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My Friends: Frankenjek

Published: 13 May 2019

Me and Jek Jamming

“Show me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.” — Vladimir Lenin

Everybody has this friend whose every statement, every comment is a punchline— even when they don't mean their statements and comments to be. In my small circle of friends, that's Jek. My friends and I love Jek so much for that that we even call each other Jek most of the time. Yeah, we're all Jeks one way or another.

Jek came from Aquinas to my high school late. We were already in third year. We were never classmates but we had many common friends— the people that lived under the mango trees. Back in those days, kids who had anything for music, particularly guitar playing and singing, passed time under the mango trees that line the school's football field. We'd spend recess and lunch there, just jamming. That's where Jek and I first found each other.

In those early days, a lot of us relied on guitar tabs to learn the songs that we wanted to play. But tabs were scarce because they were expensive. There was no World Wide Web yet at the time, or at least, it still wasn't popular with us masses. Jek was one of those people who hoarded tabs. So, it was important for me to gain is trust and friendship.

Hahaha! Nah. Jek wasn't like that. We both struggled to find the pieces that we wanted. Although his struggle was not as difficult as mine, he had more friends who kept the freshest tabs. I suppose that's why Jek and I became friends— so I can gain access to his friends' tabs.

Hahaha! Nah. I wasn't like that with Jek.

He was just really fun to have around. He can play any song if you give him a chord pattern and a couple of minutes to learn it. I remember that one of our batchmates, Alan, made a guitar tab of Rick Price's Heaven Knows (it was a hit with the girls back then, so everybody wanted to learn it), translating it from a piano piece he got from National. It was so hard getting hold of that tab. It was so much harder to actually play the damn song when you finally get your hands on it.

No problems for Jek. Although, I don't really remember him ever teaching that to any of us. Hummm...

These days, Jek spends his free time in the desert with his wife and daughter. They now live in Dubai. It's not so bad for us, his friends, because he can often go back here to conduct trainings and other educational stuff for his trade group. He can find himself here at home maybe three or four times in a year.

He's an architect. He makes huge buildings!

I don't want to say that Jek and I aren't very close. But the truth is, if Jek likes you, he's open to anything that you have to say. And because everything he says is a punchline, it really doesn't matter if you're speaking to him for a laugh or are wanting to pour your heart out hoping to get some understanding. You will end up laughing in the end. So, honestly, it's hard to gauge where Jek and I are in terms of our friendship.

I wish he would say more, though. Never mind if we all die laughing.