Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    Dear Kababayans, I hope you are all doing well and had a great time celebrating the holidays with your loved ones. 2020 has been a roller coaster ride with the COVID-19 Pandemic arriving in our part of the world in March which resulted in much of our country being locked down. Fast forward nine months later [...]

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Page added on January 24, 2021

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Erwinism: Sandcastles

Erwinism: Sandcastles thumbnail

By Erwin D. Maramat

“Most of the laugh tracks on television were recorded in the early 1950’s. These days, most of the people you hear laughing are dead.”
― Chuck Palahniuk

Fearing for our safety our folks gave us a resounding no for an answer when my brother and I insisted to play by the beach. We shook our heads violently and started throwing tantrums in protest as a display of indifference to their overreaction while raising the argument Why did we go here in the first place? Unable to refute my mom and gave us permission under the condition that we stay together and the burden of looking after my brother fell on my shoulders.

As far as my mind would allow me to recall, my brother and I ran down as fast our feet would allow us to reach the beach because we did not want to burn daylight. With a bucket in my hand, my eyes squinted, and my cheeks stretched to the side of my forehead in delight. As soon as we got there, I laid out the plans to build a sandcastle to which my younger sibling agreed. We perched daintily near the tide line which was a perfect place to build a sandcastle as it was away from the tide and pesky disruptions of other children scampering by the shore. I scooped a handful of wet sand and dumped it into a bucket filled with water, creating a murky concoction of fun.

“Look at the sun, it’s beautiful!” said my brother prompting me to raise my head and look where his finger was pointing. The blazing sun hang over the horizon and its glimmering reflection glided lazily over the surface of the sea. “So what?” I asked as I rolled my eyes while emptying the bucket to build up a heap of wet sand.

“It’s beautiful and we are missing it. Let us do something fun instead,” my brother said erring on the suggestion that we abort our castle-building fiasco.

“This is fun.” I insisted, “just do this thing with me,” as I raised my hand to invite him.

“No, I think I’m going for a swim!”

“Fine! Suit yourself. I’m going to keep building an epic sandcastle and when I’m done you won’t get to put your little knights in it.”

“Okay,” as he shrugged his shoulder and started walking away. I spent hours sculpting my castle to excellence that day. Two jagged towers rose side by side. I was determined to construct an arch between them, but it constantly collapsed, and I was constantly frustrated, but I never gave up because I was determined to make it happen and then it did. There was so much pride and joy swirling in me after finishing this monumental task so much that I wanted to show off my achievement to my unsupportive brother.

I called out to my brother, but no response as I picked myself up to scan the place, but he was nowhere in sight and the crowd has melted away. No sooner that a frightening thought dawned on me did my heart began wreaking havoc inside my chest as if on cue. With all the might my vocal can muster, I shouted out my brothers name hoping to silence the crashing wave. Confronted by a grim reality brought about my negligence, I started crying. My brother drowned because of me I thought.
As I headed back to the cottage where my parents were, I was rehearsing breaking the dreadful news of my brother’s demise. Then, a familiar voice called out to me. “Hey, mom is looking for you. She gave me ice cream,” he said. I ran up to him and wrapped my arms around him in relief. “I thought I lost you,” I said.

When my brother and I returned to the site the following morning to check on my castle, we found nothing in its place. How I wasted time I thought to myself. He suggested we build another one, so I smiled and said, “Let’s just do something else.”
That was the first time I utterly understood the meaning of never losing sight of who or what truly matters in our lives and more than ever; in this difficult situation we find ourselves in nothing can be truer.

“We have to be bigger than the things we suffer.”
― Shelly Crane, Undeniably Chosen

The Takeaway

In life, we all build our sandcastles. Sadly, we become prisoners of our own attention. We are guilty of pouring our time over meaningless pursuits. We are deeply rooted in the obsession of having it all thinking there is happiness in it for us. We get so immersed in our situation—busy constructing our castles so much that we fail to recognize things happening around us and often it is beauty that unfolds itself. We get so stuck in a quicksand of our design.

Busy doing what? Work occupies much of our time, but sometimes getting worked up is also keeping us busy and many other busy-inducing matters: busy getting angry, bored, sad, political, and scared leading to us getting busy complaining.

In this universe we are dust collecting sand to build castles. Castles bound to be washed away by the tide or picked up and scattered by the wind, until the only scintilla of its structure is but a memory, that too is destined to be washed away by the tide of time as we too have an expiration date. As far as time is concerned, we really do not exist, so we might as well make everything count.

We pursue dyed fabric embroidered with made up names, so we possess a sense of worth under the impression that what we wear adds value to who we are, when in truth we just want to clothe ourselves with adulation. We radiate with debonaire image but much too quickly the novelty wears off and we retreat to the vacuous state of our spirit.

We are sold in the idea that life is something packaged; adorned with iridescent colors and shapes. As if the life we have is mundane and bland. At least that is what we are told.

We draw inspiration from deities who call on us to subscribe to their channels and we look up to them, they who dwell above—in penthouses of skyscrapers gilded with gold and made immortal by stem cells and collagen in particular.

Do not get me wrong, there is nothing amiss with living big, but at what expense? Do we really want to spend the little time we have with the little money we save up impressing people with short attention spans? Unless your Jeff Bezos, but not he can purchase immortality.

Something about this trying time is proving this for us. All of the things we hoard means nothing if we are not free to enjoy it. We can point the cameras at ourselves, but nobody is watching at the other end because they are busy trying to salvage a modicum of normality as much as they can. This new year is a challenge that presents an opportunity for us to focus more on living life and less dreaming about it.

We must not be afraid to take chances. To let go of the things that add little value to our life and pursue those that do.

“We have to allow ourselves to be loved by the people who really love us, the people who really matter. Too much of the time, we are blinded by our own pursuits of people to love us, people that don’t even matter, while all that time we waste and the people who do love us have to stand on the sidewalk and watch us beg in the streets! It’s time to put an end to this. It’s time for us to let ourselves be loved.”
― C. JoyBell C.

On that note. I would like to end this article with a happy new year to all of you.

5 Things That Won’t Bring You Luck This Year
1. The colors yellow and gray. Unless you play for the Golden State Warriors then you will not get paid of millions of dollars. Recall a time last year when you wore its official color and luck came flooding in? I did not think so.
2. Lighting up firecrackers to ward off evil spirits. Science aside, how does one propose scaring evil spirits that cannot either be seen or physically sensed be afraid of something that cannot harm them? Point made.
3. Lucky animals. The only lucky ones are those who are spared from poaching and those who are not subjected for consumption.
4. Lucky numbers. How many so-called lucky numbers that appear on a newspaper hit the lottery last year? None.
5. Jumping high on New Year’s Day. There is scientific study that will prove the correlation of jumping and growth spurts. Circumcision included.









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