Luab: ‘Anything is possible, Iris’-A A +A
Saturday, October 27, 2012
THE title of my column is taken from the movie Stanley and Iris played by Robert de Niro and Jane Fonda. I saw this movie in my younger days, but this was replayed recently on cable TV.
There was another line I picked up in the same movie. It’s this: “I like you, Iris, just about as much as I love you.”
Let’s tackle the first insight. Robert de Niro’s character learned how to read and write at the age of 52 through the help of Iris King, a woman working in the bakery where he was the cook. The movie was labeled a love story, but it’s not just a love story. It’s a story about a struggling widow and her fortitude after her husband passed away. It spoke of her taking extra good care of him while he was very sick, then of her having to take care of their two children plus a younger sister and her husband.
The movie shows how money plays a large part in keeping a family going. To complicate matters, Iris’ teenage daughter got pregnant. The hardships and realities of the poor are well scripted.
Stanley too had to finally put his wonderful dad in the home for the aged because he couldn’t take care of his dad anymore due to lack of money. Robert could not read or write. The pain of having his dad die without Robert being there is so poignant because of the beautiful bonding father and son had.
Eventually, through the tutelage of Iris, Robert learned how to read and write and, of course, they fell in love with each other. Robert eventually got a good job in Detroit, and the movie ends with this line, “Anything is possible, Iris!”
I guess what I’d like to tell our young is that even with a handicap in life, especially not knowing how to read or write, you can still make a success of your life. You just have to do something about your handicap.
These days, the biggest handicap is poverty, being born poor. However, one need not remain poor. Remember the sitcom John En Marsha with Dolphy and Dely Atay-atayan? Her favorite pitch at Dolphy was “Magsumikap ka!” (You must work and strive to better yourself!)
Now for the second line, “I like you, Iris, just about as much as I love you.” This was said by Stanley. To our young, we would like you to appreciate this line. It is very important in a love relationship for either one to like the other. That first surge of attraction building up into romantic love isn’t enough!
I’ve often heard these words coming out from the lips of one spouse: “I actually dislike him when he just smokes and drinks all day and does nothing else!” or “He is just plain horrible. He just goes bar hopping with his friends even on weekdays.”
These are danger signs. Pretty soon that relationship will fall apart!
Every time one of my girls tells me that her boyfriend is asking for her hand in marriage, my first question is usually, “What do you like about him?” I always felt safe when the answers came out like these.
“He is very dependable, and we respect each other.”
“He is concerned about my being safe, and he takes good care of me.”
“He is basically kind to people.”
As the list of likable things grows, I convey my approval to their Dad because liking each other is more important to me than the money he has in his bank account.
The minute irritation rears its ugly head or an undercurrent of tension shows, then it’s time for one of the spouses to ask, “What have I done that you don’t like?”
Come to think of it, liking each other works also with our children and friends.
Whenever an irritable grown-up bangs a chair or slams a book, my reaction is normally, “Hey, where is that coming from? What has anyone done that you don’t like?” Normally the cause of the irritation comes out.
There are many ways to smooth relationships. My way of saying outright how I feel can have serious repercussions. So if you are a good diplomat, use diplomacy to convey your likes and dislikes. Some people like frankness in dialogue; others don’t. So go ahead. Love someone, but like him as well! Relationships require a friendship whose foundation is “liking” each other.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 28, 2012.