Brain Dead Serious

I’ve Never Felt More As One with Humanity as When this Happened to Me

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Cell phones, tablets, laptops–technology has forcibly pulled people away from each other, creating this gap that has made it impossible for us to truly unite as fellow human beings even in this much celebrated “social media” age. Fortunately, I have been lucky to discover a way to feel myself one with mankind, and I stumbled upon it in the least likely place you’d expect to find such deep realization–in the men’s bathroom.

One of those normal, busy days in the office, I stood up from my chair feeling a little rumble in my belly. I promptly walked away from my desk, leaving all my mundane tasks behind–all these unnecessary things and activities that have made me, us, slaves of an unrelenting system that drains our lives’ true worth. I left all of them as my buttocks began to feel like it’s going to explode.

I rushed past the toiling drones, their faces sucked into their computers and their expressionless eyes showing the depressing truth of their hollow souls. Step by step I closed in on the men’s bathroom where the turbulence in my tummy sought immediate refuge and release. My hand clasped the cold door knob… and I was in.

Pushing the cubicle doors one by one as gently as possible so as not to betray the fact that I was on the brink of an uncontrollable posterior convulsion, I checked if they were occupied. Alas! Those wretched things were filled with fellow bum bazooka warriors firing brown shells into the water. And I was overcome with the depressing burden of existence.

But suddenly… a door opened! And out came our old IT guy who had just done the dirty deed!

Even before he was fully out of the cubicle, I leapt inside like a nimble lemur in the forests of Madagascar. And then it hit me like a ten ton truck–the smell of his newly flushed shit stacks.

The air was still warm with that man’s sweat and body heat when I shut the door. As my fingers fumbled for my belt buckle and my pants dropped to the floor, I realized I have never been as close to anyone as I was when I took a lungful of that old man’s intestinal contents. It smelled like stale bread and rotting vegetables. In fact, while pooping in the noisiest way possible, it came to me that that man in that very moment wasn’t only our IT guy. He was not just that incredibly incompetent fool who always told me to restart my computer whenever it wouldn’t do as it’s supposed to do. And then suggested reformatting it as a second option. He was much more… much more. A symbol. A representative of mankind. Humanity itself.

I pressed the bidet happily to wash my crack. He and I, and lots of other men in the office pressed the same thing that day… and the thought made me smile.

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Brain Dead Serious

Emilio Aguinaldo’s Barber: “I am the One to Blame for the President’s Many Mistakes”

Newly unearthed letters from Emilio Aguinaldo’s ancestral home in Kawit, Cavite reveal that the first Philippine President’s barber was the one to blame for every questionable and downright disgusting decision Aguinaldo had made throughout his life.

The trove of correspondences yellow with age and of priceless historical significance sheds new light on the murkier side of our country’s history from the Spanish to the Japanese occupation era. The letters were penned by Aguinaldo’s barber himself and were anonymously signed “Your loyal barber.”

The team of local historians and archaeologists who discovered the letters released some of the shocking excerpts today, such as this one written around the time Aguinaldo was retreating from the advancing American forces in Northern Luzon in 1899.

“Dear El Presidente,

Word has reached me that you and your troops, in a word, have your boots stuck in unbelievably deep excrement with your hopeless guerilla warfare against the gringos. I warned you long ago that this would happen if you keep your ridiculous and evil flattop. Please let me cut it; I will go to your location even if it costs me my life…”

According to the team’s lead historian, the key word here was “evil.” It appeared that Aguinaldo’s barber firmly believed that the iconic haircut (arguably the flattest flattop ever documented) had supernatural, almost “occult” influences on the President. Another excerpt reads:

“I tried and tried to convince you to adopt a more conventional hairstyle, perhaps a wavy, side-swept one like Dr. Rizal’s or a tidy brush-up like Apolinario Mabini’s, but you insisted on this weird, taboo flattop that my barber family has refused to offer our customers for decades.

You even went absolutely nuts when I suggested Andres Bonifacio’s neatly parted mop had more appeal to it, and suggested I was committing treason against the Republic. Your insecurity towards that man was truly boundless.”

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President Emilio Aguinaldo’s hairstyle was so rare, he’s actually kind of funny-looking in this photo taken 1904.

The team’s investigation into the haircut trends in Aguinaldo’s time shows that the President sported an extremely rare hairstyle that both made him into a legend and the constant butt of jokes of Katipuneros during secret meetings.

The barber even remembers the very moment he completed cutting the infamous crown:

“I remember it like it was yesterday. As soon as I lifted my scissors, your eyes literally glowed red. It was as if the innocent boy bursting with selfless bravery turned into a conniving, power-hungry man who will stop at nothing to conquer the country for himself. All because of that cursed flattop.”

“Yes, the hair gave you immense strength and tactical knowledge that allowed you to win key battles in Cavite while Bonifacio embarrassed himself with his losses, but those victories came with a price: your soul.”

The barber’s beliefs–while truly extraordinary–were not without merit, said the team’s lead historian. Aguinaldo’s top was so distinctly flat that he stood out like a sore thumb in the battlefield, allowing every soldier to recognize him even far away, with the unintended effect of boosting troop morale. It was like Aguinaldo gave an inspirational dugout speech every time he took off his hat.

The shock of shocking flatness also unified Cavite revolutionaries–the “Magdalo” faction–like no other conceivable force could. The straightness of the top and the uniformity of the strands, in the eyes of revolutionaries, symbolized strength through unity. The lead historian even went as far as to suggest the flattop was the key determining factor in the 1897 Tejeros Convention at the end of which Aguinaldo was elected the first president of the Philippines and Bonifacio was relegated to the pathetic post of Director of the Interior (so much for starting the whole revolution). As is now famously known, Bonifacio deemed the elections unjust and tampered with, and his subsequent condemnation of the process resulted in him being accused of treason, and eventually being executed.

But Aguinaldo’s barber had a more interesting take on the whole event:

“I witnessed first-hand how your initial decision to commute Bonifacio’s death sentence was immediately overturned when he screamed in your face that ‘your hair was flatter than your unbelievably flat personality’ and that “no wonder we’re losing the war because our enemies are using your head as crosshairs to aim for our soldiers.'”

Apparently, the brilliant general Antonio Luna was also the recipient of Aguinaldo’s ire stemming from his crop of square hair.

“Poor Luna once broke his serious character to make an admittedly tasteless joke about what the difference was between Apolinario’s legs and your hair. The answer being that your hair stands. The savage look on your face afterwards told me that that man–as important as he was tactically to you–was as good as dead. And sure enough, a month later, Luna had more holes in him than Manila.”

Aguinaldo and Quezon during Flag Day, 1935. The first President sported the flattest flattop even in old age.

Aguinaldo and Quezon during Flag Day, 1935. The first President sported the flattest flattop even in old age.

The one-sided correspondences between the first President and his barber continued throughout the years as the hairstylist tirelessly implored his rogue customer to cut his hair and end the curse once and for all.

“Shame on you for surrendering to the Americans! Miguel Malvar was still fighting his heart out while you were taking an oath of allegiance to the invaders and making a secret pact to spread your laughable hairstyle among the young generation of Filipinos who will be reared in American culture. You were the one responsible for this revoltingly bad hairstyle being prescribed in our schools.”

“The demon in your hair was also whispering in your ear when you cooperated with the Japanese as you made speeches on their behalf, even radioing an appeal to Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Corregidor to surrender! If you had only let me nip your mane even an inch, you would not have uttered such unpatriotic nonsense!”

Emilio Aguinaldo never listened to his barber but he nevertheless collected some of his letters, presumably to remind him of the supernatural origins of his ‘do. Whether the barber was speaking the truth or not, it is now undeniable that one man’s bad hair changed the course of history and its ripple effects will be the subject of fierce debates in universities and scholarly journals for years to come.

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Brain Dead Serious

8 Ways to Find Your True Purpose and Live a Meaningful Life

A life without meaning is a life not worth living. If you wake up every day not really knowing why you should even go on and not just go back to sleep for all eternity, well, one could say without being too blunt that you’re overdue for a personal session with the good ol’ rope and bucket. To help you avoid such a gruesome ending to your days, and be a complete human being who greets the world with a sunshiny smile every morning, we have compiled tried and tested ways that will aid you in your desperate search for that elusive meaning of existence.

1. Travel around the world! — Have you ever stopped to wonder just how tiny the portion of earth you’ve covered contentedly going to and fro your office every single day? Shame on you if you haven’t even visited another country or gotten to know a different people! Everyone knows you won’t find any meaning in the same boring hellhole you’ve been living in for the past 25 years. The secret of existence is a precious nugget of knowledge only starving people in the slums of Asia and the deserts of Africa can give you. In exchange for some clean water. And chocolate bars.

2. Start living the beach life. — Did you know that all life came from the oceans? Yes, evolution tells us that we all started out as glorious sea creatures before adaptation gave us ugly legs that enabled us to walk the earth, thus, effectively condemning ourselves to centuries of toiling this godawful land. It’s high time we go back and embrace the high tide. Sell all your belongings and move to a seaside community where you’ll be in touch with your early evolutionary roots. But we don’t mean just spend your days getting a tan and riding a banana boat–that stuff is for common tourists who might as well drown themselves for living meaningless, hedonistic existences! You have to sell everything, even your clothes, and essentially… become a fish. You can start by cutting gills into your neck.

3. Surf! — Of course, not everyone is ready to go full fish. That’s ok. You can still be one with the water while retaining your mammalian respiratory system by surfing! Get your own surfboard and start riding the waves, contemplating the purpose of all this–everything around you–in between troughs and crests. Propelled by that strange force only the laws of physics can sufficiently explain, you can begin by pondering that question pulsating right at the very heart of this existential conundrum: why are you trying to stand on a plastic plank in the middle of a goddamn body of water? Also, why are you listening to reggae and acting all Rastafarian when you don’t really give a shit about anything except the height of your waves? These are basic philosophical puzzles that you will nonetheless fail to answer because you have the attention span of a Brazilian wax landing strip.

4. Climb mountains. — Meaning is one of the hardest things to get on earth, second only to 8 hours of sleep. So if you can’t find meaning on the seafloor, it could be on a mountaintop. Pack your mountaineering equipment and brace yourself for hours and hours of miserable walking like a Hobbit on a mission to Mordor. Hiking is a prime, literal example of the journey being more important than the destination because discovering the key to the mystery of Being lies along the arduous trek to the top. What basically happens is that you’re putting yourself in so much unnecessary pain and anguish that when you finally see there’s nothing at the top but the same crappy soil you’ve been trudging on forever and a sky that looks as plainly sky-ish as skies get, cognitive dissonance kicks in and you tell yourself blatant rubbish like “Those people down there need to see this or they’re missing out on life.” Maybe. Or maybe they can just simply look at your pictures on Facebook in the comfort of their own basements while munching on Cheetos.

5. Do yoga. — Meditation is so passé. Unless you’re ready to go full monk and burn yourself (alternative to going full fish), you’ll never find meaning in mere meditation. What you need to do is yoga. It’s deep and hip, and it’s filling your Instagram with mutant women doing cartwheels. This spiritual and ascetic discipline from India is your expressway to existential enlightenment–and the best part of it is you can do it every day after work or on weekends (if you’re a filthy casual). Stretch your muscles in various torturous ways and bend yourself in horrific shapes reminiscent of nothing less than the human centipede. The goal is to achieve complete spiritual calm in the midst of all this bodily chaos. The more farts you unintentionally release and the more bones you crack, the better. Snapping your own neck and rendering yourself in a vegetative state actually gets you nearer Nirvana because perfect immobility opens up all those stubborn chakra valves that get in the way of true self-understanding.

6. Collect things or build stuff. — The very purpose of our opposing thumbs is to enable us to hold little things that our ape cousins can’t. You’re wasting your potential as a perfect crafting machine if you keep your hands idle. So get into the building business and start disappearing for days only to randomly reemerge in the living room with a neckbeard and stinking of vomited nachos to the utter shock of others. You may also collect stuff like action figures, stamps, dried bugs, toenail clippings, and your neighbor’s underwear (if you’re that kind of sick). The point is to shut yourself in so much and drive yourself to unholy levels of unkemptness that the world will only be too happy to leave you the fuck alone. And in those long, lonely moments when your introspection is at maximum, you’ll surely stumble upon some kind of meaning to the utter madness. If not, well, at least you have a badass sailing ship replica that screams “voluntary self-castration.”

7. Fall in love! — How often have we all heard that love is the answer? Well, it doesn’t matter how many times we hear it because it’s true–love is the answer! Or rather, it’s kind of a lazy summary of the answer. The answer in its complete form is this: “You are an incomplete shell of flesh who’s pretty much useless and obviously pathetic if you are unable to find someone who has a great need to suck your face in public. Someone who has such a great appetite for sucking your face in public that he or she will do it frequently and over a lengthy period of time even as you start showing him or her the true you who’s an overall idiot and couch potato. Once you find this strange person with an insatiable need for sucking your face, never let him or her go because you’ve made it, baby, and it’s all that really matters in life.”

8. Drink. — And finally, when all else fails, drink. Gulp that alcohol down until you find some meaning at the bottom of the glass. Repeat ad infinitum if no sobering existential epiphany happens. As a last resort, you may try breaking that glass or bottle against the table and then holding the jagged teeth close to your heart. Do it quickly like you’re grabbing the hand of someone you love whom you’ve not seen in a long time. Trickling blood is a good sign life is finally leaving you, and you’ll soon be able to ask god himself just what the heck the point of living is. Of course, you’ll soon find out that everyone up there already knows the big secret; they’re laughing their butts off about it every day before sermons. Too bad none of them can actually go back and tell the tale, including you.

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Free Writing

Yesterday, I Farted About Five-hundred and Forty Times

Please forgive me as I’m about to foray into a vapory territory but rest assured this is not just an extended fart joke. Yesterday, I farted about five-hundred and forty times. I realize this is not a particularly fabulous subject for discussion except the sheer amount of farts I farted, to me, makes it worthy of a fair amount of consideration. Especially since I suspect you’ve been in the same dreadful situation before.

I was with a woman whom I fervently fancy, talking to her about things of small and great consequence, and I enjoyed all our moments together except for the fact that I was farting like a methane factory all the time. She was telling me stories about her friends, fashion, and famous folks on Facebook but all the while, I was letting out flatulence in controlled little pauses so as not to produce a single perceptible whistle…

Fetid gas with unfriendly intent made their flight to freedom from the fissure in my buttocks in freakish frequency.

Needless to say, the task of keeping the fascinating conversation going while producing something unfragrant and maintaining a smiling facade was extremely difficult. I could imagine my little rectal muscles flexing its fibers to keep the floodgates of feces from forcefully erupting in a frightful flash of fustiness.

It was farcical how much effluvium I fielded. A whole farm of cows firing a symphony of fumes into the sky would have faired no better against me. I fought off the formidable foe in my belly with the ferociousness of a feral feline or a frenzied ferret but it was for the most part, fruitless. I farted as she spoke. I farted as I replied. I farted as she joked. I farted as I laughed. And laughed I did several times for she was a truly funny person with a flawless sense of humor, and as I laughed, I farted even more. I farted while we ate cup noodles and watched videos of people making fools of themselves. I farted fast and furtively, trying to forestall the inevitable. For to fail in front of her was frankly unfathomable.

And it made me wonder how people came to set such lofty expectations on themselves. Forcing out flatus is as natural a physical phenomenon as speaking and breathing yet we have come to regard it with infinite contempt. Wouldn’t it be freeing and far more functional if we’d simply let folks fart as often as they fancied without getting all furious about it? So that instead of me trying to hide the complex digestive processes forming and flowing along my intestines from this female I truly find fetching, I could just let out a fart bomb whenever I felt like it?

But all it is is fable and fiction because the sad and sometimes frightening fact is that public farts are forbidden. As frowned upon as nitpicking your nose, excavating your ear, and poking your nipples in full view of people. Yet I bet all these gestures are hardwired into our brains and have been passed down in the form of firm instincts from an early age when we were all honest apes.

And so as the sun flickered and fell in the sky, I spent the day with her and felt real fine. Frustrated as I was for the frenetic fabrication of fermented fumes in my tummy, and fatigued from fighting off the unfiltered, the truth was that I was grateful that she was there with me. We watched a fairly gratifying flick in the cinema, and there I had the freedom to flat out fill the room with funky air in the cover of thunderous sounds. There was definitely something fortuitous about the whole set up, but what really made me feel fortunate was that she was there beside me having a freakin’ fantastic time.

In those fleeting moments where she guffawed at the buffoonery on screen rather loudly and charming, I found few problems with life. I felt my fat face smile as my heartstrings were fiddled by a force frivolous and flowery–a formless, fragile fairy in a fugly world. So I decided that though my fanny was feverish, I had something fundamentally special that I must hold on to in the irony of a day filled with letting go.

Who cares about the future? I’ll go ahead and have fun in the present. Foul gas in my gut. Her in my mind.

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Brain Dead Serious

My Thoughts on Tiffany Uy (Or the Clone War Against China)

I can’t say I know Tiffany Uy that much but nevertheless, I have many thoughts about her because I’ve been seeing her on my Facebook Newsfeed a whole lot these days.

First off, I think Tiffany Uy is smart. Like really, really, really smart. I mean I heard she broke the record for the highest grade in the University of the Philippines that was standing since World War II. She must have been a real hardcore beast of a bookworm for her to nuke that record into smithereens. Like, if it’s true that knowledge is power, she would be nothing less than the Hulk. Or She-Hulk. And she’d be like “TIFFANY UY SMASH!” and she’d be all green and cranky but really, really, really smart unlike the real Hulk.

I know she’s a biology student. Or I guess a full-fledged biologist now, right? And of course, she can now go on and create human clones… because biologists create clones, right? I frankly don’t know of any other function of biologists except to manufacture clones in a laboratory.

So I expect her to manufacture clones of herself within a year of graduating from UP. She’ll have her own hidden laboratory underground their house like Dexter and it will have rows and rows of sleeping Tiffany Uy clones in capsules. These clones will all have her perfect genes that will allow them to break UP grade records for a hundred more years. And they will all be equipped with bubbly personalities… and have her perfect bobbed hair impervious to split ends.

Tiffany Uy will probably have her own army of clones like the Star Wars Galactic Empire except she won’t be on the dark side. Binay and his ilk will be on the dark side as always, and Tiffany Uy will be like the Chosen One destined to bring balance to the Force in this country. With the help of her clone army, the people of the Philippines will be able to EDSA IV (it’s four, right?) Binay’s ass back to where it belongs (because of course he’ll be our next President, just give it up). And then since there clearly will not be any other person more qualified to take the presidency, we will happily make substantial changes to the Constitution, and gladly install Tiffany Uy as the youngest President of the Philippines–the youngest president in the history of the world.

She will make drastic changes to this country, that President Tiffany Uy. Don’t worry; we won’t be calling her PnUy because that would be just dumb. But on the first quarter of her reign of excellence, she’ll drive a same-sex marriage bill into law–and be like “Fuck the CBCP!” because biologists are atheists, right? I mean, how can you make human clones if you’re not an atheist? So President Tiffany Uy will be a kickass liberal atheist president and she will allow LGBT to marry like they should. In return, the LGBT will willingly join her clone army and fight for her in the Philippines’ war vs China.

That would be the defining event of her term–the Phil-China War to finally end once and for all the tyranny in the seas committed based on ancient Chinese maps frankly nobody gives a fuck about in modern times. But since Tiffany Uy is like partially Chinese or something, there will be a controversy stirred by the now marginalized CBCP about where her loyalties lie. But Filipinos will all be like, “Nah, stop with your bullshit, CBCP. We love President Tiffany Uy and know in our hearts she’ll fight for the country as ferociously as she once studied to get a weighted average grade of 1.004 in UP! Besides, we’re all atheists now. We don’t care anymore what you think of national issues.” And all will be good.

So the war will go on but it will be short-lived. China will think they can bomb the shit out of us with their cheap plastic destroyers made in China but they will never see Tiffany Uy’s biologically enhanced clone army descending upon Beijing from the skies. These clones–aside from being equipped with bubbly personalities and split-end-resistant-bobbed-hair–will have the strength of a Tamaraw, our national animal, and large wings of the monkey-eating eagle, our national bird. And they’re all really, really, really smart. So smart they can fashion super weapons out of everyday things like rocks and sticks. So this mutant army will bring China down on its knees and they’ll finally let us keep the Spratly Islands, which will of course be renamed Tiffany Uy Islands and will host an all-female community of Tiffany Uy clones like Amazons.

We will never have a need for any other president again. When the original Tiffany Uy expires, we simply awaken another one from her underground lab and pass the presidential responsibilities to her, which she’ll earnestly take for the pride of our nation. Corruption will end. The Binays will be deported to China where the Chinese won’t give a shit about what they’ll say because they can’t understand Tagalog. Poverty will be reduced to zero. We won’t have to dream of Duterte cracking down on crime because it will be eradicated by the clone army. And Jiro Manio will have a home once more and win an international Oscar after being inspired by Tiffany Uy’s great deeds.

I can’t wait for this to happen. The future shines bright with that kid out there.

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Brain Dead Serious

I Don’t Agree with Same-Sex Marriage Because of The Little Prince, Page 14, Paragraph 2

I really don’t agree with same-sex marriage because it is clearly written in The Little Prince, Page 14, Paragraph 2:

“When you’ve finished your own toilet in the morning, then it is time to attend to the toilet of your planet, just so, with the greatest care. You must see to it that you pull up regularly all the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rosebushes which they resemble so closely in their earliest youth. It is very tedious work.”

There is no denying the clarity of Saint-Exupérian text on this subject. Baobabs may look like rosebushes but baobabs are bad.

Furthermore, on Page 20, Paragraph 5:

“There are no tigers on my planet,” the little prince objected. “And, anyway, tigers do not eat weeds.”

The Little Prince elaborates on this matter of consequence on Page 32, Paragraph 11:

“If I owned a silk scarf,” he said, “I could put it around my neck and take it away with me. If I owned a flower, I could pluck that flower and take it away with me. But you cannot pluck the stars from heaven . . .”

You CANNOT pluck the stars from heaven! You cannot pluck the stars from heaven, my brothers! And even if you could, what good will that do if you have giant baobabs in your pathetic little planet with three volcanoes, one of which is extinct (but one never knows)? But fear not! Even with all these baobabs growing unchecked all over your planet, it is not impossible to chase the sunshine! Page 34, Paragraph 10:

“Your planet is so small that three strides will take you all the way around it. To be always in the sunshine, you need only walk along rather slowly. When you want to rest, you will walk–and the day will last as long as you like.”

See? As mere mortals, we are understandably limited in our understanding of this subject just like the poor lamplighter! And I fear that because of this hideous ruling, we have been judged unworthy just as explicitly written in the word of the Prince Page 43, Paragraph 9:

“What a queer planet!” he thought. “It is altogether dry, and altogether pointed, and altogether harsh and forbidding. And the people have no imagination. They repeat whatever one says to them . . . On my planet I had a flower; she always was the first to speak . . .”

The temptation to err in our ways in these trying times is not lost on me. When all our friends have put colorful rainbow filters over their profile pictures, remember that our will is being tested by Saint-Exupéry in the most mysterious of ways. But as good Little Princians, we must be steadfast in our belief.

Let me end with the secret knowledge of the fox, everyone of us knows by heart. The untamed fox says in Page 46, Paragraph 2:

“Men,” said the fox. “They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests.”

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Free Writing

The Problem is I Don’t Have a Problem–Not Anymore.

Oftentimes I would find myself on the brink of correcting someone on Facebook when they’ve made a particularly idiotic comment, but then just before I hit the Enter button, my hand would stop in mid-air, I’d press backspace, delete the entire thing, and say to myself, “Fuck it. Forget it.”

Something’s definitely amiss. The feeling’s strongest on Sunday mornings when I just want to sit in a chair and stare at garden plants with a retarded smile on my face.

I think the problem is that I don’t have a problem–not anymore. I used to have a collection–a library of problems! When I was younger, I would make a problem of just about everything: my coffee (“It’s too expensive, farmers died for this!”), the watch I wore (“It’s not working but I’ll still wear it because time is an illusion.”), the train (always been a problem that one), somebody’s boyfriend (“He’ll clearly not make her happy!”), rat carcasses on the road (“The perfect symbol for this rotten system!”), my spinster professor (“Projecting our arid sex life and general wish to die on our students, aren’t we?”), and stuff that everybody made a problem of–government and religion.

Those were the days! I could commute to school or to the office without listening to the radio or an “MP3 player” because I would be endlessly entertained by the hubbub of problems in my head. I’d be riding a jeepney and thinking, “Look at all these dead-eyed passengers just wasting away their lives going to and fro their cold cubicles when they could actually make a difference by saying ‘We’ve had enough! We’re crashing this pathetic jeepney into our pathetic buildings and torching our pathetic desks and stealing all the free coffee from the pantry!'”

Used to be I thought of things like that all the time.

I literally had stacks of journals all filled with my problems; they were written in volumes and could have served as an exhaustive catalog of humanity’s issues. The sheer size of the collection indicating the inordinate amount of time spent on such a dark, fruitless, lonesome activity would creep anybody out. My problems on love alone probably filled around three full notebooks. They discussed everything from the difference between love and lust to a theory about love as a disease that needed to be treated, sort of like the flu. They were absolutely fascinating! Because problems are fascinating things when written down or printed on paper, almost like old-school porn magazines. As an aside, it was always better to jerk off on those tattered pages than these gleaming cell phone screens.

But as I said, I don’t have those problems anymore. I wake up and the first thing I think about is not “Am I waking up to the real world or am I just a simulation like in The Matrix?” I wake up these days and I think, “Have I emailed that guy from the sales team yet?” And it’s terribly sad because that is not a problem at all. That’s a minor inconvenience or a daily task that may be bothersome to do but will nonetheless be accomplished that day or at some point in the future.

It’s not a problem.

Or it’s a problem but not a “real” one. It’s fake as hell.

‘Cause to me, real problems don’t necessarily seek answers; most of them have answers that are glaringly evident. Take for example the classic problem of: “Why do people keep on stealing others’ belongings when the world is already going to shit as it is?” That’s a legitimate problem right there and one worth thinking about leisurely while the very life is getting squeezed out of you in the jam-packed train. It can serve as a full-body anesthesia. You could spend an hour and a half looking at the different angles of that problem and trying to beat that voice in your head in a furious schizophrenic debate. That even though the answer is fucking obvious: “People steal because they’re poor as rats and even those who are rich still rob because they want more in this state of things where having more means having a greater fucking life. Having a big house is different from having a mansion is different from having your own freaking building and a private jet is different from controlling the entire country from your bathroom while you’re taking a shit.”

That’s a straight answer but nobody really wants that. It takes the fun away from nitpicking things that gnaw in our brains and our conscience. Straight answers are boring. The real problems are fun because they are never meant to be answered, only repeatedly considered in a semi-unconscious manner, like speaking a calming mantra, or squeezing a stress ball… or caressing your pet cat’s fur.

Something happened along the way–most probably aging–that made me lose all my precious problems. I think the overall lack of elasticity in the skin that produces wrinkles as one gets older extends to the brain, so that your once taut and springy mind progressively becomes soggy. And the physical sogginess of your brain matter is projected on your every view and every emotion such that your default face eventually starts to look like cold, overcooked pasta.

Of course, it could also be that thanks to your hard work and just the macroeconomics of it all (which you really don’t want to think about because you now have the attention span of a teaspoon), resulted in a pay at a level where the act of spending became more satisfying than questioning the ultimate purpose of spending. I mean, goddamn I can spend my wallet empty on Batman action figures without giving a shred of a thought! Who cares what you think of my hobby? Or what Marx would say about Batman? It’s the goddamn Batman for Christ’s sake! The Dark Knight that I deserve and need right now.

Sometimes, I also think it has to do with just being generally battered in love. I have a deep suspicion that love is the costly fuel that drives all goals and motivations in life. You don’t have love, sucks for you, because you won’t be launching any kind of revolution any time soon; instead, you’ll be sitting in a chair looking at garden plants with a retarded smile on your face. It’s not as fun to ponder love anymore and frame it philosophically or in some form of romantic literature when the plain fact is you’re just miserably failing at asking women out. Or outright getting seenzoned on Facebook. Or worse, unseenzoned (girl already posted three times that day about her cute, little puppies but still hasn’t opted to open your message).

And few men would admit it, but I sincerely think that every time a man fails at love or in romantic relationships, the damage is never confined to that space only. Rather, the ripple effects of that text message that was sent to you to tell you you’re a piece of shit that she would never date again touch on all the facets of your life: your work, leisure, morality, spirituality, in the very way your brain serves you the first thought of the morning. So that instead of feeling freshly intellectual when your eyes open, you just feel like you need another shot of Game of Thrones fan theory and a soggy McDonald’s cheeseburger.

I would like to craft a proper ending to this one but you know what? Fuck it. Forget it.

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