WE are in difficult times. For most of us who have not experienced World War II, the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has given us an understanding of what suffering, fear and uncertainty meant to survivors of the war that claimed the lives of 75 million, including 40 million civilians.
How can one write about joy and happiness much more express humor when the environment has dark clouds hovering above us for most of 2020? Which brings me to the discontinuance of my other column, Free Verse, that consisted of one-liners aimed at bringing a smile to readers. I feel somewhat sentimental, no longer doing the weekly comic ritual, as Free Verse was my entry point in becoming a columnist in this paper.
Pachico “Cheking” Seares, the editor-in-chief of Sun Star in its early days, asked me to write a light column in the company of serious writers like Wilfredo Veloso, Godofredo Roperos, Cerge Remonde and Leonardo Chiu.
I readily accepted the challenge, with intent to follow in the footsteps of Manila Bulletin’s Joe Guevarra and The Freeman’s Juanito Jabat. That was about 30 years ago! But I didn’t want to be pigeonholed as a humorist. I submitted write ups that revealed the other side of me in Seriously Now and thank God, Cheking did not mind. That’s why I fill this space on Saturdays.
Times are changing though for opinion writers. Social media has allowed the proliferation of bloggers and occasional commentators whose language at times have no place in mainstream media. Also, there is the proliferation of fake news. While laws have been put in place to hold accountable those who cross the boundaries of decency, truth and fairness, the trash on social media has not abated.
Back to Free Verse. I haven’t received any word from the editors on the reason for the discontinuance of the column. But I can only surmise: either my humor has fallen flat or comic relief from one writer is no longer required as there are just too many jokers making press statements and they are addressed as “Honorable” politicians.
He he he.