Monday, March 31, 2008

Once Twice

Having spent all their money on their son Ricardo’s college education—only to have him go off to Papua New Guinea on a rescue mission of planetary proportions, Juan and Maria Lopez now faced bankruptcy. With the future of their other four children in the balance, the couple had no other choice but to put up 5,000 hectares of ancestral land for bidding in the town’s annual land auction. They wanted to hate their eldest child, but could not do so. They wanted to him to feel the anger of generations as much as they wanted to protect him from it. This was simply how things were.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Man Who Always Got Fired

Poor old Seamus McGillicuddy shrugged his shoulders in complete surrender. This was his 4th job in as many days, and he had made a firm promise to himself that he would not screw things up this time.

Monday, he was taken in as an assistant pharmacist over at Murphy’s but they let him go that very afternoon when he mixed up the delivery orders and sent a box of condoms over to the nuns at St. Peter’s.

Tuesday, he was allowed to help out in Clinton O’Bannon’s garage, but did not last half the day when he emptied a gallon of detergent into the motor of Mr. Williams’ Volkswagen. “He asked me to clean the engine, you know”, muttered Seamus as he left Clinton’s office, scratching his bald head.

The next day, Patrick Malloy, son of the baker John Malloy (God rest his soul), took pity on Seamus and let him help out at the stockroom. Now as rotten luck would have it, beside the Malloy Bakery stood the Reading Porcelain Parlor; and stocks for both stores were always delivered on the same day, at the same hour. And so it happened on that Wednesday, Seamus McGillicuddy, as he often did, completely shut off his brain and proceeded to retrieve a sack of gypsum from the Reading truck. His eyes lacked any sign of life as he cut open the sack and poured its contents into a mixing vat, threw in a pound of sugar, some eggs, and a couple of sticks of butter. Patrick swears he heard his father cursing the nails off of his coffin as he rolled in his grave. Seamus did get a loaf of sourdough for his trouble.

Thursday. A new day brings new hope. Right. A fancy new spa had just opened and they needed someone to make promotional leaflets and give these out to people all over town. Luckily for them, Seamus was in search of employment so he willingly took on the job for a quarter of the typical pay. Lunchtime came and the excited manager was more than delighted to see a long queue outside the spa. He rushed outside to meet the patrons, and became suspicious that something was not quite right. Patron number one stammered terribly, the second gentleman had a lisp that would shame a snake, and the next customer complained of awful handwriting.

“Seamus!” he snarled “Did you make the leaflets as I told you to? Did you emphasize our massage therapy services?”

“Yes sir, Mr. Manager Man, sir. I sure did!”

“Give me one of those” said the now fuming manager. He looked at the leaflet and bowed his head, not much different to how someone who lost a relative in a war would.

“Come to the Old Country Spa! We specialize in MESSAGE THERAPY! Be one of the first twenty customers and get a 50% discount!”


When I was about 7 years old, I was amazed at how my father seemed to able to predict when the lights at a traffic stop would change. There we’d be, stopped at an intersection, waiting at a red light. After some time, my father would call up first gear and start to disengage the parking brake. “Great!” I thought, “lights have changed.” But I’d look up and see that the light was still red. Then, amazingly, it would turn green the moment his hand left the parking brake lever. It puzzled me no end. The only obvious conclusions were: 1) he was just guessing randomly but was on a hitting streak, and 2) my father had psychic abilities.

I found the answer a few years later. All he did was look at the lights perpendicular to our stop; when its yield light came on, red was sure to come after 2 or 3 seconds. Red for them, of course, meant green for us.

I’d like to strike up an analogy and make sense of my discovery. Waiting at a traffic stop is a “stop”, like some massive dilemma, in life’s journey. One sometimes has to look in different places, not only straight ahead, for the answers.

For sure, you now have no doubt that I am the deep, analytic, and reflective type. Yes, I admit, that’s what I am. I am also into painting, photography, deep-sea diving, and poetry. If you liked what you just read, be on the lookout for my first book, Let Me Help You Help You . It’s a compilation of events in my life, like what you have just read, and my reflections on them. If you’d like share your story and have me mock your experience by pretending to care, write to

Sure Shot 6

continued from Sure Shot 5

His eyes wandered as he sat in the makeshift blind; he took note of some other places within the room that would give him an advantage should his attackers be stupid enough to actually storm in. As he looked about, something caught his eye. It was an old, torn poster. It was otherwise uninteresting, but the way a top corner had been ripped off left a rather amusing message, it said: Hilton Head rentals. The poster was, more than likely, promotional material for the famous hotel chain, but his thoughts were led elsewhere. He instinctively remembered the infamous video shot in night-vision. “Hilton… head… heh.” He allowed himself a dry smile. “I wish I was home instead.”

to be continued...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ang Galing!

Sure, we say otherwise. But we still all want the same thing.


Thanks for reading. What do you think of this post?

Iz U Sho?

“Hey baby, shake that claim!” said the adjustor,
As he whirled like a dervish; going ever faster.
“You better make sure your requirements are complete,
Because I can’t get down without that funky beat.
Like dashing ole’ Romeo, you should love your policy;
You know it won’t treat you good if your payments are tardy.”
So goes the rhyme of our freaky agent from France,
They call him Mizyah K and he’s down with travel insurance.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Hack

By the time he turned 32, Arturo Gascon had become but a withered, dry shell of his former glorious self. He hit pay dirt in his mid-twenties, at a time when self-help was all the rage. Those were days of good hunting for him and countless other hacks—excuse me, image restoration professionals—who relentlessly fed the hopelessly guilt-stricken and lazy words of comfort and reassurance. Good times, easy pickings. Now, he sat in a dark, dingy, and dirty room, completing installment number three in his latest work: a series of furniture catalogs.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Section 6, Col. 4

Santa Klaws, Pampanga -- A small, pirate-run cable TV company was closed down by operatives of the local media regulatory agency here yesterday afternoon after they received a tip from, of all sources, a hardware store clerk. Jessie Marie Hosep, an employee of Hope Ya Day Sun Hardware, located in Brgy. Poblacion, Santa Klaws, said he was going through the store’s quarterly inventory when he noticed an unusual total for co-axial cable purchases. Upon further investigation, Hosep discovered what he thought was an inordinate amount of bulk cable orders. He reported this to his manager, Robertson Lee, who thought it best to ask the authorities to look into the matter. The paper trail eventually led to Power Cable, Inc., a local CATV provider who representatives of the Baranggay Media Board discovered had been operating without the needed permits and licenses for the past 12 years.

Hey, World!

“Don’t bother me with non-stop talk of your feelings and so-called thoughts,” said Fabian, in obvious disgust. “You’ve got about as much depth as a puddle in the desert. Besides, you’re no more than designer jewelry that craps and eats—you’re always what other people want you to be.” He rushed to the door but apparently had the time to stop mid-exit, look back, and bark “But do you know what the sad thing is? Do you know what the really disturbingly sorrowful thing is, you affection whore? You actually want to be what other people want you to be.”

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Is it honest?

Is it about them or about me?
Did I really want to do it?

Does it feed life or merely my vanity?

Is it pure?

Was it clean and with a singular purpose?
Did I steal?
Why did I do it?

What does it stand for?
Am I any good at it?
Is it honest?

Is it sincere?

Is it mine alone?
Do I deserve to do it?
Is it true? Was it pure?

Is it honest?


I recently read an article (BBC interview) on Professor Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. He was given the honor in recognition of his pioneering efforts in microcredits/microfinancing. The concept is simple: a microcreditor lends money to “the rural poor in developing countries who normally do not qualify for traditional banking credit”.* Professor Yunus set up the Grameen Bank in 1976 in Bangladesh, amidst a great famine that affected almost the entire nation. Starting as a small business funding other small businesses, Yunus’ venture now has close to 7 million borrowers. His efforts were recognized by the Nobel committee because it provided a means for the poor to set up businesses and get themselves out of poverty.

*BBC News, October 13 2006

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Phone Home

If Jacqueline Bisset, so she would not forget, stuck a Post It on her corset, would her lover be upset? Would he regret taking her to Dorset—last summer when they built a closet? Should Jacq play tennis and drop a set, would she throw a fit and abuse her racket? Will her paramour, to appease Ms. Bisset, give her a sparkling garnet? How much would you bet? That if she does indeed forget, that garnet will fly out the window with the cursed corset. Had enough yet?


Before he landed a life insurance sales gig, Crisanto first worked as a door-to-door book salesman and as an agent for the national tax bureau. All his life he knew nothing but work; in the time of his youth people believed you were what you did--one's job or profession was not just a source of income but pride and dignity, as well. Having brought up with this ethic, the only way, even in his young mind, to get anywhere or anything was through hard work. If he needed a bit of extra money, he asked his father to let him take one their jeepneys out and ply the San Juan-Divisoria route, or he would offer to assist the neighborhood mechanic for a day or two. To stretch his meager allowance, he cleaned garages, washed cars, and even bathed dogs. When came his 44th year, Cristano Soriano Rosales was one tired man.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Leader of the Band

It's official. We're moving to a new (well, rented) home before this year ends. I know moving isn't exactly a small chore, but I'm pumped. It's a chance to get my hands working on some things needed for the new house. I have my heart set on building a few cabinets because I've always believed that manual labor is infinitely more therapeutic than any Spa, herb or self-help book. And, yes, also simply because men build things. That's just how it is. So, I'm currently trying to find a specialty shop that deals with cabinet hardware supplies. Anyone out there know anything, please leave a message. Danke.


“I thought of it first.” Now that's sad. Sad in a semi-good way, if you know what I mean. It's sad in a sour-graping kind of way, or if whoever had to say them words might have lacked the drive to pursue the idea. But good-sad and also quite understandable if he or she had the drive but lacked the luck. Take the funny t-shirts that are all the rave nowadays. A friend swears he thought of marketing statement tees locally back in the late 80s, but had a difficult time running into some funds for his project. That's the good-sad part of his story, the sad-sad part is now, when he's a bit more fat in the wallet, he finds that ideas are a rare commodity.