ONE down, 95 to go.

I wish it was the Dallas Cowboys I'm watching, but nope. This is when the subconscious begins to freak out. There must be a way to ease the pain, but the torment should be over before it gets worse.

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Ninety-five to go. It's not the yardage in a football game, but the number of days left for what I call my "brainwashing" sessions at home.

That was the first thing the mind said. And it's certain, based on initial diagnosis that the cause of the problem is not "itself", but outside forces known as the "mind controllers," a.k.a. "brainwashers".

It's a psycho grind. It sticks like a fly trap. You don't want to hear it, but you hear it. You don't want to see it, but you see it. You run; it catches you. You hide, it finds you. There's no escape.

One of the worst things of being poor is that you're forced to live in a small space. A small house thus means hearing everything clearly: the lizards, the click of the stove, your brother-in-law farting, and yes -- the brainwashers and their songs.

They're everywhere -- in the office, in your living room, your neighbors' house, inside bars, jeepneys, cabs, classrooms, and yes, the church, because the priests talk about them and even sing a line or two.

What do you do? Where do you go? This thing I'm hearing and seeing every second of the day is a torture. Then, I realized. It's no longer brainwashing.

It's lobotomy.

According to my friend Google, lobotomy is a forcible indoctrination and coercive technique to change the subject's perceptions and judgments. It usually involves making an incision in the brain's frontal lobe to treat pain that causes depression, aggressiveness, and/or anger.

Ninety-five days and counting. Let's try to crack some numbers.

The average 30-second "brainwashing" session a.k.a. "infomercial", (or whatever that means), I was told, costs more than P300 thousand. One of these 30-seconders, for example, is shown on TV ("incision in the frontal lobe") more than 30 times a day. Multiplied by 95, that's 2,850.

Two thousand and 850. That's almost a billion pesos (should be a lot bigger counting the days past) till May 10, election day, comes. You see, being "lobotomized" isn't that bad. It teaches you math!

Go figure what this kind of money can do. Feed thousands of hungry souls? Buy new planes for our miserable Air Force? Hire the best shrinks?

"Brainwashing," or the "systematic manipulation of psychological and social influence", refers to "a process in which a group or individual systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s)," my friend added.

If only I can get rid of that TV. . .

Meanwhile, a lobotomized person:

- has "slowed up" thinking and reasoning;

- has a dull personality, at times completely lacking in emotional expression;

- cannot plan effectively for the future or sustain goal-oriented activities;

- pursues immediate gratification without regard for consequences;

- is aggressive, angry, and paranoid;

And the thing I hate most: the person becomes fat.

I am so dead.