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मेंटल क्रेम्प्स

Mental cramps

DAILY rental for a house where a local television series may be shot runs from P15,000 to P50,000—quite a windfall for a homeowner whose abode grabs the fancy of a shooting location scout, ever on the lookout for settings that breathe chic, opulence, taste… maybe a certain ambiance or energy that hums and thrums in such living spaces.

Or, maybe that which the late Third Reich mystic Karl Haushofer referred to as lebensraum, “living space” that had fueled the Nazi hunger for geographic expansion: “Space is not a vehicle of power. It is power.”


The viewing fare jabbed like splinters into the eyes-- and minds-- of audiences trot out characters that, uh, they don’t belong to such spaces. They neither dwell nor live there.

Somehow, those cardboard characters betray dysmenorrhea in demeanor, terminal spinal fractures of speech that limn muddled marshy mindset, aah, even cockroach sensibility and paralytic sensitivity.

In short, they’re no better than zombies.

Claims statesman Winston Churchill: “We shape our dwellings and afterwards, our dwellings shape us.” (This too ancient notion goes by the Sanskrit term, darshan… or by the quantum physics word, “interface.”)

‘Twas natural historian Loren Eiseley who asserted—and gave proof—that man is an expression of his landscapes, his dwelling places, his milieux. Too easy to take the country boy out of the country—you just can’t eviscerate the country out of the boy, he’s been too steeped in it for ages… and that has imbued him with power.

So, power corrupts. And it’s likely the cardboard characters trotted in parade upon the unsuspecting viewer, they must have been zapped to a crisp, flung out to hang upon power transmission lines… that likely rubs off on them a few thousand watts to allow the character to shine like klieg lights or not-too-palatable flashes in the pan.


The characters don’t plunge into any worthy pastime. They don’t putter about. They don’t tinker. They can’t pursue small passions… they’re so insipid they don’t even turn on noise boxes that can spill out music, lectures, pod casts or the swelter of inanities gushed off the more popular radio stations…


Not any character I’ve chanced on TV-- on a bus bound for home any given workday—goes through a boring regimen of say, earnest prayer… physical workouts… growing orchids or trimming bonsai… going through the motions of mixed martial arts practice… doing household repairs, fixing a faucet leak, replacing a busted fuse or any human activity that a living space demands of its occupants… ‘tangna, ako pa rin ang naghahasa ng mga balisong ko… carborundum whetstone first, fine sandpaper next, then, leather strop and soft tissue paper for the final smoothing of the scalpel edge… aah, the blade turns a lot better for the closest of shaves…

No scene would ever present them rummaging over piles of tomes at Book Sale, or even doing the briefest of reading sessions…

They can’t try their hand at sudoku, solve crossword puzzles, yawn over an opponent across a skittles board or chessboard, do laps in a swimming pool, do field stripping of weapons, tend to a tool kit, try pole dancing or go through yoga postures, get their hands calloused in carpentry or cabinetry… they don’t keep and tend to pets, say, an entire flea circus upon a Labrador retriever’s head… what a lousy pack of do-nothing lazybones!

They are, the use the newest term available, all too busy “noynoying”!

Those louts don’t do any neuro-linguistic programming for themselves, yet, ply out such execrable NLP on viewers, ‘tangna talaga!

And so I hum an off-key Red Hot Chili Peppers number… “Throw away your television, time to make this clean decision… reinvent your intuition, now.”

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