‘Take Time by the Forelock’


There’s one heck of a difference between going before and behind.

That being true, there happens, too, there’s a whale of a difference between pulling and being pulled.

Any person who “takes time by the forelock” (meaning going before), goes before. But woe to any preferring to dilly-dally, such guy might be compared to a horse or a donkey mistakenly tied to the tail-end of a cart and pulling back with all his weight.

By the way, forelock is the front part of a horse’s mane that falls forward between its ears, as you know very well. In case of humans, it’s the lock of hair growing or falling over the forehead.

“Taking time by the forelock” was used in olden days – even today, anyway –  of not letting slip an opportunity by managing time usefully or purposely.

Managing time is all upon us; it escapes no one. Work or on leisure, time is of the essence.

Timing is essential, too, the difference of being COMPLETE and FINISHED, as explained gigglelingly by friend, Sam Kit Chan, lady from Bontoc, Mountain Province and residing at Guisad barangay, Baguio City.

Sam, a lovely woman, can dish out a joke or two about the fairer sex where she belongs, and giggles like a school girl when other girls pout about her joking on women.

Some people swear there is no difference on timing, but there is. Sam happily says:

“When a bachelor marries the right girl, the man and his time are COMPLETE.”

“When a bachelor marries a wrong girl, the man and his time are FINISHED.”

“If a bachelor marries a girl, goes home after work only to discover his wife playing tong-its with the neighbors and exchanging gossip while her children are unattended, their faces unwashed and noses unwiped, the man and his time are COMPLETELY FINISHED. Worn out.  Dead.”

In Spanish it means, terminado, in French, it means fini. German, it means kaput.  In Ilokano, it means naspak ni Juan nga naki-asawa.

It goes to prove that   anader hombre, dis time a man, Busto Camado, 57, from La Union, is right all along about time of gossip. Why, you say?

Because, Busto explains that time is not measured by clocks but by moments,

To prove his point about “time of moments” Busto said, “Addan tu oras nga mapursing tu amin nga ngipen, ngem ti dila, saan a mapursing, addan tu pay laeng, ken bagi na latta ti oras na nga ag-daldal wenno anya ti lawlawaten na.”

So, Time is a sturdy beast, and steady to the plowing; only Time can drag along the heaviest sluggard among us.

Ah remembers that long time ago when, instead of seizing time of opportunity to give his apong a one good deed, he didn’t and lost a golden opportunity to prove he was a man.

It happened this way:

Apong: “Apok, iyawat mo man kaniak tay gurabis.”

Ah: “Daytoy ni, Apong, ti lighter.”

Apong: “Gurabis ti kunak, saan nga lighter, apok.”

Ah: “Ket isu met laeng nga agsindi toy lighter, Apong.”

Apong: Mapagkurikur ko ngarud ti lighter iti lapayag ko, apok?”

Ah’s apong, named only Mandi-it, was a respected warrior from the Talubin tribe in Bontoc, Mountain Province. During his time, he held of the peace pact between Talubin, Sabangan and other municipalities.

It was related to Ah during his youth that his apong Mandi-it spoke rarely, but when he did, people listened.  During the time his apong asked a request, Ah blustered and didn’t listen.

Now his apong has gone to the Happy Hunting Grounds in the Sky. Ah can only knock his head on the wall, saying, “If I can only undo that wrong time I did to apong …”

So, when our apong orders us to do something, it’s time we do it, and we better seize the forelock and do it damn right, Unnerstang?

What a figure a person makes tied by the head to Time’s chariot? Kasla kastoy ti mapasamak: We’re tied behind Time’s chariot, dragged and we bluster, “Aguray ka biit, apoh, ta maikarkaradkadak met. Dika met la maka-ur-uray!”

Any sluggard, who awakes in the morning, looks at the skyline, “Oh, still very early, the sun’s not yet up.” And down he lays his head.

But flies, already up and about, disturb him. They light on the face and buzz the ears, saying, “Get up!”

He swats and swears at the flies, digging his head deeper into the pillow, covering his face and sleeps again.

At length, the person’s bones ache, shift sides, and tries hard to lie easy, but all will not do.

Finally, such man is obliged to leave his bed, rises up on end, scratches his head and gapes. After much ado, he takes a bath, get dressed and eats breakfast.

But he’s too late.  Like a horse or donkey tied behind a cart and pulling back, he’s dragged along by time, and his business drags heavily after him.

During his yondering youth in the 70s, Ah decided to seize time by the forelock and become a merchant, a businessman, if you will. He did. Problem:  his customers called early before he was up.

And when he was up, the customers, tired of waiting for him to wake up, went away one by one.  One good bargain, after bargain was lost while Ah happily snored.

So Ah quit being a businessman and became a mechanic.  Problem: his helpers and apprentices followed Ah’s example. They dozed while he dozed. Or loitered about. Work was not done. Ah lost customers.

He quit being a mechanic and became a farmer. While he luxuriated late in bed, the sun warmed the air and dried the earth, and Ah lost the benefit of plowing while the earth was still moist with dew.

Ah’s cattle, left unattended, ran rampant, chewed their way into the homesteads of other farmers and ate everything green. “Off with Ah’s head!” the irate farmers demanded. So Ah quit farming.

Until today’s time, Ah’s still undecided on what he’s to be, or not to be.

Last week, one of Ah’s colleagues, Adrian Darcellis, and assigned in La Union, whispered to Ah that managing one’s time can be associated with “love of slippers.”

Incredulous, Ah told his subordinate, “Explain!”

“Simple lang, Sir. Ti ayat kasla a tsenelas. Ta uray kasaatnu ti kinaadu ti sapatos ti maysa a tao, nu agawid isuna idiay balay da, ket tsenelas ti birukenna. Saan met nga ibusen na ti oras   nga mangbiruk diay sapatos ngem ketdi diay tsenelas na. Saan kadi?”

Ah scratched his head at Adrian’s explanation. Then Adrian pulled Ah’s ear and whispered again,” “Sometimes, taking time by the forelock can be quite amusing.”

“Explain, my young philosopher,” Ah asked Adrian.

“Kastoy ngamin, boss: idi, nu tungtungan ti babaket ken lalakay, madi mabalin makisampitaw ti uubing.”

“Ita, nu tungtungan ti uubing, madi mabalin makisampitaw ti babaket ken lalakay. Rason dagiti uubing: di kanu makarelate dagiti lalakay ken babaket.”

“Ngem nu adda nasikugan wenno intarayan da, apoh, dagiti uubing, pirmi karipas da to oras nga   agbirok tulong kadagiti lalakay ken babaket.”

Hay, yay, yay, sabalin ti tiempo a talaga, Ah mused.


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