What keeps you up at night?

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) Updated October 16, 2011

Someone on Twitter asked me the question, “What keeps you up at night?” I answered quite truthfully that I almost always fall asleep the moment I lie down. I’m a sleepyhead. But that is not to dismiss this important question lightly. I know that every person has issues, worries or mysteries that keep him or her stupefied and awake at night seeking answers to questions, some of which may in fact never be answered with certainty. Or perhaps people simply just wonder for whatever reason.

I would like to share what would keep me awake at night, but don’t expect anything deep and profound — I told you I usually fall asleep the moment my head hits the pillow. Today, I am swimming in shallow, silly shoals speculating on topics that will do nothing to make you a more intelligent, informed or profound human being after reading. But you might agree that the following random thoughts and wonders could give one pause, perhaps for a few seconds, before drifting into dreamland.

1) I would hate to be a cow or a pig, or a chicken in the Philippines because after being raised in a farm and killed, parts of me would be served to Filipinos. There is nothing wrong with that unless they are seated around a table with people they don’t know very well. I hate it because I know that when it comes to the end of the meal where the last piece of meat is left on the plate, people would be too polite to go for it and it would mean that despite my ultimate sacrifice of being butchered and served as food for other species, I would not be consumed fully.

That would be unconscionable. It would be like a kamikaze pilot who fails to hit an enemy boat directly and instead crashes into the sea. Or perhaps a suicide bomber who only manages to detonate one of many sticks of explosives and ends up with only a broken arm. What a waste of purpose!

2) I remember reading that after Abu Sabaya of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf was killed, the military went through his knapsack and they were astounded to discover that this ruthless, cruel bandido actually had a bottle of Eskinol skin care lotion with him. Whoa!

Just try to imagine this man who was responsible for the murder and misery of so many people actually took time and effort from his busy schedule of kidnapping, killing, maiming, torturing, ambushing, hiding, haranguing, etc., going the extra mile to take care of his skin. This business of facial cleansing must have been important to him. Was he a fan of both Bin Laden and Belo? A dangerous terrorist who exfoliates?

It makes me wonder if this terrorist ever panicked in the middle of, say, an encounter with enemy forces because he suddenly remembered — in the middle of a shooting war — that he had not done his beauty regimen that day.

3) Now that Steve Jobs has passed away, everyone seems to be speculating whether he would be changing things in heaven if given the chance. I’ve seen cartoons suggesting that he would upgrade Moses’ tablets, or that he would give St. Peter an app for better identification when someone shows up at the Pearly Gates. I think Steve would probably continue to be active with the latest “big idea” he had before he died. Through his awesome presentation skills, I think he would try and talk to whoever is in charge and convince Him to convert all of heaven into… “The Cloud”! And he probably already had the app with him.

4) With the RH bill now in full deliberation at the Senate, I am hearing some pretty far-out stuff from Senator Enrile who opposes the bill. He said that “masturbation is a form of abortion.”

Now that is astonishing. However, I am pretty sure the good senator knows what he is talking about. And I am dead sure that the reason he has survived the rough and tumble world of politics for endless decades is because he has had to be tough and ruthless to rule over the male population of this country who are, from all accounts, vicious mass murderers who think nothing of what they do. Kudos to the good old senator for being the lonely voice in this sea of wanking Hitlers and Pol Pots.

So here’s some cool advice to all men. If ever you feel the urge to “abort,” and your religious fervor is not strong enough to stop you, just think of the imperious Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile holding that gavel. And think of the gavel as some sort of hammer. And then think of the rapper MC Hammer. Then sing his hit song, Can’t Touch This.

It may save your soul.
5) Sometimes, I can’t imagine how one company can buy out another company just like that, considering that those running it know little or nothing about the operation or the business of what they had just purchased.

I took a flight on a new local airline recently. Before the flight, I saw the plane being refueled. I was quite surprised to see that they did not punch the tank with a big straw.

6) The universe is a dynamic place. Everything is expanding all the time. Simultaneously, stars are being born while many are dying. The earth alone turns on its axis at 500 miles per hour. So how come things aren’t flying off their handles and scattering all over the place? That’s because of gravity. The complexity of it all can give one a religious experience.

If the poet William Blake saw “eternity in an hour,” I may have grasped both eternity and infinity when I recently saw a kid put a Slinky on an upward escalator.

7) Since flooding is becoming more and more the new “normal” in many areas, let’s all try to come up with new ideas to counter this. Here’s one:

With rains filling up the dams to their breaking point, the release of water is necessary even if it exacerbates the situation. Well, what if streets that flood easily and dams that fill up were provided with thousands of huge sponges tied to strings from side to side so that they could just lower the sponges down to the flooded parts to absorb the water, and then lift them up to dry?

Okay, I didn’t say it was a great idea. But it kept me up a few minutes last night! What keeps you awake at night?

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1) Oct. 22, 2011: Walking Photography Workshop. We go to a place and explore it with our cameras and our eyes. Call 426-8375 or 0916-8554303. Time and venue to be announced depending on weather forecast. Call or write to jpfotojim@gmail.com if you wish to reserve a slot or be informed.

2) If you have been using your DSLR camera like a point and shoot, it’s time to learn how to use it properly. Basic Photography Workshop on Oct. 29, Saturday. 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. You must have a DSLR. Call 0916-8554303 or 426-5375. Or write to jpfotojim@gmail for questions or reservations.

2) Tapping the Creative Universe (six-session run): A cutting-edge experience. The most soulfully liberating workshop you can attend! Nov. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21 from 7 to 9 p.m. Call or write for info. Or check http://jimparedes-workshops.com.