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HONORING MY MOTHER | Whiter Schadenfreude of fail

While on our way to the airport to fetch the mum, a pickup truck with people sitting at the back cuts into our path sharply, causing my son to pound at the horn loudly. Jolted from my brief reverie, I could only mutter under my breath. A few minutes later, we see it a few hundred meters ahead, signaled by waiting highway cops after having been obviously shot by their speed gun. No rest for these brown cowboys even on Sundays, I thought. I guiltily enjoy a few seconds of malicious celebration as we pass them, but then seconds later, that is followed by a lingering feel that is short of moral awkwardness.

For all I know, the vehicle might have been headed to assist another fellow driver in distress up ahead or other worse emergencies. Or quite simply, the driver might have been in desperate need of a rest room. Even if they were like those notorious highway fiends we hear about as the other half of road mishaps, there’s still no reason to be mean, a voice in my head admonishes me for being an impulsive troll.

Perhaps, in calmer settings, when one’s mind is less stressed by personal turmoil or other goings-on, that inner voice might have been in the right. But if things were different and one’s fuse were a bit shorter; that cool inner voice might have barked loudly like Mister Hyde emerging out of Dr. Jekyll’s cool persona.

Many years back, I had snapped at a peanut peddler on motorcycle because he loudly shouted in our direction and startled me as I sat outside by the door. In an instant, the matey had put me in my place, admonishing me that, that was how they made their livelihood. What right have I got just because of a minor discomfort? Come to think of it, putting me in my place may have been quite tame. Snug as a nun’s socks I was, really.

Yep, we forget sometimes. However, those few seconds of malicious delight is something to think about, especially when we feel that the other party really deserves whatever small discomfort that has befallen them. “Merese”, Visayans would say, indicating karma is really a b___. Just a few seconds that may be worth savoring, mind you. Longer than that, then there’s already something the matter with your attitude towards other people.

Many a time, I hear what has happened in the past to another “deserving” person being repeated ad nauseam during gatherings or same-feathered Marites-es. It’s as though at every meeting, he’s being served as main fare. Usually, I don’t rock the boat on this one lest I be served as side dish. Yet through it all, let’s just credit it to our being frail beings. My mind is forever locked in on a smirking image of Muttley, the dog sidekick of a villain in boomer times’ Wacky Races. Come to think of it, I might have his image printed on a Tee this Christmas as gifts.


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