What I learned from Boy Abunda’s and Billy Crawford’s personal dramas

Fascinating the way life’s common vicissitudes are somehow magnified and celebrated when celebrities experience them. Whether it be falling into and then rehabilitation from alcohol or substance abuse, getting sick then recovering, suffering a nervous breakdown, or experiencing the heady bliss of romance, showbiz folk make a big drama out of it. I guess that’s the nature of the beast. They are performers and entertainers. And so whether it be jumping off their misfortunes or successes, they can’t help but entertain the madla.

boy_abundaAll in a day or two, a couple of high-profile celebrity tales of woe followed by their respective personal epiphanies hit the news. Billy Joe Crawford realized the dark side of his alcoholism in a bizarre meltdown at a police precinct. What triggered it remains a mystery, but Crawford claims he sought sanctuary at the station to protect someone — or something — against himself and his supposedly violent temper. Good for him (and unfortunate for the glass door at the entrance of the police station which he broke). Hopefully he makes good on his promise to “lessen” his alcohol intake. Then there’s Boy Abunda who said he was so “humbled” by a liver disease that after spending days in the hospital recovering from it, he finally “surrendered” himself to the Lord.

Well, I guess there’s nothing like the reality of one’s mortality and/or lack of any control over one’s destiny that can drive one to suddenly turn circumspect or go all biblical as these respective celebrity cases may be. I’ve never been an alcoholic or a junkie so I really can’t relate to Crawford’s epiphany. But because I grew up Catholic, I can somewhat relate to Abunda’s.

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Growing up under Catholic tutelage both at home and at school we were constantly bombarded with morbidness and reminders of our insignificance — that you can die tomorrow, or even the next minute and that as but a part in God’s infinite plan your life can be snuffed out at a whim anytime. Thus you always need to ensure you are living within God’s “graces” to ensure you are always ready to be “taken” — the parables of the thief in the night or that of the servants awaiting the random arrival of their master drives the point that we always need to be on our toes and keep our lamps full of oil just in case. Modern cinema has given us a bit of a more lighthearted term for that induced paranoia — the “Kato Attack”, alluding to the Pink Panther movies where lead character Inspector Jacques Cluseaou instructed his sidekick Kato to attack him unexpectedly every now and then to keep his reflexes sharp.

Lol! I’m glad I’m all over all that. The irony there is that while I kept constantly being reminded by our school’s Madre de Cacaos that there’s not much one can do when your “time” comes and God decides to “take” you, we should, nonetheless, be spending every minute of our lives worrying about that eventuality. The idea that you are both powerless and subject to the matrix-like world of some mysterious purpose exerts a powerful effect on a young mind. But thankfully sense prevailed in my mind (in time for college where I partyeeeed for five years!) and I figured, life’s too short to be worrying about stuff you have zero control over.

In the case of Crawford and Abunda, it seems they followed the reverse journey — starting from a heady life of little worry and lots of validation and ending up with an epiphany that resulted in some sort of “surrender” — in the case of Crawford, to the reality of his alcoholism and in Abunda’s case to his Lord up in the sky.

I guess personal peace has many flavors. There’s peace that can be found in a sudden realization that you can be free of debilitating beliefs and then there is the other type of peace that can be found with a wholesale surrender of one’s freedom to these same beliefs. In Crawford’s case, the choice to have his freedom clipped was literal — surrendering to the cops and requesting that he be put in an actual prison! Thank god for celebrities and the lessons we learn from them.

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