I TURNED 49 on Saturday, Nov. 10.
I know. Many of you are probably confused. How could Publio be almost 50 when he was 36 a few years back?
Well, I was. For well over a decade. But I figured it was time to move on. After all, there is no such thing as forever, especially when it comes to age. Plus, I realized it was near impossible to pull it off. Asking people to believe I’m still in my 30s, that is.
Although, the light in the men’s bathroom at the newsroom of SunStar Cebu has that effect on appearances.
One time, and no, not in band camp, I walked in and stared at the reflection in the mirror. I swear I was looking at my younger version.
I looked around to see if I was alone. I needed to know I wasn’t imagining it. But there was no one else there. Just me.
So that’s how I would look if I had been 100 pounds lighter back when I was in my 30s.
I remember standing there for almost five minutes. Mesmerized. Then I had to remind myself that people might wonder what was taking me too long. So I had to pry myself out of there.
As I was walking out, I had this Eureka moment. There was a way to turn back the time. But to convince people that I was still in the latter part of my third decade, I’d have to drag them to the men’s bathroom at the newsroom of SunStar Cebu and, nonchalantly, ask them to guess my age. Which, I realized right there and then, was not such a good idea.
First of all, I couldn’t well go up to someone and ask them to accompany me to the loo. Uhuh. I’m sure they’d give me the look. Or a quick jab to the face. And if they do say yes, then I’d be the one giving them the look. And how would I explain to management my bringing people to the bathroom?
So that’s why I decided to own my age. Accept it. Be proud of it. Announce it to the world. I didn’t want to be mistaken for someone in his 50s. Hell no. But that’s exactly what happened to me last month.
One of my younger cousins from Bohol, young enough to be my son, was staying with me. One night, we had a few drinks after work. We talked about many things, mostly politics, and how much cheaper some stuff in Cebu is compared to in Bohol.
Then I don’t know what got into me. He was treating me with so much deference and looking up to me like I was somebody ancient. It was bugging the heck out of me. So I had to ask him, how old did he think I was?
I know. I shouldn’t have gone there, but I did. And not only did I not like his answer, I had to restrain myself from strangling him. The punk thought I was 53. I should have brought him to the bathroom at the newsroom of SunStar Cebu.
Anyway, I let it pass. He probably had poor eyesight, poor kid. Well, our conversation turned to history. Of course, I started showing off my knowledge of World War 2 when my cousin interrupted me.
“Kol, nakaabot ka ato (Were you alive back then)?”