A long time ago, in Los Banos, Dhex was part of an ersatz fraternity. This supposed socio-civic organization was founded the morning after a group of friends drank themselves senseless. The funny thing about the org was that the more colorful members of the group were also infamous for spectacular --and really stupid-- suicide attempts.
One of them decided to end it all after falling out with his best girl. Searching for his secret stash, he got liquored up. Bitterly toasting the rottenness of his life, he then opened a can of insecticide-- they say it was Baygon-- and emptied its contents into his gullet. Convulsing in the grip of his imminent demise, he decided --belatedly-- that death by poison was a really lousy way to go, and yelled for help. It came, and he was brought up the mountain to the UP Infirmary, which sent him promptly down the mountain to another hospital. He survived.
I'm remembering this, because I walked into a Dunkin' Donuts outlet along Quezon Avenue a few nights ago and did something just as stupid.
The smell of the place shoulda alerted me to the state of the food. But did I listen to the little voice in my head? No. I bought the dozen infernal munchkins anyway. When I got home, my sister sampled one, and said: "Lasang Baygon" ("Tastes like Baygon."). Did I listen? No. Did I eat the cursed munchkins? Yes.
Why, why, why did I do it? In hindsight, I remembered thinking I was hungry at the time.
I was halfway through munchkin #6 when the kerosene smell and aftertaste became too strong for me to ignore. That was when I put the bag of munchkins down and started to feel the burning on my lips. Half an hour later my stomach was queasy and there was a tightening in my throat. I was also salivating like a drooling dog. It dawned on me only then that I had to go find some milk of magnesia or some activated charcoal ASAP. So in the midst of Typhoon Harurot, I searched for an open drugstore at 1:00 a.m.
To all you Paranaque and Makati folk, it would be a simple matter to get in the car despite the debilitation and drive to an open branch of Mercury Drugstore. Me, I was a driver without license nor automobile, so I hadda walk several city blocks amidst the rain and the wind, trying to induce vomiting every time I hit a dark street corner. There were no open branches of Mercury Drugstore within my limited walking range. There was a hospital with a pharmacy, but they'd run out of the stuff I needed.
I decided to purchase a Bart Burger from the nearby Burger Machine, puke, eat the Bart Burger as a reward for successfully throwing up, walk home and ride out the effects of Man's inhumanity to insects. After all, I reasoned to myself, our taong grasa have to consume stuff lots worse than this, and I don't hear them complaining...
I waited the whole morning for Rear Admiral Siapno (Ret) to give me the time of day. What was I doing rendezvousing with a Retired Philippine Navy Rear Admiral, you ask. Here's the story.
Turns out that the aging and decrepit Philippine Post Office was losing money. Government, naturally being concerned with the accumulation of wealth, lost no time in semi-privatizing it, appointing ex-Navymen to run the operation. (Guys, it's not as bad as it sounds! These erstwhile seamen are actually efficient!) Thusly the Philippine Post Office was transmogrified into the more-or-less streamlined corporate entity known as The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHILPOST). And Dhex, naturally concerned with the accumulation of wealth as he was losing money himself, wanted in.
My meeting with Rear Admiral Antonio Siapno (now Assistant Postmaster General for Finance) lasted all of three minutes. In that time, he told me that PHILPOST was still losing money, despite the newer postcard designs, upgrading of the older services, the expansion into internet-related services et cetera et cetera. Ergo, they're in the middle of planning to fire some two thousand unsuspecting individuals. If they were gonna hire people, they were gonna look first and foremost at whoever's left on the day after the PHILPOST Administration unleashes in-house armageddon. Siapno did, however, write up a memo to the personnel office, instructing them to look at my resume and my newly-filled personal data sheet.
If all goes well, they will eventually call my house or cel, informing me that I am qualified to be spirited away, Rapture-like, into the waiting bosom of the Department of Philately. And I shall most humbly embrace my new duties, responding with the proper ejaculation--
"Oh mah loahd! Thank Yew foah takin' me into yoah lovin' ahms! Yessuh! Ah ssseee the glory!"