When movie fans think of Norman, they may only think of Alfred Hitchcock’s Norman Bates. He is the main character in the 1960 movie “Psycho”. Do not fear me for there are a lot of Normans who are not psychopaths. No pro-charter change Philippine congressman is named Norman, by the way.
I am not the ideal boyfriend in Sue Thompson’s hit song “Norman”, it was released in 1961 and I was born in 1962. Unlike in the song, I never had a date in high school. But I am a great lover in my own little way since birth. I am a lover of truth, beauty, and reason. My mother, my close friends, my children and my wife could well attest to that.
My first full length exposition to the life of Jesus was in 1973 by way of “Jesus Christ Superstar”, a film directed by Norman Jewison. It’s my first taste of understanding the deity of Jesus, a working Jewish’s son (all pun intended). Since then, I am no longer amazed why priests sing during masses. I also dreamed of being a priest but worked for them (or was it for the Church?) instead for the most of my years. There I was exposed to the Catholic social doctrines and really influenced by Carlos Abesamis’ book “Third Look at Jesus”.
To those who follow Philippine basketball, the name Norman Black is very familiar. This Norman, first recipient of PBAs Mr. 100% Awards, played 66 games for San Miguel Beer in 1981 onwards and averaged close to 43 points per game and in that same year, I dropped out from college, tired of the teachers doing nothing but instruct their students copy lessons from the blackboard the whole semester. Later, I was given a chance to work as a gymnasium barker in 3 outings for the San Jose Summer Basketball League though I didn’t play an official basketball game ever in my whole life.
In 1992, the biofilm of Dr. Norman Bethune titled “Bethune: The Making of a Hero”, one of the first large-scale Western productions in China where he was hailed as a hero and a saint, was shown. The Canadian doctor cured the injured red fighters of Mao Ze Dong’s people’s army right at the battle field. Embracing the revolution and the communist ideology, Bethune’s ideas stormed debates both in the medical and political fronts all over the world. Two years before 1992, I was involved in student activism and right after I got my diploma in Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, I landed as the human rights worker in a church-established HR institution. While the movie was having its premier elsewhere, I started a family of my own praying that my marriage would not be riddled with conflict and controversy like that of Bethune. My prayers are heard. I lied low sloganeering in the streets. The welfare and total development of my children became subjects of me and my wife’s Hasta Victoria (my apologies to the memory of Che Guevara) battle cry. Incidentally, my spouse’s given name is Victoria, in case you do not know.
Year 2012 marked the 19th death anniversary of Rev. Norman Vincent Peale and his minions around the world re-affirmed his teachings regarding positive thinking. Somebody offered me then to work in government and lost worker I was in the barren vineyard of rotten grapes, I accepted it. Norman Vincent Peale’s teachings on positive thinking, according to his followers, are all expressions of his belief that people had the ability within themselves to better their lives. My mother happened to read one of his books just few months before I was born. I guess it’s the “The Power of Positive Thinking” which sold millions of copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages today. Thinking positive made me acquainted with my new environment which is 2-hour ride away from home. In the league of positive-thinking visionary public servants, I found a new home.
The most prominent Norman in television today is Norman Reedus, actor-model and star of “The Walking Dead”. It is a horror-drama TV series which is still running today in the US and around the globe. Since I get into a medical condition many years back, I reduced my activities which require much physical exertion following the advice of my doctors. I reduced taking fatty and salty foods including sugary beverages. Gradually in my life, I reduced everything that is softly killing me physically, mentally, spiritually and morally. I greatly reduced the badness that I used to do when I was young. It’s now 2018 and thanks to God I reached my 56th natal day today. “Norman Reduced” (just to make it sound like Norman Reedus), that is what I am now, but still walking, alive….