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Fiddler on the ground

WOOZY and a bit crazy from having a beer too many, I spat the question to Dennis Fetalino: “What’s a 75-year old man who has 10 kids doing on the roof? Flying a kite? Kids nowadays don’t know a rat’s ass about flying kites or frying pans or do they?”

My beer buddy shook his head clearing cobwebs while I mumbled to myself a monologue scratched off ‘Fiddler on the Roof'… “Dear God, You made many, many poor people. I realize, of course, that it's no poor to be shame. But it's no great honor either! So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune…?”

In these tropic parts, a 60-degree incline—a whistle-bait gradient in feminine waist tapering to sumptuous thighs-- to tin, tile, or thatch roof assemblage assures neat water run-off. So what’s a septuagenarian doing at the rooftops except acting out a metaphor from the Broadway musical? It’s an earnest try for a firm footing over precarious circumstances while scratching out a lively tune to flout the risks to life and limb… You don’t know life unless death’s nigh.

That wasn’t a stunt. You can’t even explain why a senior citizen like him is trying in earnest to putty up the holes in the roof, keeping his fingers crossed that spikes in prices of food staples and basic commodities can be prevented from smashing through the roof, maybe plug up the numerous roof holes and pocket burn holes caused by those sharp spikes… Why can’t he just let the downpour in and allow consequent flooding in the household? It’s less difficult learning to swim, freestyle preferably, kahit langoy-aso kapag inaanod na sa delubyo.

Ah, balance… Strenuous physical activity builds agility, balance, and coordination— primal ABC but still focused on the physical dimension of the bodymind, uh, some experts insist there’s no separation between body and mind… so danseurs can have brains in their legs… wuyiquan practitioners ply out wit through their limbs… guitar players pluck out paeans with their fingers… and Malacañang denizens think up national development strategies with their dandruff.

Idleness saps the bodymind— kaya nabugok na’t lahat ang kukote nitong nasa dakong ilaya ng kalsada sa aming harapan, naging inutil pa’t wala nang pakinabang sa katawan… ‘yung hindi na tinitigasan. That 75-year old na matigas pa rin ang paninindigan mending the roofs of his humble abode would put the good-for-nothing lazybones to shame, tsk-tsk-tsk

Maybe he lost balance. Clockwise torque equals counterclockwise torque to even out the tug-of-war play of downward forces, so as to strike equilibrium—umm, that’s still in the realm of the physiological. There’s also inner equipoise which isn’t easy to get a grip. Nope, it’s less than a function of the inner ear fluids and ultra-fine hair which play a greater part in hammering a balance of the bodymind while in movement… Believe it or not, the inner ear’s balance-organ controls every muscle of the body. Muscles communicate with the nerve of the inner ear’s balance command center via the spinal chord.

Balance is tied too close to coordination. Believe it or else: bodymind consciousness dwells in the ear. Muscular tension and relaxation, too much effort or too little, posture, movements - all are controlled by the ears. Brain plies out command; muscles take action; ear provides command control, and with feedback, brain corrects the command.

And over two million people every year call on their physicians about loss of balance… Ageing, head injuries, infections viral or bacterial, certain medications, and blood circulation disorders can whack out balance. And there’s this sinking feeling that lousy music and earfuls of mindless blabber saps out balance…

Over the years, torrents of mindless blabber in Congress must have been poured into the inner ear of that 75-year old. So he lost balance while perched precariously atop the roof, mending and maybe minding price spikes now gutting households. So he lost his life in the consequent fall.

“If I were a rich man…”


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