“ME?!” I exclaimed in pure surprise when my classmate Bart informed me that the Directress Sister Trinia asked him to bring me to her office. This would be the second time in history that I would get in trouble with the school authorities. The first time was in third year high school. As a proactive stance, the student government has one day decided to pass around a survey asking us a question of extreme socio-economic-political importance: What brand of mineral water do you want to be available in the canteen? For some reason I wrote Cave Water. Until now I don’t know why I did that—it’s not particularly witty or funny or even smart-alecky. A few days later the student escorts raided all the rooms and rounded up all the students who did not take the survey seriously. While we were detained in the Executive Chairperson’s Office I asked Mariah, “Ano ba sinulat mo?” She said, Who Cares Mineral Water. Now that would have been worth the trip to the office.
Sister Trinia told me that she wasn’t pleased with the editorial I wrote in the latest issue of the school paper. I was the editor-in-chief, and I reported on the practice of public school teachers selling longganisa to their students. We had seen this first hand while doing catechism in the nearby public schools. It would reflect poorly on the catechism program, she said, and the school organ is not the proper venue for such an observation no matter how valid it may be. We would look like these foreign bourgeoisie looking down on native practices after we’ve been welcomed with open arms. Looking back, now in my advanced age, I see the wisdom in her advice. I apologized profusely, telling her that it would not happen again. The very next issue I wrote in big bold letters on a filler area: SUPPORT THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS! It was very… Briony Tallis, that young girl from Ian Mc Ewan’s Atonement who inflates her own importance by creating drama everywhere. Intra-Editorializing: What is not being Briony Tallis is being concerned with all the current press freedom issues. Coupled with the extreme heat and this horrific pandemic we can only hope for someone to sprinkle us with some blessed cave water as we scream in exasperation: DELIVER US!!!!
|At some point I half-jokingly said we should just call this paper The Willy
Drama or not, taking control of the school paper is one of my favorite memories of high school. They could have their CAT and Student Council positions, I could write whatever I want in the broadsheet like a total dictator. Some members of the staff weren’t really taking their positions seriously, and I happily took their jobs. Nobody wanted to do the lay-out, I did it myself like a maniac! Nobody wanted to write about pop culture, I wrote articles upon articles about The X-Files! The only thing I didn’t make pakialam was my friend Rex’s serial The Vicar Of Christ, a short story about the Pope (it was too complex for my comprehension). I and my close friends in the staff were so consumed with editorial power that we eventually decided to come up with a lampoon issue, called C#!ck@ Lang! featuring no-holds-barred, extremely lewd stories about real people. It was only meant to be shared among friends.
One day we were all laughing raucously while reading the 3rd issue of C#!ck@ Lang! when our Drama teacher Mr. Flaubert demanded that we surrender what were reading. We were a month away from graduation, we were already accepted to good universities, we have lasted this long without getting into real trouble, but as Mr. Flaubert walked towards Ruth Marx who was clutching in his palms the most disgusting issue of C#ick@ Lang! we knew we were finished.
“No,” Ruth Marx said firmly when Mr. Flaubert stretched out his hand to get the paper. “No, Sir,” Ruth Marx repeated as he folded the paper and kept it in his pocket, much to our collective relief.
“Eh pano kung nakipag-agawan sya?!” We later asked Ruth Marx.
“Kakainin ko yung papel!” He said.
We believe him. We owe our lives, our careers, our entire future to Ruth Marx.