I'VE LEARNED SOMETHING THESE DAYS ; or rather I have suddenly awaken to the realization that somehow becomes an elevating idea for me, o...

Of Absolute Certainty

I'VE LEARNED SOMETHING THESE DAYS; or rather I have suddenly awaken to the realization that somehow becomes an elevating idea for me, of hope and redemption, of salvation and deliverance.

Actually, it would somehow appears like learning from that old adage “You don’t know what you've got until it’s gone” or “You can’t always have what you wanted”. But actually it’s far from that—- it’s something beside the point.
Lately, I had a snglguy predicament, that is spending hours and hours at home without cable television, meaning I am now without the glossy news of CNN and subtle in information that can be sourced from BBC and National Geographic, the amazing realities inside Discovery Channel, the boys of summer of Major League Baseball coming in live from America, the guffaws that can be had from the crazy antics of Seinfeld’s crazy bunch of cast, and so much more; much more than the ongoing National Football League season, the upcoming Ryder Cup tournament, the sometimes sharp reporting in Channel Asia and the special presentations shown on HBO and Cinemax.

One day about a week ago, our cable connection was cut-off and I was a little taken out of sort. Not that I never saw it coming but it is just that I never thought my wife was serious enough about it when she kept on muttering to me in a fairly exasperated tone that we have to cut house expenses at this time (the kids tuition fees are becoming such a weighty expense for us) and our cable subscription had to go. I never believed that somehow because we had been “cabled” for almost a decade and life without 40 channels on TV is just unimaginable. But she did that, going to the cable TV office without me knowing it and requested that our subscription be ended.

I somehow have this feeling that it is just a frank put on me by my wife, to catch me off-guard and see how I react funny to it, like they often do in shows like Candid Camera or Wow Mali!. Or maybe she just wanted to change Cable Company, the one with more channels on it like the Disney Channel for the kids and Jack TV and that one with Jay Leno and David Letterman on its lineup. I hope my presumptions are true.

But now, it is just not happening. You’d wonder why I am not applying for a re-connection or for a new subscription with the other cable company myself. Well, I have a strong inclination to do that and I could pay that with my own personal fund but there is a problem to that idea because right now every billing here still remains in my late father-in-law’s name and the PLDT is still in my wife’s maiden name and we all know that cable companies always require such kind of document or else they won’t agree to any application. We are actually living in my in-law’s house right now for my mother-in-law needs company while she is already too old and weak and also for practical reasons.

I guess I've got to make a lot of convincing to do in the next coming days but it looks like she is hell-bent on cutting our family expenses. That is just how it is; some family decisions really need the concurrence of both spouses. I hope we can agree on this for just another time.

So how does this idea of “absolute certainty” come into the picture? Well, this present predicament I have reminds me of some instance or occurrence that I had experienced so many years ago, when I was still so young and in my college years. Our house then had no cable connection since at that time cable subscription was not yet as widespread or as popular here in our town; it was still something more of a foreign idea, unlike now where every home seems to have one. And then a neighborhood friend had just gotten a cable subscription and he was so gleeful about it that he had invited us for some merriment while watching their brand new home entertainment. I remember how I was so fascinated at that time about discovering something that gives you so much fun and pleasure, how in the convenience of your home, one could get to information and entertaining shows that comes from all over the world, as far as America, Europe and neighboring Asian countries. We watched those very exciting sporting tournaments like Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association live on television and the movies on it were just awesome that it goes on for 24 hours. I was fascinated to no end that I couldn't sleep thinking how pleasurable for one to have cable subscription at that time, when a lot of people still don’t have it, including me.

Since then, for each time had I passed by our friend’s house, I would peak for a while and see what’s on their TV screen and it would just have a minute sneak on it for it is just not ideal to stand in front of their house for more than a minute of two, it was just improper and odd to me. Our friend couldn't invite us over as often to watch some sports show for clearly, it impedes the privacy of their home, which is of course all of us know as primordial in every home. So I just keep on stealing a peak every now and then and took some minute pleasure from it.

Yet, whenever I passed by my friend’s house, I have always thought that one day, our family might get that luscious cable connection and the delicious pleasure one gets from it. Maybe my mother would agree to it. But our family was not as uppity then that I was more inclined to believe that she would certainly frown at the idea because for one, it would merely add up to the house expenses when at that time, the four of us siblings were still in college, me at law school, my sister on a midwifery institution and my other two brothers pursuing an engineering course and electronics respectively.

But that desire to have cable subscription at our home was so overpowering that I had put it into mind that maybe one day, I’d be able to get it myself; I can perhaps get myself a good job after graduating from law school, and be able to afford that soon after. I am certain I’d be able to afford that myself. I had in fact put it into mind that I've got to make good in my studies so that I won’t stay longer in law school than necessary and be able to work as soon as possible. Every time I passed by our friend’s house, I would feel enormous envy sometimes and with that goes frustrations and other sort of negative feelings. But I decided that I can’t go on envying for a longer time and I just have to control this notion immediately by keeping in mind that getting a cable connection could be an “absolute certainty” in the future. If not now, then some other time in the future. Maybe next year; or maybe in the next two years; I must not fret and complain for nothing should happen to me if I have that sort of mindset. I have decided then that envy is just a frame of mind and I could evade feeling such if only I could control that mindset and direct it towards something positive, to one that is full of hope and aspiration. Envy is such a negative emotion that I felt that if I let it overcome me, and continually control my person, I would merely feel bad about it and would merely be at the losing end.

So I adopted this mindset, one that makes me believe that if I only set my mind into it, that something I’d like to get would come with “absolute certainty”. Since then, whenever I passed by my friend’s house, I would feel gleeful instead of gloomy, for their cable television would remind me that someday, I’d be able to have such and it’s that hope that keeps me alive every time, making me exert more in everything I do, making me feel happy instead of gloomy, while imagining how when that day comes, I’d be treating myself to endless sports shows and global news from CNN and amazing information from Discovery Channel. I knew then that day would come, and convinced myself to believe in that idea, and that realization alone makes me feel rather blessed than wanting, gleeful rather than gloomy, worthy rather than envious.

The good thing about this story is that I didn't have to wait until I graduate from law school and get myself employed to get that cable subscription. One night, I cajoled my father and talked him sweetly into getting a cable subscription, explaining to him in bated breath how he can get so much pleasure from watching NBA games right on our living room (we sometimes have to dine outside to watch live NBA shows) and a lot more marvelous shows from all over the world. Without so much remonstration, he became agreeable to it and was in fact blissful about it; I was able to tell that by the way he acted that day when we had the cable guys connect our TV to the whole wide world. He was smiling throughout the day and moved all over the house like a child that had got himself/herself an enjoyable brand new toy (when ordinarily my father was just like me, very serious and calm).

Of course, I wouldn't have to tell you now how blissful I was that day. You just have to imagine it.

(This is an old post from 2006)


  1. The wonders of cable TV. I think I can now live without cable TV as long as I have an internet on.

    1. I spend actually much online all day than in front of TV nowadays. :-)

  2. Cable TV, I think, helps a lot in so many ways, especially in the dissemination of information, understanding different cultures of the world, etc. But sometimes, to make sure you're not overburdened by family expenses, people must be willing to make sacrifices. I hope you get your cable back. And yes, sometimes, too, achieving things is all a matter of mindset, too.

    1. I finally got my cable connection back Maricel. Ooh, it was really unpleasant to stuck to non-cabled TV, like there's nothing on it :-)Yes, indeed, just like the Internet, cable TV allows us great amount of useful information and data.

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