July 16, 2024

(Editors’ note: The Midland Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on July 7, 2019.)

Growing up pains isn’t the same as growing old pains.
Picture yourself as a three-year-old, playing catch with the other neighborhood kids on a sunny Saturday morning.
Failing to catch the rubber ball thrown your way, you quickly dash to retrieve it. Your left foot slips, and you stumble to the ground.
Playmates and bystanders burst out in laughter, and you feel like crying – no, not from the bruise on your knee, but more from embarrassment.

But growing old pains are more real and quite painful.
Even after a night’s sleep – interrupted four or five trips to the john while watching the Wimbledon championships: Serena’s come-from-behind wins on her way to the third round, a 15-year-old girl named Coco bringing down sister Venus in the first round; a cocky Rafa Nadal bearing an even cockier Nick Krygios in thrilling sets; an aging Roger Federer making a go of it one more time – you wonder where all the aches in your body are coming from.
Could it be the result of having lechon for lunch and crabs for dinner the day before? But of course, you idiot.
Quickly you grope for your medicine bag. Maybe a tablet of Arconsia will help ease the pain on your aching knee.
There’s Norvas 5 milligrams, Lipitor 20 mgs., Bastarel and Codiova, but no Arconsia. Damn.
You order the help to hie off to the nearest Mercury or St. Joseph drugstore and she is back minutes later. The druggist wants to know the milligrams. She doesn’t add, “You forgetful old fool.”

Against doctor’s advice, you pop one Arconsia after another in your mouth, the better to rid the pain in your knee.
What was the name of your high school teacher who took Arconsia like peanuts which caused his untimely demise? You shudder a bit.
The pain disappears – after an hour, but you are still pooped out and listless. You soon remember that you failed to take your morning meds – Norvas, Bastarel, Vitamin C.

The Ibaloy that one is, you are reckless with your eating habits – always meat, meat, meat. Salad is for goats, and fish is for lowlanders.
After a hearty meal, like the ad says, Coke comes with good food.
Evening falls, and you are coughing a bit and spitting phlegm.
You can’t sleep, not with the coughing fits, not able to spit out the phlegm stuck in your throat.
You pay a visit to your friendly neighborhood doctor. He puts his stethoscope to your chest, and orders the clinic technician to prepare you for X-ray examination. He prescribes a bundle of medicine, and the drugstore clerk hands you a bill that comes to four figures. Wow!

A few days later you are feeling better. Thank heavens for doctors. No, no, not those who tell you that you need to undergo an operation or a heart bypass ASAP.
Like someone once said, if 40 is the new 30, then rackets are the new normal.
Without a racket of your own, you will die from envy. The devil awaits us all. But them first.

My Apo Kensha, who was strong as an ox in her late 80s, slipped while taking a bath, and she was bedridden for 10 years.
An aunt who still did her own marketing and cooking at 90, without need of assistance, fell on her back when her grip on a doorknob trying to open a door, came loose, causing her to fall on her back. Months later she died from injury complications.
When you are old, you have a deathly fear of missing a step and falling down, or being beaten by a toughie who loves to prey on the elderly like you and I.

The bill that they should file in Congress should be one that provides free medicine for the sick and elderly; free doctor’s fees; and free hospitalization.
Much as you want to stay longer on Earth, it isn’t worth a damn thing if the fun has been taken out of life.
Time to say goodbye when your eyes no longer appreciate all the pretty girls passing by, or when your diet is limited to lugaw and chicken soup; and if they take away the TV and the books, and the card games and the cockfights, then “what is life without a wife, better get a knife and end your life.”
If suicide weren’t a sin, the elderly would be gone by now.
Put (former United States President) Donald Trump in a farm, and he won’t last a week.

Hey, the talk is that all the gambling joints in the city have been ordered closed by City Hall. Good. But not so. They have moved over to La Trinidad, Benguet.
Jueteng? Still around, but in the guise of lotto. Loteng, they call it. How do you know? By the numbers, how else, it’s still 1 to 37.
I think no one in this country, including past presidents, would dare offend Bong Pineda.
Don’t get me wrong. Once upon a time, Rene Cortes, Erap Estrada, a senator then, and I were friends.
When they are able to dredge the Pasig River clean, will be the day jueteng will come to an end.
All it really takes is political will, something that all presidential spokesmen never had, including the present one.
Opo, may pamilya tayong lahat.