March 18, 2007
THE ILOCOS TIMES - OPINION

IN-DEPTH
Juan L. Mercado

Weekend choices

“On a relaxed weekend, you may want to idly kick around some questions that bug people,” my friend Jerry Salvosa emailed. Like what? “Like what’s the difference, for example, between bigamy and monogamy.”

That’s a snap the author Oscar Wilde answered that one before. “Bigamy is having one wife or one husband too many,” Wilde wrote. “And monogamy is the same.”

“But I think polygamy is trigonometry,” jokes Manila Bulletin’s Napoleon G. Rama. “Whether in monogamy, bigamy, or even polygamy, there are always two sides,” adds former UN economic Conrado Sanchez. “One is the right side. And the other is the husband.”

But Jerry Salvosa is persistent, if anything. He lobs yet another query. “We’ve all heard about people having guts or balls. Cojones is the Spanish word for that. In the lapdog Marcos Supreme Court, for instance, the tough independent Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma was spoken of admiringly as: ‘The only justice con cojones. But do you really know the difference between them?

That one floors me. What’s the diff? I ask. And Jerry replies: “Guts is when you arrive home late, after a night out with the boys. Your wife opens the door wielding a broom. If you have guts, you ask: “Are you still cleaning? Or are you flying somewhere?”

And balls? “Again, you come home late after a night out with the boys. You reek of perfume and beer. And there are lipstick smears on your collar. If you have balls, you whack your wife on her bottom and snort: “You’re next.”

This should clear any confusion about the definitions, Jerry predicts. He has a caveat, however: “Medically speaking, there is no difference in the outcome. Both will ultimately result in death”.

And speaking of death, he wistly adds:”When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming—like all the other passengers in his car.”

That’s nothing, my friend Eddie chimed in: “My wife told friends she learned how to swim when someone took her out in the deep waters and threw her off the boat”. I remonstrated saying: “Sweetheart, they weren’t trying to teach you how to swim.’”

But weekends are also for yarn-spinning, Remy Laxamana from Daytona Beach in Florida writes. Like what? Like these contributions from colleagues in his profession. Here are some items from this doctor:

An obstetrician in San Antonio, Texas recalls: “A man dashes into the Emergency Room and yells: “My wife’s going to have her baby in the cab!” I quickly grabbed my bag, rushed out to the cab ahead of him, quickly lifted the lady’s dress, and began to take off her underwear. Suddenly, I noticed there were several cabs—and was in the wrong one”.

An internist recalls she started examining patients just at the beginning of her 7 to 3 shift “I placed a stethoscope on an elderly—and slightly deaf—female patient’s anterior chest wall. “Big breaths,” I instructed. “Yes, yes, yes. They used to be,” wistfully replied the patient.

Then, there was this medical school lecturer who tossed these items at pre-med students clustered before him. “ Ladies and gentlemen - When you will be assigned to emergency room duty, you will quickly discover, from the patients that the traffic cops wheel in, that there are two kinds of pedestrians—the quick and the dead.

“Some of your overspeeding patients will have slammed their cars into a rut in the road. They will discover that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth”

“As for me”, the lecturer added, “I’ve discovered that life is sexually transmitted. And health is merely the slowest rate at which one can die. In fact, I used to eat a lot of organic and natural foods—until I learned that most die people of natural causes. So never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.”

A psychiatrist friend reminds me that disorders, in her field of specialization, can sometimes be tossed around as carols. Like what? Like these, she-emailed: Schizophrenia—”Do You Hear What I Hear?”; Multiple Personality Disorder—”We Three Kings Disoriented Are; Paranoia—”Santa Claus Is Coming—to get me”; Dementia—”I Think I’ll Be Home for Christmas”; Narcissistic—”Hark The Herald Angels Sing — About Me.”

From Australia, Alfred Roces suggests a Sunday column can be rounded off by this simple “Planter’s Formula”

“If you plant honesty, you will reap trust. But if you plant dishonesty, you will reap distrust. If you plant goodness, you will reap friends. But if you plant selfishness, you will reap loneliness.

If you plant humility, you will reap greatness. If you plant pride, you will reap destruction. And if you plant perseverance, you will reap victory. If you plant laziness, you will reap stagnation.

“So be careful what you plant now, It will determine what you will reap tomorrow, The seeds you now scatter, Will make life worse or better for you and those who will come after. Someday, you will enjoy the fruits—or you will pay for the choices that you plant today.

(E-mail: juan_mercado@pacific.net.ph)

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OPINION

EDITORIAL
Circus

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