For the fast few days, every Filipino has worn a shroud of sorrow to mourn the passing of our beloved Dolphy. This incredibly funny, sensitive, gentle and gracious, incomparable entertainer was genuinely respected and held in high esteem by powerful people, his peers and by the man on the street.
While we try to come to terms with the reality of his death, we watch clips of his long and unforgettable career, and he still makes us laugh.
I met The King of Comedy a couple of times. I remember the naughty twinkle in his eyes. He moved quietly. He had class. I loved the way he was solicitous and respectful with the ladies, especially his beautiful Zsa Zsa. Her eulogy Wednesday night at the Dolphy Theater was heart-rending.
He was a gentle man, humble and self-effacing despite his fame. He stood with presidents, dined and danced with the high and the mighty. But never forgot his roots. He is now one with the ages.
Dolphy was once urged to run for office by politicians who wanted to use his huge box office draw at the polls. His reply was precious. “Running is easy. Pero paano kung manalo? (But what if I win?)”
I think this should be a bumper sticker for the next elections, to warn deluded and over-ambitious politicians to consider the country’s welfare before their own.
Dolphy has passed into eternity. Laughter is heard among the angels today while the nation weeps, our hearts broken and desolate. He will be painfully missed and never forgotten.
Remembering this entertainment icon makes us think of laughter, tears, of drama and romance. As controversial and unconventional as his love life was, he was every inch a gentleman, devoted to his family, honest and humble, with values and principles rarely seen these days. He was vintage old school.
I wonder what he had to say about today’s version of romance. What was his take on wooing via Facebook or Twitter?
While enjoying and trying to take full advantage of the incredible new technologies, I ask myself if the social networks have completely taken over good old-fashioned courtship.
Without a laptop, an iPad, tablet, cell phone or other high-tech toys, is it still possible to get “romantic”?
Has tapping on the soft-touch keyboards taken over the thrill of running your fingers through the tresses of some fair maiden? Does excitement solely depend on whether there is Wifi wherever you go?
If the power were to go off, would today’s smitten young man feel lost and, yes, powerless? Or would he be creative enough to remember that the atmosphere for love is doubly enhanced by lighting some candles?
Have love notes written in beautiful script been replaced by cryptic messages sent from a smart phone? Do the abbreviated “sweet nothings” have the same effect as when someone whispers them tenderly in your ear? I have my doubts.
Instead of sending flowers and fine poetry, are we now transmitting tokens of affection via an impersonal Internet? When someone says “I will always love you,” is our most eloquent reply “luvu2 4evr”?
As much as I am thankful for e-mail and what it allows me to do, I am happy to belong to the generation of old fogies who sent love letters straight from the heart, written artfully on pretty stationery. What could be more exciting than to see the mailman arrive at your door to deliver a letter from your beloved?
I remember becoming breathless at the sight of the L. Carlos Florist delivery van pulling into our driveway on my birthday, or better yet, on a date that had no special significance at all. I got butterflies in my stomach when I read the three little words on the card attached to beautiful roses. No signature was needed. I knew.
Today, one has only to click open a website to choose an appropriate greeting for the occasion. Another click allows you to select a virtual bouquet of aroma-less flowers picked from some garden in cyberspace. Like my granddaughter would say: “Ewwww! Gross!”
In my day, it took quite a bit of courage, a little time and a lot of thought to send someone your heart. It was a conscious, deliberate effort. Ah, but the rewards were priceless.
It surprises me how relationships can thrive these days. Everything is so fast, so “instant.” They say that communication is key to a good relationship and that it brings harmony and better understanding. But is it possible to express our feelings in a rush?
Recently, in a gathering of young people (what was I doing there, for heaven’s sake?) in honor of a newly engaged couple, I overheard someone ask: Does anyone have sure-fire tips on how to keep a relationship on course?
I think I fidgeted where I sat and took a big gulp of my soda water, thinking, I am not required to answer. No one is asking me.
Signs along the way
My expertise learned from years of experience is more about derailments than about what keeps a train on track. Should I tell them about the signs along the way, the warnings one sees but often chooses to ignore?
We know that a red stop sign is not there to improve the landscape. My driving instructor was emphatic about that: “If you see it’s red, it can only mean stop. There are no options.” Many of us proceed anyway.
For example, we see the marks of a control freak. But we rationalize. He is just macho, or she just cares too much. The desire to control is a sign of insecurity. Beware.
Does the green-eyed monster sneak up on you too often? Are you accused of flirting or being unfaithful, without any provocation? Is there no trust in your relationship? It may be time to bail out.
Is that special someone trying to change you? Are your core values threatened? If you are afraid to voice your opinions or stand up for your principles, if you feel like you are walking on eggshells, something is terribly wrong. Look for the nearest exit.
A good love relationship is comfortable. It should bring out the best in you and your partner. It always seeks the happiness of the one you love. And no matter what happens around you or how circuitous the path may be, your heart knows that it has come home.
Nineteenth-century English writer Dinah Craik says it so well in her novel “A Life for A Life.”
“Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are—chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”