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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On getting old

Getting old never dawned on me until about a year ago. I thought I was still a teenager even if I already have four teen-agers of my own. My body just refuse to believe that the pain on my waist at night, the number of pills I have to take for diabetes, white hair on my balding head, or even the lines on my forehead tell me that I am old. Why should I? I still have friends much younger than I am and I can still do what they can do. I can still relate to their stories and they can with mine. I can still stay with them until the wee hours of the morning, exchanging useless banter over beer or any other beverage there was. Yes, they don't call me by my first name like they do with their peers but that was okay. They call me tito and I didn't mind. I liked the monicker anyway having nieces and nephews who are fond of me anyway. Besides, a lot of people call me that way when I started this blog. Never did it dawn on me that I was old.

But time does not stop for anyone. No matter how slow the hour hand crawls on the clock, it reaches the time for us to go home from work. This is just like our lives but on a grander scale. I realized I do not live in a warp zone where I can stop aging while everybody continue to do so and play catch up. I cannot be happy man without having a true friend. There has to be someone I can talk to without any qualms, share my thoughts, tell naughty stories to and basically, hang out with. In my line of work, especially with the economy on the downtrend, teachers, like nurses, are lured by green bucks. The turn over of workers have been steadily getting higher and higher. As it did with my friends. Some of them have migrated abroad, some had married and resigned. Eventually, all my friends have moved on and I was left behind.

My co-workers keep on getting younger and younger. The gap has never been this far apart. I could not believe that some of them were just born when I started working. To make matters worse, I was again asked to handle an administrative position. That was the icing on the cake. Now, everybody calls me Sir. Friends are hard to come by when there is this huge gap between you and the next person. While the difference in age is already a huge boulder to climb, the position added a wall. Suddenly, the songs I use to sing are ancient. The jokes I used to tell no longer get the same response. Well, there are times when I couldn't get their humor either. The invitations to a lunch out, or hang out at the mall has been practically nil. I am now at the threshold of calling it quits with the institution that nurtured me, simply because I have to accept the fact that I will soon become irrelevant. The tell tale signs are there.

But then, why should I feel this way? I feel this is a very defeatist attitude on my part. MAybe it is because I had been resisting the movement of my clock. Why don't I just let it move and go with its flow and see where it takes me? Maybe if I did that, I would learn to accept that things have changed and I have to adjust just one more time. Maybe, just maybe, I will learn to age with grace. If I learn to do that, then maybe retirement will not be the end but the start of a new era in my life. When that happens, let's see who has gone old!


Monday, February 15, 2010

An unfathomable conundrum

Once again, death stares me at the face. I just visited my old boss who retired about ten years ago. He is 76 gone to 90. His dignity lost, he is reduced to a decrepit,sickly man suffering the pains of a failing liver. We had such happy days together. We would go for a drink or two after office hours together with friends. There was even a time when he sparingly wrote a note to my wife saying I was with him until the wee hours of the morning. My brother-in-law had a good laugh over that "parental" letter one usually submits to a teacher lest the student gets into trouble.

The house that saw big parties, flowing with alcohol and food enjoyed by guests coming from all over is just as old. I have spent many happy moments there. My eldest daughter's baptismal party was celebrated there. The house was a very happy one. He was on top of the world and that was his kingdom. His royal subjects knelt before him, shivered even at his most benign commands. The house is almost dilapidated now and so is its king. Anywhere you look, the house where little boys used to run and roam, where you heard roosters were kept in a coop crowed, with the garage where we played mah jongg or whatever game it was we could play is just as lonely, needing more care from its owners. He couldn't even utter an understandable voice to say what he wanted.

Such is the way of the world. We reach the top of the world and plummet back to earth in the end. I just hope I never get to experience the pain of having to suffer a decline that would rob me of my dignity where someone else has to wash my behind or feed me in a tube.

If only to console me and my boss' family and friends, he has lived a full life and I don't think he is sorry for what he has become. It is my fervent prayer that with his memory almost gone, he is just as oblivious to the pain.

God's Trick

God tricked me.
He gave me time
that does not stop
for anything. Just like
a snail that crawls
ever so slowly
from one point to another,
it reaches its destination
no matter how far
or what obstacles hurled
along its way.

God tricked me.
He gave me youth
to squander and abuse
so that I
can lay in my death bed,
inutile, suffering the pain
of an ignominius state,
devoid of all the dignity
I used to possess.

God tricked me.
He gave me strength
so that I can waste it away
and harm myself.
Reduced to decadence,
I am decaying even before
I am dead.

God tricked me.
He gave me friends
I cannot keep.
They will be there
for a while
only to return
living their own lives.

God tricked me.
He gave me the gift of life
only to take it anytime
He pleases. Gifts should
be for keeps
and so it is with God’s
little trick.


My boss passed away this afternoon, February 16. Please join me in praying for the eternal repose of his soul.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Chameleon Angels

Sickening platitudes
cacophony of campaign jingles
float the air again
in a jungle
covered with huge pictures
of yellow, red, orange, green.

Promises of paradise
a litany of more jobs

lower taxes

medical assistance



thank you heaven
for these angels!

"Don't forget my name,"
the saintly statesman shouted.

Chameleons are better.
They only kill what they eat.

Politicians are parasites
feeding on our sweat
until we have no more to shed
but blood.

I wonder where
they got their butterfly wings
and halo. How do they hide
their horns and tail?

It's a game we play
with angels
from hell.


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Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.

Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
Posted by Hello
Location: Bambang, Pasig City, Philippines

Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.

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