eastwind journals 87 – MANG KIKO MEETS STEVE JOBS

A stirring tale of how Steve
inspires a senior citizen
through a ‘deranged’ teenager
eastwind journals 87


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By Bernie Lopez


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Jessica, a ballet student, is totally drowning in her Ipod music inside a train station. She dances around on tiptoe, arms up, forming a heart-shaped arc, unmindful of the rush-hour crowd regarding her as a deranged mad lunatic (redundancy intended).


She closes her eyes in ecstasy, and when she opens them, she is jolted, seeing Mang Kiko, in his seventies, totally wrinkled, totally bald, waving at her wildly from six inches away with a smile as wide as an expressway. She hands over the earphones to him. He puts them on, then frowns.


MANG KIKO – Change music please.
JESSICA – Looks like you’re ecstatic, gramps.
MANG KIKO – No. Totally depressed. Don’t know what to do with myself. I just know how to hide it.
JESSICA – You hide it pretty well. (Pointing to the earphones.) Well, what do you want, gramps?
MANG KIKO – Surprise me. Fire me up. Make my day. Something exotic. (He puts his arms up and stomps his feet.)
JESSICA – (Staring at him, trying hard to discern his spirit. She manipulates the Ipod quickly.) Hmmm. Lets see. Latin? Flamenco? (She gives a soft scream, puts the earphones on him.) Yes, here we are. Its called Fondo FlamencoOjala. This will kill you, grandpa.


Mang Kiko freezes, then suddenly jerks. He starts vibrating like a teen. Jessica gives another soft scream. People gather around, as he gyrates like a jackhammer. No one can hear the music. A young teener approaches, and connects the Ipod to his portable player. Instantly, the music echoes across the train station. The crowd gives a scream as Mang Kiko mimics a gypsy. The music is finished. The train arrives. The crowd vanishes instantly. There is only Jessica and Mang Kiko.


MANG KIKO – How many song you got in there?
JESSICA – Hmmm. About two thousand.
MANG KIKO – in that lousy thing, two thousand?
JESSICA – It can easily hold five thousand, gramps.
MANG KIKO – Wow. I’m living in the past.
JESSICA – Nope, gramps. The way you gyrated, you’re living in the present.
MANG KIKO – Who made that magical music?
JESSICA – You want some history?
At this point, the reader is asked to download the attached song and play it while reading on.
JESSICA – It actually has an ancient origin. Flamenco music evolved from Southern Spain colonized by the Moors for 800 years.
MANG KIKO – The guitar was a product of the Arab renaissance spread by the Moorish empire.
JESSICA – Wow. You know.
MANG KIKO – The flamenco spirit, the stomping of the feet, the frenzied rhythm are a product of Arab spirituality mixed with Castillan. It is a merging of Islamic and Christian music. The gypsies, remnants of the Moors, spread it around.
JESSICA – Wow. Tell me more, gramps.
MANG KIKO – Tell me. Who invented this machine?
JESSICA – It’s called an Ipod. It was invented by a genius named Steve Jobs.
MANG KIKO – Give me his cellphone. I wanna thank him.
JESSICA – His dead, gramps.
MANG KIKO – Does the world know he is a super-hero?
JESSICA – More or less. They made a movie about him. He was an intellectual and entrepreneurial rebel who changed the world with his innovative ideas on marketing. He said enterprise is based not on profit, the old paradigm of Warton and Yale, but on love.
MANG KIKO – Wow. Love and business, huh? Strange partners. Enterprise imbued with spirituality, huh? Never done before. Before Steve, there was only profit as the god. That is why businesses today are amoral, no conscience, no morality, no awareness of good and evil, only profit profit profit. That’s what Wall Street is, a product of the old paradigm, selfish power players imbued with greed and deceit.
JESSICA – Now comes Steve. Not profit but prophet … of a new paradigm. Steve was thrown out of the company he founded after he catapulted it with huge profits. When he refused to conform to the Warton boys, he was thrown out, much like Jesus came to His own and His own knew Him not.
MANG KIKO – Stop blaming Warton. It’s an American culture that began with the tycoons like Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie during the Industrial Revolution, power, monopoly, greed.
JESSICA – Okay, okay. Under the old paradigm, the company fell. After 20 years, they begged Steve to return and restore the company. And he did. That was when his Ipod was born.
MANG KIKO – Hmm. The birth of moral enterprise.
JESSICA – This Ipod is a millennium milestone. It merges all past technologies into one. All of a sudden, you can listen the whole day from your music collection in a park, or on a bus in traffic. It’s a cosmic nova explosion.
MANG KIKO – Correction, Jessica. Its not so much a technological milestone but a spiritual one. Steve brought us happiness and inner peace to millions, not just some tiny electronic box. He did not just make my day. He makes my life today. He is a spiritual super-hero. Listen, it was nice meeting you. (He hands the earphones to her.) I gotta go.
JESSICA – Its yours.
MANG KIKO – Your’re kidding.
JESSICA – I’m dead serious.
MANG KIKO – I don’t even know how to use this.
JESSICA – Do you have grandchildren?
MANG KIKO – Just one. A twelve year old grandson.
JESSICA – Studying in the best school?
JESSICA – Ask your grandson to teach you the basics so you can play it. If you want to put your own music later on, he can download it from the computer.
MANG KIKO – Download?
JESSICA – Grab the music from the Internet.
MANG KIKO – He can do that? Any music?
JESSICA – Yup. Any music under the sun.
MANG KIKO – Wow. Can he get Patti Page, Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Ella Fitz and Sarah Vaughn and Billy Holiday …
JESSICA – And Nat King Cole and Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin.
MANG KIKO – Oh you know.
JESSICA – I know everything, gramps – broadway, jazz, classical, you name it. I’m an obsessed collector. I have 120 gig of music in mp3.
MANG KIKO – Speak in English.
JESSICA – I have a collection of close to 200,000 songs, and growing. At any time, I put 2,000 songs right there (pointing to the Ipod).
MANG KIKO – Wow. I can’t take this. It’s worth a fortune.
JESSICA – A small fortune, gramps. A couple of thousand pesos. But I can buy three of these with a month’s salary.
MANG KIKO – How about your collection?
JESSICA – I have a backup at home. You can’t refuse, gramps. It’s yours.
MANG KIKO – (Jessica places the Ipod on Mang Kiko’s hand. The train approaches.) Wait, wait. When can we have coffee?
JESSICA – Are you asking me out for a date?
JESSICA – Here’s my card. (She gives her a calling card, and runs towards the opening doors of the train.)
MANG KIKO – (Reads the card.) Jessica. Wait, wait. My name’s Mang Kiko.
JESSICA – Gotta go. Listen, gramps. Thanks for inspiring me. I’ve never met someone so old and so young all at once. You made my day, I mean my life, just as Steve made yours. You are some gramps. I’ll text Steve and say hello for you.


The train leaves. Mang Kiko is alone. He puts on the earphones, but can’t play the Ipod. He gives up and puts it in his pocket.


MANG KIKO – (Talking aloud to himself in the empty station.) Lord, thanks for giving me Steve and Jessica. They, I mean You, made my day and my life. God bless you. I mean, you’re God, so You bless me.


the Lord works in mysterious ways
to lead us through our confusion and disillusion
He uses people around us who mirror His light
He distracts us from our daily tasks to show us a flower
symbol of impermanence and permanence
impermanence because it will wilt in a few days
permanence because it has seeds for rebirth
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