A COLUMNIST is most sincere when he writes about something he knows from experience.

That’s why early morning yesterday, before I sat down to write this column, I went outside the house, lay face down on the ground, placed my palms flat against my sides and had the wife take photographs of me performing what is probably the most noble and self-sacrificing act of this generation-–planking.

The neighbors, who wouldn’t normally stop for anything that would delay their trip to work even if it was their house burning, became seriously worried and paused to check if there was anything wrong with me and our family.

The wife told them I was OK, we’re OK, and the baby was OK, and yes we just had breakfast and no don’t call Eruf and yes no animal was being harmed in the conduct of this activity and would you please keep quiet because the planker was concentrating?

“The plank… what?” the neighbors chorused. “The planker,” the wife replied, pointing at me, “Planking, from the root word plank…No, not plankton, you idiot, planking.” Geez, don’t these people have Facebook accounts or something?

I would have planked for hours had the neighbors’ dogs not gathered around, licked me in the face, made howling noises and marked me as a urinary target. Planker haters, these dogs!

“So, how was it?” the wife asked when we were back inside the house.

I told her it felt stupid, but that it was something I had to do for the greater good, for the betterment of mankind, for all the oppressed people in the world, so that others may live, and is the baby OK? Are you OK? Oh, how I thought of the two of you during the whole ordeal, you had no idea what I’d been through.

If only we had money, if only our great parents left us with some fortune, if only there was justice in this world, there wouldn’t be any need for planking. Come here my dear ones and let’s do the group hug…

“Shut up!” the wife said, “And write that column now!”

So, here I am, talking to you about planking because as a columnist, it is my duty to inspire you into action, to lead you to the right path, and seriously now, the right path has nothing to do with you lying face down on the ground or on any surface and believing you’re being cute and saving the world at the same time.

Yes, I’m talking to you, plankers. You there on top of that refrigerator, get down now and look me straight in the eye. And yes, that includes you there at the roof of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, can you hear me? And you there, get off that carabao now.

I understand your frustration with authorities and the Institution. Like you, I also thought of the high cost of rice, sugar, beer and cigarettes while planking yesterday. But when the dogs started attacking me, I realized we don’t have to put our life on the line-–I mean on the plank, sorry-–to bring about change. Despite our noble intentions, we just look plain and simple stupid.

I tell you what’s new: Owling. It’s the new planking. It takes less effort. It consists of nothing more than crouching on your haunches and staring into the middle distance. Yes, like an owl. Exactly!

And here’s another one: Tarsiering. Are you familiar with that little tourism mascot…Yes, that one! Here, let me show you…



(SUN.STAR CEBU, AUG. 16, 2011)