Sunday, August 23, 2009

An Act Worth a Smile

"Honesty is the best policy." Yes, it is and none else.

I remember those teenage days when I used to weave fabric of black and white lies in order to get my way and attract the interest of those around me. Countless were the times when I uttered magic spells so that I can be freed from the consequences of my folly.

Perhaps, that wisdom goes with age is true to me. Since I started building a family, one thing that greatly changed was the taming of my deceptive tongue. I thank my wife for easily spotting my inconsistencies which often left me entangled in the web of lies I fabricated. Though clash of words followed such encounters, I have learned to value the virtue of honesty. Petty or severe made-up stories whatsoever, my wife’s strong detecting power did not spare me.

Last summer, my wife’s five-year old nephew stayed with us. Just like any other kids, the boy wanted to make stories when he wanted to entertain us and get our attention. As his surrogate father, I was expected to exercise greater responsibility over him since his parents were out. So I told him my house rule: HONESTY, violation of which meant five spankings.

One time, he was telling a story about a worker who was reprimanded by his mom. He related the story to me with amazing facial expression and exaggerated enunciation: "Pinaluhod s’ya ni mommy! Sabi ni mommy, ‘Luhod! Luhod!" I was caught in disbelief knowing my sister-in-law as a very cordial and amiable woman. I asked him the second time if what he was telling were true. He answered yes. Disturbed by his revelations, I gently grabbed him in both shoulders, bent on his level, looked straight to his eyes and asked the same question again. He stooped down and in a gentle voice replied, "Sorry po. Nagsinungaling po ako!" I gave him his five spanks.

From then on, every time I asked him something, his answer has always end-phrases as these: "Totoo po talaga, hindi po ako nagsisinungaling!"

One of my closest friends related a story of a classmate who in her desperate effort to land a stable job ended up losing thousands of pesos in a flawed investment. She finished a prestigious course but failed in the licensure exam. Her father, however was a respected politician in the province. Due to her traumatic experience in business, she decided to go abroad. She was perplexed and confused which way to take because she has a kid and husband to support. Until she made connection with a care-giving placement agency through her husband’s kin. The agency, knowing that she didn’t have any background in care-giving, only demanded a certificate of training from a clinic or a hospital so that she could go. Nowhere to look for help, she requested her politician father to ask such favor from the doctor turned Congressman who owns a clinic in Manila.

The worried and concerned father, sorry at his daughter’s helpless state, requested such favor from the congressman. That although, his daughter hasn’t work at all in the doctor’s clinic, she be given that certificate of training for the sake of her employment overseas. The doctor-solon smiled and told the father to send his daughter to the clinic on Tuesday.

The following Tuesday, the politician’s daughter was expectant for that last grain of hope she had. This visit was all she needs to restart her dream of a good life. As she stepped inside, her mind feasted on the days ahead after this short visit. Moments passed and she got out of the clinic. Apparently, she was happy. She called up her father.

The doctor-congressman refused to give her the certificate she badly needs for this one chance of leaving the country.

But what made her smile despite such disappointment? What happened in the clinic that caused such glow on her face? What was it to celebrate in losing one’s last hope? What was in the clinic that is worth a smile?

Based on the story of my friend, when her classmate was relating the purpose of her coming, the congressman-doctor gently yet boldly said all these: "Never tell your father about this. I have never falsified a document in my entire life!"

She didn’t tell her father about it but she told this to her classmate who happened to be my friend. Now, I am sharing this with you because that doctor is our congressman.


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