Powers

Not related to the post, but there are now unclassified videos of UFO’s and truly THIS COULD BE A JOB FOR MULDER AND SCULLY!

I haven’t been watching a lot of news for the past few weeks, only checking twitter to like my friends’ posts as a sign of solidarity. I didn’t catch the whole story in Dasmarinas Village, but I was quite fascinated when I heard the arresting officer’s line: I arrest you in my presence! I haven’t come across this particular line before, but I find it to be chock full of elegance. Like something you would say to a rogue Queen before you send her to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.

For some reason this reminds us of a classmate’s grand pronouncements in school. Mrs. Wow-Ulam caught Clondike reading a fantasy book one morning instead of listening to her lecture, and after class she called him at the back. I was sitting at the last row, so I was in full usisero view of the confrontation. Mrs. Wow-Ulam reprimanded Clondike harshly–first for not paying attention in class, then for being so cavalier about the reprimand. “Why weren’t you LISTENING?!” the exasperated Mrs. Wow-Ulam repeated, to which Clondike replied with: “Because I have POWERS!”

For all his peculiarities Clondike was quite beloved by many, and we would occasionally see him during our friends’ birthday parties. He one day just dropped off the face of the earth, and when he re-emerged a couple of years later he took social media by storm–specifically, by flooding our facebook feeds with links on politics, religion, and homophobia. Inappropriate memes would be posted every 5 minutes or so, and while many of our friends just started unfollowing him, I continued… surveilling him from pure morbid fascination.
A few months ago I’ve just decided all of a sudden to update my reading list so I logged on to Goodreads after ten years of not using it. My first discovery was: Goodreads is still a very slow website, now in the form of a very slow app. My next discovery was I made some very cringe-worthy book reviews back in the day. Third was Clondike was apparently my friend in the app, and one of the few books in his library is  an illustrated book called “Alfie’s Home” by Richard Cohen.
There’s no way this is a children’s book.

Alfie’s Home is a controversial 1993 Christian “children’s book” about the boy Alfie who has an absentee father. One day uncle Pete touches him inappropriately, and then Alfie feels all sorts of weird feelings including some unexpected pleasure. This goes on… for months. Since then Alfie starts to feel like he’s gay, so he talks to a therapist who concludes that lack of fatherly affection is the root of all his gayness. The therapist also gets Uncle Pete to confess, who cries and cries and is promptly forgiven. Alfie starts to spend more quality time with his father and he forgives uncle Pete, resulting in instantaneous straightness. At which point we want to call the Law and Order Special Victims Unit, which would file a case against Uncle Pete, the therapist, and the parents. Dun dun! (For more info on the unintentionally hilarious Alfie’s Home, there are many Youtube “readings” skewering the book).

I once saw Clondike eating by himself in a restaurant. I wanted to approach him, but he was looking quite pensive, like he genuinely wanted to be mapag-isa. I never got to see him since then, and it is one of the great regrets suddenly brought to light by the extreme introspection of quarantine. I should have approached him, I should have rekindled our friendship, and I should have finally asked him: What… powers?






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