Monday, November 21, 2005

Introduction to Winks and Blinks Blog

Upon retirement, I took up writing as a hobby to stay active mentally. I wrote a weekly article in a tabloid paper but quit when I sensed that my written opinions were not in harmony with the advocacies of the paper’s publisher. Since then, I would express my opinions and rant in an occasional letter to a newspaper editor on some current hot issue. Now it seems that the writing bug has inflicted an op-ed relapse. Blogging is my latest mode of shouting in the wilderness. “I shot an arrow into the air. It fell to earth I knew not where.” Who knows, someone may even read the blogs titled Winks and Blinks. As in the tabloid articles, the topics are free wheeling and free-style, but usually of public interest and at times of an emerging issue.
In my college days, idle hours were whiled away filling in crossword puzzles. No doubt the pastime helped build up my vocabulary, a golden passport to college entrance and pre-employment tests in the mid-20th century. Now that chronobiology has converted me into a social class which polite society labels as senior citizen (instead of fogy, senile, senescent, fossil or some such colorful epithet), I detect a occasional loss in my grasp of some words, perceptively the early warnings of memory loss and harbinger of senility, dementia or Alzheimer’s (the long goodbye). Searching for remedies, I recall the admonition of a grade school English teacher about vocabularies --- use the word three times and it’s yours; if you don’t use it, you lose it. Using mnemonics helped a bit. Writing e-mails to friends and relations, letters to editors, and articles in an op-ed column accomplished much more. It demanded frequent trips to consult the dictionary, but the effort provided an incidental health bonus: exercise. The activity reduced couch potato time gawking at TV.
Surfing health websites about the ageing brain and memory confirmed that an active brain does stave off memory loss. Medical research found that the brain is like a muscle --- the more you use it, the stronger it gets and it stays strong longer. A brain stimulated by reading, learning and other activities requiring thought and imagination helps avert memory loss, although illness such as diabetes, stress, insomnia, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, even prescriptive medication, cause memory to deteriorate with age.
In the foreword to Winks and Blinks, wink is defined as “to close one eye momentarily in teasing, frivolous or flippant manner.” A definition of blink is omitted, but it is a means of communicating non-verbally by body language usually by closing and immediately opening both eyes. Its use as a signal was cited in a recent U.S. TV news snippet that showed a gravely ill woman in a coma. She was in this state for several months and was kept alive with liquid food via a feeding tube. Although in comatose state, she was aware of what was happening around her, seeing and hearing but unable to communicate verbally. Authorities decided her case as hopeless and detached the feeding tube to let her die. For eight days the tube was detached. All this time the husband resolutely disagreed, and threatened a lawsuit if the feeding did not resume, forcing a reattachment of the feeding tube. Her husband, as a last desperate resort, tried to talk to her by asking questions and telling her to blink in reply, indicating a “yes”. It worked and she made a full recovery. She said each blink was extremely exhausting and needed several minutes to rest between blinks.
Another meaning of blink in the context of Winks and Blinks articles is “to look with surprise or dismay” My profile? I am a bloody Flip, the pejorative word for Pinoy or Filipino (a native of the Philippines) as denigrating a word as the Ugly American WASP --- white Anglo Saxon protestant. You bet I am a senior citizen, as grumpy as they come and proud to be one, senior that is. But pride cannot replace the nostalgia of remembering dear friends and kin who have departed this life, who enriched my own life by inspiring me with their virtues and humbling me with their faults. Sure, longevity is a privelege but has drawbacks, I suppose. No more poker or bridge playmates.

1 comment:

Manila Bay Watch said...

I will come back to begin reading these wonderful posts slowly - from the start.

Outstanding blog you've got here.