October 15, 2006

Juan L. Mercado

Odds and ends

Among the “bonuses” that weekends, in this cyberspace age brings, is time to review, at leisure, the mail that you save between deadlines. You discover that they toss up things you’d like to share with readers.

“Thanks for your birthday greetings,” Mochtar Zainuddin in Kuala Lumpur e-mailed. “On Thursday, I turned … Oh, never mind. Could you please resend the “Senility Prayer” that you e-mailed on my last birthday. I need it now.”

As sent, that prayer read: “Lord, please grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway. But do give me the good fortune to run into the ones that I do. And above all, kindly grant me the eyesight to tell the difference. Amen.”

In acknowledging receipt, he wrote: “Now that I’m “older” (but still refuse to grow up), I’ll share some things I’ve discovered:

“I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it. At this age, I finally got my head together; but now my body is falling apart. What’s funny is I don’t remember being absent minded. So, I ask: ‘If all is not lost, where is it?’”

“In any case, I now realize that it is easier to get older than it is to get wiser. Life does not only begin at 40; it also starts to show then. And you learn to accept things. Like some days you’re the dog; some days you’re the hydrant. Time may be a greater healer but it is a lousy beautician.

“Age does not always bring wisdom. Sometimes, it comes alone. For me, almost all reports are in. You can say now officially that life is unfair. In fact, you wished that the buck stopped here, as you could use a few. Anyway, I plan to live forever. So far, so good.”

From Oregon, Heidi Cabajar-Campell (who used to be Cebu Daily News librarian) wrote: “I read your Inquirer column “Journeys Yet To Come” on your daughter and husband, in Palo Alto, adopting a baby from China. Congratulations on your new Chinese granddaughter.

“A Filipina friend here in Oregon, married an American is also deep in the adoption process. She told me their baby is from China.

“Why didn’t you pick one from the Philippines,” I asked. “They are of our blood”. But she replied: “Our rules make it very difficult. Daghan ug kuti kuti. (Visayan for: “There’s a lot of red tape). Then, it will also take a long time to get approval. So, we choose China na lang. Early next year, we will go to China to pick the baby up and bring her to Oregon”.

Heidi who has a seven-month old baby adds: “There are quite a number of American couples that I know who are adopting Chinese babies. The infants are very pretty. I only hope that our country will not be overly strict, so Filipino babies can find homes here in the US.”

Henrylito Tacio in Davao e-mailed his observations on “Americanisms”, culled from US visits. “Americans really take the cake when it comes to using foods in their everyday figures of speech,” he writes. .

“When things go right, they are in ‘apple pie order,” and ‘life is a bowl of cherries”. But when they go wrong, it’s ‘a fine kettle of fish’, or a ‘pretty pickle’

“If a man is important, he’s ‘top banana’. If he’s not, he may be just a ‘meatball’. Moreover, a husband doesn’t earn money, he earns dough, or he brings home the bacon. And if he’s ‘working for peanuts’, his wife may ‘egg’ him on to butter up the boss. .

If something is good, it’s a ‘peach’. If it’s bad, it’s a ‘lemon’. But someone will say it’s just ‘sour grapes’. Someone not ‘worth his salt’ may wind up ‘eating humble pie.’ And would be getting your “just desserts”. And pretty girl is a tomato, or quite a dish and the boys may want to spoon with her”.

From Bangkok, former UN agricultural economist notes that “resumes” of jobseekers contain “nuggets of wisdom”. He offers the following:

My first job was working in an orange juice factory but I got canned ... I couldn’t concentrate. After that I tried to be a tailor but I just wasn’t suited for it ... mainly because it was a so-so job. Next I tried working in a muffler factory but that was too exhausting.

“My best job was being a musician but eventually I found I wasn’t noteworthy. I studied a long time to become a doctor but I didn’t have any patience. Next was a job in a shoe factory; I tried but I just didn’t fit in. I became a professional fisherman but discovered that I couldn’t live on my net income.

“I managed to get a good job working for a pool maintenance company but the work was just too draining. So then I got a job in a workout centre but they said I wasn’t fit for the job. Then I worked in the woods as a lumberjack but I just couldn’t hack it, so they gave me the axe.

“After many years of trying to find steady work I finally got a job as a historian until I realized there was no future in it. Then I tried to be a chef—figured it would add a little spice to my life—but I just didn’t have the thyme. I attempted to be a deli worker but any way I sliced it, I couldn’t cut the mustard.

“So I retired and found that I’m perfect for the job!”

And here’s the perfect weekend fax: “This is God. I will be handling all of your problems for you. I do not need your help. So, have a nice day.” (E-mail: juan_mercado@pacific.net.ph)

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