A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to re-frame or re-interpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.

  • I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  • Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  • I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
  • Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.
  • Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good evening’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  • Some people are like Slinkies … not really good for anything, but you can’t help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.
  • Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.
  • A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  • The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
  • Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
  • A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
  • Hospitality: making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not sure.
  • Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.

And my favorite:

  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

Earbleeding Bach

I was seated in my cubicle an hour before my classes started this afternoon when I heard an irritating classical melody that encroached the whole English Department. I just finished my morning classes in Assumption that time and was sweating heavily after rushing to reach Ateneo before 12:30pm and from the long walk that started from the third gate to De la Costa. The incessant streams of perspiration that ran down from my forehead to the tip of my nose to my cotton tee made me all the more uncomfortable. I was not in the mood to tolerate anything that forces itself upon me. Not even the divine music of Bach.

I started checking my students’ papers, trying my best to be rational and less hubristic. The melody, reeking with unsaid pretense, akin to a rapacious philanderer forcing himself upon a provincial lass, caused me to bleed from the inside. If only the very considerate person who thought he’s doing all the people in the department good by drowning us in his ‘beautiful’ music by Bach could have better kept his taste of music to himself by using a pair of earphones. This could have then be a much better world.

Okay, I admit that I was in the English Department and it’s supposed to be a place that ought to maintain intellectual highbrow-ness. Classical music, aside from signaling the presence of what we refer to as ‘class’ in an individual, also marks an intellectual. The ability to enjoy classical music, unfortunately, is a learned skill. And it is lamentable that I am yet to imbibe the propensity.

The association between classical music and intellectualism is something I deem irrational and elitist. My taste in almost anything, and that includes both sex and music, is crude, base, and crass. I do not have any particular predilection to any type of music. My approach to the exercise of music appreciation is utilitarian. Whatever catches my fancy at a specific moment is good music. But I see to it that only I can hear whatever is coming from my phone or any devise that plays songs. I do not not want other people coming up with premature opinions  about me that are shallowly based on the music I listen to. I do not want to cause any distraction to other people because of the songs I listen to that will cause them to bleed in the inside like what occurred to me this afternoon.

People should not hold against music, as in any other things. It is not something we should endure just for the sake. It works on the take-it-or-live-it scheme. And this is regardless of the type of music.

I went to my classes suffering from internal hemorrhage. Thank god it’s just figurative.

College reunion

Three years after we all graduated from college, seven of us met again after a week of not-so-very-careful planning at Kitchen in Greenbelt 3. Out of the nine who are currently working in the metro, seven showed up, not bad for reunion we held for the first time in a different place (we already held several mini reunions but they were all in Iloilo). Gretchen missed it because she had a client to meet in Caloocan, and Paulyn was doing some reviews for her exams in law school.  The meeting last night was rushed. Alice and Koko both had to leave early for their work in Taguig, and Fonz had somebody waiting for her outside Kitchen. In the end, it was Tjay, Ira, Nelly, and I who were left to end the night.

Next time, we’ll try staying longer, do some more catching up, and we hope to chug as much alcohol as our guts can take.

Photo credit goes to Alice Ledesma who volunteered her place to be the next venue of our reunion sometime in mid-October.

Being a twenty-something, ‘races’, sacrifices, etc.

Several inches from where I am lying now is the humming air-con, a few more degrees and it’s already directly in front my face. The cold gush  dries my skin, causing another breakout of reddish pimples, and my eyes, which have been strained because of moisture escaping from their surfaces faster than can be replaced by my lachrymal glands. I endlessly stare at my computer screen, hoping something good and readable comes out elegantly from the blankness that is my mind.

But as in my many failed attempts, this one will most likely end in failure. Nonetheless, I’ll wake up the following day by beginning to unsettle the dust and commencing from where I’ll end tonight. This is a cycle I’ve come to appreciate and consider an important part of my becoming a mature person.

This sets most twenty-somethings apart from people of other age brackets. We are not ashamed to subject ourselves to repeated and crushing failures. We are audacious in our pursuit of something we do not even know what. Yes we are scared, very often we shiver in the corner, biting our tongue and the inside of our cheek as hard as we can, to hide our fears from other people, but most especially, from our own selves.

We are scared of tomorrow because we are uncertain, because we do not know what will become of us, or where we will be ten years, three years, a year,two months, a week, tomorrow. But what is even more horrifying than the suspense of the future is the mystery, enigma they call it, of the present and the recognition of the painful truth that we do not even know where we are this time.

I’ve been hearing people that this is a very opportune time to be young. The world is changing rapidly, faster than we’re able to grasp the concept of these changes. The experience of being in the front row while important developments are occurring before our very eyes is next to awesome.

We are witnessing the changing of guards in the bid for global supremacy, we saw the world’s economy crumble only to recover at such incredible rapidity, we saw man reaching for the sky in an attempt to prove there’s intelligent life that lurks in one of the corners of expansive universe, but more than this, to find his God.

I satisfy myself with the idea that although I sit in the bleacher of a developing island country in the Pacific whose people are still to find out how it is to be a nation, I am still a participant to some point as I am part of the vast virtual community that fills in the void we create inside our minds.

I often catch myself walking very fast going to work, almost like running, running after the train as if it’s going to be the last train, and  while gasping for air, I would slow down and laugh at myself. Why am I running? I would ask. Are we speeding up because we want to achieve an efficiency level akin to that of a mechanical devise, forgetting the fundamental divide that separates us from machines, that we’re a bunch of vulnerable humans who also gets tired every once in a while.

Everyone seems to be taking part in this grand race whose end is purported to be fantastic but no one has been to and came back to tell about it. But it’s a race just as fine, and regardless of the prize, being part of the race, we’re told, is already a prize in itself. Still we question and some of us refuse to have anything to do with this grand race.

If only I can afford not to take part in the race.

Every night, before I sleep, I imagine writing something good, not for any ideal reader I have in mind, though, for myself. I do it facing the unforgiving cold of the air-con just so there is something to remind me that writing, as in all components of living, is a sacrifice.

Man loves to do sacrifices no matter how meaningless they may be.


We are all drifters, said a forgotten philosopher who to his dying days begrudged the fact that he will to eternity not have the honor to own the profoundly beautiful quote, ownership being nothing but an illusion he can only marvel at but never truly touch.

It is unliterary to begin a decent story with a dilemma of the possibility of an impossibility, or like the local myth of Bernardo Carpio, to remain etched on the boulders he meant to have separated using nothing but naked force, unmoving, passe, uninteresting, both boulders and myth. And the man named Carpio.

Or walking naked in the house, drinking milk from its carton, letting some of the white liquid drip to the chests and run like midsummer rain. Only to be licked by an irked Cheshire cat.

One free week

  • I have a hard time disambiguating my previous article. It’s possible, for a writer to get lost in his thoughts, if this occurs, says my former professor, two things happen, he either becomes an utter failure as a writer and is ought to be castrated or he becomes a philosopher.
  • There’s something offensive about sitting in a beanbag-like couch in the living room, taking pictures of unvarying angles of a pair of well-worn All Star canvas; the acts violate the supposed mores and sensibilities of a reasonable, hard-working urban dweller. Both signify nothing short of bumming.

  • If only I could extend this week and make it longer than a week but still retaining its one-week character, I would.
  • That graduate school entrance exam was like the essay tests I took during my undergrad, not difficult at all, only that, I presume, required answers needed more breadth, definitely a lot more complex (and circuitous) thoughts, and a language that puts to shame the speech writer of the president of the republic.
  • My first time to organize a mini-reunion of college block mates. Odd because I deign reunions as somewhere in between pretentious and ostentatious. I’ll hold fast on sobriety.
  • On my way to school this time. That was quick, there are only three weeks left before this semester ends. Grades will have to follow.

Why we need to be angry and nurse this anger

In a country whose people forget just so easily last week’s news items (it matters not much if we’re able to dissect and digest them as this require higher order thinking, let’s only focus on whether we have retention of facts), it’s a wonder how we still are able to maintain that dignity warranted a self-respecting nation. Since this sense of shame (if one is a pessimist) is not mandatory, and whether facts are forced on us or not, we still forget, I’m worried about how much little dignity this nation has left (granting dignity and forgetfulness are interrelated), if it has any to begin with.

After our passion (yes, we are a passionate nation) dissipates into thin air and we begin to forget, so do our anger, hatred (if you want), rage, feeling of propriety, sense of the ridiculous, and sadly our memory.

It is clear why we forget easily. It is our way of coping with all the calamities that strike us, meaningless deaths (it’s odd because death should be spectacular, our finale; it has to be grand, but in this country, death does not have the chance to be tragic like in Greek or Shakespearean tragedies; death here is commonplace), scandals involving our pathetic leaders, (I will not mention) our personal struggles, if only to survive in a country that seems to defy progress and finds itself deteriorating (‘going to the dogs’ would be an exaggeration, but this country always goes against established rules of language; it eats hyperbole on a daily basis, in fact, it is beyond it).

We know we’d all be deranged if we take everything, ourselves most especially, too seriously, like most Japanese, Americans, or Scandinavians do. Suicide is yet to be included in the list of 10 leading causes of death in the Philippines. Hardly will a Filipino place a bullet in his head or gulp a gallon of insecticide. It’s not because we are gullible and believe in the Catholic Church’s teaching that killing ourselves will mean a life spent for eternity in hell. We are scared of death in this country because we know it is going to be prosaic, stripped of all the ideals we have of the final adieu.

It is also for this same reason that we do not get angry. We are enraged, yes, (however, like our passion, it’s short-lived) but because of a fear that we’ll get consumed by this rage, we let ourselves be eaten alive by this conscious forgetfulness, instead. We Filipinos do not get angry because we know we lack the economic leverage, the social capital, and cultural complexity to run amok. The capacity to feel anger is, by the way, deserved. The assumption is that a nation stripped of its dignity relinquishes its right to feel angry. We are unprivileged to express this supposed basic human emotion. And for this we become less of a human being.

This is something the Filipino nation needs to re-learn. We all need to be angry, to feel enraged, no matter how we are undeserving of it, because only then do we become truly free.