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By Icoy San Pedro

It must have been roughly a week ago, that I noticed two kids, a boy and a girl, milling about and poking under the car, one on each side, while it was parked in front of the house. Under the car, a tiny stray cat meowed alarmingly and almost immediately, I knew their dark intention. I hollered at them to leave the poor animal alone, prompting them to run to the far end of the street.

Fun and games for them, they say. At one time, the same kids, accompanied by three other graders, spoiled my lazy and quiet Sunday afternoon when they sped past the house and noisily chased a stray dog with sticks further down the street. I could only chide as I rushed out the door, “where are your parents? Do they approve of what you’re doing? Then feeling a bit guilty afterwards at having to have their parents involved in any of this, I slowly shrunk back and closed the door behind me.

Fun and games for them. Yes, that might perhaps be a valid reason for some which therefore brands it as a harmless dismissal, such as in “boys will be boys”. But seriously, is it really? I reckon it’s as natural as other human traits. Why, there’s even an Aesop poem, The Boys and the Frogs, about children being mean to animals. This is even further touched on and immortalized into words by Joanna Russ in The Female Man. “As my mother once said: The boys throw stones at the frogs in jest. But the frogs die in earnest.”
Segueing from children to us, now grown up as adults, let us play spot the hidden Mickey. Isn’t having fun and satisfaction at the expense of others a common thing amongst us? Even the most decent and the woke in our midst cannot deny there is a bit of opportunistic pleasure to be gotten at other people’s misfortunes and worst, whenever an adversary fails at something. That’s as normal as feeling elated when the opposing team loses in sports. We’re still throwing stones, only now translated in our civilized world as mean words and yes, jokes too. They be other people’s imperfections or failings, all appear as common and steady fare in everyday conversations, if only one gets to listen.
There’s actually a Visayan word for such, “merese” (roughly trans as good for you) and it speaks volumes. In Tagalog, we utter “buti nga”. Most often, after deducting what has befallen someone is some kind of retribution of sorts or a deserved punishment, the justification used by many is that one magic catch-all word, karma.
As reflection, whether we accept it or not, while once upon a time we were children throwing stones, those very stones remain deep in us. Worst of all, the most bitter ones have it propped squarely on their shoulders as bricks. Woe to the frogs among us.



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