, sisters Paige and Ronnie, and many friends from the "real" world as well as from this strange realm.

Thanks for playing along, Mark.  I miss you.


  1. Wow I had no idea. This is truly a strange realm of connection but it can be a very positive one too, as your relationship with Mark demonstrates. I have at least one good friend I've met on the internet but never met in person. My condolences to Mark's family and friends and to the Celebrigum universe. I hope all would appreciate my saying there's a new wad of gum glimmering on the sidewalk, or up in the sky somewhere - if you get my bizarre analogy.

    1. Thanks, Karl. I think Mark would appreciate the bizarre analogy.

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  2. The Toast in the MachineJuly 14, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Oh, no... I'm so sorry to hear this, Steve. Mark's photos were incredibly creative and entertaining, and Paul Shaffer definitely made the correct choice. I didn't know him, but he certainly sounds like my kind of person. I offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends, including you, buddy... I absolutely hate hearing about things like this.

    1. Thanks, Toast... yeah, the world lost one of the good guys.

  3. Steve, Thank you for sharing your memories of my brother Mark and your friend!! Mark and I talk about your friendship a few days before his passing. He really thought the world of you! I also would like thank all of your followers for there kind words. He will be missed, but I know he's making them laugh in Heaven!!

    Thank You

    Mike Gentle

    1. Mike, it was my pleasure to put together a tribute to Mark, or at least as much a pleasure as anything could be under the circumstances.

      Hope you and the rest of the family are finding some comfort and peace.

  4. Steve, God bless you for this. He wanted so bad to make it to New York to meet you and everyone. Thank you so very much. Jo Gentle

    1. Jo, I'm glad for so much and sorry for so much. Hope to meet you one day. Condolences and wishes for comfort and happy memories.

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