Superman Visits Des Moines

In the 707th issue of Superman comic-book series that came out in stores yesterday, it showed Superman visiting the city of Des Moines. He did his usual hero stuff here, like stopping a freight train from running over a girl, rescuing a crashing helicopter, and foiling a robbery. No, I don’t have the comic-book, I just heard it from the Iowa Public Radio which I listened to, when I am driving to work. I then read it more in the Des Moines Register (our city’s newspaper, counterpart of the fictional Daily Planet where Clark Kent works) on-line edition.

According to the story, Superman, has been walking, (mind you, not flying) across America to get back in touch with humanity. Even though I don’t follow comic books (except for Calvin and Hobbes!), I am a Superman fan, and maybe I will get a copy of this most recent issue, just for curiosity sake.

That's the Principal Building in Des Moines (image from Des Moines Register)

Des Moines is far different from Metropolis, the fictional city where Clark Kent lives. For one, Des Moines is relatively small compared to the mega city of Metropolis. We also don’t have crazy characters, like the mad scientist, Lex Luthor, who wants to rule over the world. There might be some mad doctors though (No, it’s not me!). And it does not mean, we have no use of another caped hero.

I am not sure why Superman did not stay for long in Des Moines though. Perhaps he found out that we have traces of kryptonite in our water. Or maybe Lois Lane does not want to move to Des Moines. Or maybe he just cannot find a telephone booth where he can change into his tights. But then again, what other cities still have telephone booths?

Superman Is Back

I’m back! After being sidelined by back pains for 2 weeks, I am back. This morning I ran 7 kilometers. Just don’t ask me how long it took me. It felt like it took me 7 hours to cover 7 kilometers.

Back pain? What back pain? Back pain, where is thy sting?! Kryptonite will not deter me! I feel like Superman again!……..except for some soreness here…….and there…….and here…….and here……and here……… Where the heck is my ibuprofen?

Superman’s Kryptonite

My back is killing me. For the past few days I have this bad back pain that has limited my mobility a lot. Simple chores became an ordeal. Bending is impossible. Putting on my socks is a torture, and tying my shoes is a struggle (if I can only wear flip flops at work!). The other day, my wife has to help me put on my socks. Is this part of getting old? What’s next? Adult diapers?

I have been trying to defy aging. I have been exercising and going to the gym 2-3 times a week. I am still playing basketball with the guys in our church every week (as much as my schedule allows). And few months ago, I ran my first half marathon. I have even been considering running the full marathon, if I can train for it.

Now this. I can’t even walk straight, let alone run.  This made me accept the humbling fact that I am not Superman. I am not invincible. I am not as young as I want to believe I am. I finally realized my own mortality. A simple back pain reduced me to an ageing mortal being. A painful fact to experience and much more painful to accept.

But I will not go down without a fight. I will not bend (as of the moment, I really can’t) without a putting up a battle. I will not surrender without a struggle. Tomorrow, I will be back! (If I have my back back.)

Ako si Superman

“Get down there!” Ito ang nagaalalang sigaw ng aking asawa, habang ang aking anak na lalaki, na anim na taong gulang, ay nakalambitin sa aming matarik na hagdan. Bakit kaya ganoon ang mga bata? Umaakyat sa hindi dapat akyatan, tumatalon sa hindi dapat talunan, at lumalambitin sa hindi dapat lambitinan. Minsan ay ipinapanalangin na lang namin ang aming anak na hindi ito kumalabog, makomang o mabalda. Bigla kong naalala nuong ako’y bata pa………

Tatlo o apat na taon ako ng subukan kong lumipad na parang superman. Sa isang playground sa Luneta; habang itinutulak ako sa duyan ng tatay ko, ay bigla kong naisipang tumalon. Hindi pa ipinaliliwanag ang law of gravity sa akin nuon. Pagkatapos ng aking maikling paglipad ay ang masaklap na pagbagsak. Una nguso sa lupa. Dinala ako sa isang clinic malapit sa Rizal Park upang tahiin ang nguso kong nabasag. Akala n’yo si Rizal lang ang nagbuwis ng dugo sa Bagumbayan?

Limang taon ako; sa apartment ng aking lola sa Project 7. Nakikipaghabulan ako sa hagdanan, nang tangkain kong lumundag na parang spiderman. Sumemplang na naman ako, una ulo na lumagapak sa semento. Pumutok ang aking nuo. Hindi ko nga alam kung bakit laging mukha ko ang aking ipinangsasalo sa aking pagbagsak. Dinala na naman ako sa Emergency room para sulsihin ang aking biyak na nuo. Buti na lang at maganda ang pagkakatahi ng duktor, at hindi ako nagmukhang alkansiya.

Anim na taon ako; sa silong ng aming bahay sa Sampaloc. Nagluluksong tinik akong mag-isa, nilulundag ko ay payong. Sa aking paglukso ay sumabit ang aking paa. Itinukod ko ang aking kamay (sa halip na mukha na naman) sa aking pagbagsak. Biglang lumagutok ang aking siko. Pagtayo ko ay hindi na diretso ang aking kanang braso! Itinakbo na naman ako sa ospital upang simentuhin ang bali kong buto. Anim na linggo ring nakasukbit sa leeg ko ang komang kong braso.

Pitong taon ako; sa aking eskwelahan sa Quezon City. Sinubukan kong mag-skating (kahit walang skates) sa madulas na banyo. Nawalan ako ng panimbang at bumalandra sa pader. Nakanto ang aking mukha (mukha na naman!). Nasugat ang gilid ng aking kaliwang mata. Buti na lang at maliit lang ang biyak at hindi na ito kailangang tahiin. Kung hindi, ay siguro nanay ko na lang ang tatahi sa mukha ko na walang anesthesia!

Pinasasalamatan ko nga ang aking mga magulang at pinaabot pa nila ako ng Grade 1 na buhay. Marami rin silang dinaanang hirap sa pagpapalaki sa akin. Hindi mabilang na beses din nila akong ipinanalangin na sana’y malayo ako sa disgrasya sa kabila ng aking kalikutan. Maraming beses ding iniluhod ng nanay ko ang aking kaligtasan. At alam ko, hanggang sa ngayon, ay kasama pa rin ako sa kanyang panalangin, kahit ako’y hindi na bata.

Ngayon, ako naman ang nagdarasal……. Sana po, ang aking “daredevil” na anak ay makatapos ng Grade 1, na buhay.