Last Sunday morning, at around 4:30 A.M., Daily Laborer, like most ordinary Baguio citizens wading through the market to purchase home commodities, was at the meat section happily awaiting his regular “suki” to chop the pork he bought when, some distance from the meat stall of his suki, a spat between a lady customer and a stall owner broke out.
Miffed at the rough language spewed by the stall owner, the lady customer turned on her heels and left, without buying.
The stall owner continued to spew profanities into the air, complete with his saliva drenching the air, the most resonant among his words being, “ dakayo a gumatgatang, tawar kayo la a tawar, adu la amin dayta,” which apparently caught the attention of customers who, instead of stopping by his stall, scowled at him and avoided his business.
Daily Laborer’s suki, the meat cleaver in his hand and gaily waving it in the air, chuckled and said, “Manong Bony, Nu maminsan, malipatan dagiti kakadwa nga aglaklako ditoy market nga adda karbengan ti customer nga agtawar presyo. Apay nga ag-unget da ngay. Maki-lampay da ketdi kadagiti customer, a, tapno magatang lako. Kasta ti sales talk. Saan nga pasabatam customer ti unget nu agtawar ta kadawyan dayta. Ay sus, pati tu pay Amerikano, nalaing agtawar, mamati ka kenyak!”
(“Sometimes, our compatriots here at the market forget customers have the privilege to haggle for a price. Stall owners shouldn’t get riled for any reason. Instead, they court customers so their products will be bought. That’s sales talk. Stall owners shouldn’t snap at customers when they haggle because that is Filipino trait. Sweet be, Jesus, even Americans are good at haggling, believe me!”)
Daily Laborer, grinning answered, “Baka met sabali ngamin panag-riing na idi agsapa isu naka-rupanget pay la isu na agingga idtoy lukatan na ti stall na!
Daily Laborer’s suki grinned further and said, “Uray pay nag-riing a nga pabalikwas. Lagipen na nga adda aldaw matumal ti benta, adda aldaw maibus a dagus. Nu awan ti customer ket naspak a!”
Then the suki, pointing to stall owner, whispered, to Daily Laborer, “Saan kuma nga itulok nga ti apdo ti agturay ti panunot ken rason!”
Oh, talk about spleen!
In every human body is the spleen, an organ that is part of the lymphatic system. That is a fact.
In fact, come to think about it, pigs, called pork after butchered and which we buy at the city’s meat section, also have spleens that lie between their stomachs and their diaphragms in the upper left hand side of their abdominal cavity.
But in some human creatures, as exhibited by that unidentified stall owner that Sunday morning, are possessed with a different spleen – a common synonym to ascribe to grudge, ill-will, malice, malevolence, meanness or spitefulness.
Book of Thesaurus list multiple synonyms about spleen ranging from ill temper, peevishness, anger, hostility, nastiness, rancor, resentment, malice, venom, hostility, loathing, maliciousness, etc.
So, my handsome and, or beautiful reader, where does you spleen belong? Or, where does it slumber at any time of the day or night?
Spleen, the organ of the human body in the abdomen that helps regulate blood and is part of the immune system is, to Daily Laborer, sometimes a tyrannical distemper, which, often in defiance to reason, rules us by presumption or fancy.
For, apparent it is that although the hurtful lunacy of the disquiet of mind is obvious to common sense, yet the greatest sense sometimes cannot overcome it.
Like what one lowlander brethren explained when Daily Laborer related what transpired that Sunday and, Louis Pinabes, residing at La Trinidad, said, “ Diay probinsiya mi jay La Union, nu adda mapansin mi nga basta ag-ung-unget nga awan gapu na, kuna mi, ayna Balong, (or) ayna Basang, basta ka la ag-ung-unget, wenno ag-murmuryot, wenno mang-gur-gura nga awan met ti gapu!”
Exploding your spleen without justifiable reason will, according elders of the Cordillera tribes who have eaten more grit than we could ever chaw, make us ill without disease and irate without provocation.
Sage elders from Bontoc, Mountain Province, their weather-beaten faces rife where experiences are etched in them and when Daily Laborer talked with them about people seemingly loving just to be irate at anybody explained that those who have spleen far different from merry people “love to be smitten with agony where there is no pain and imagine horror where there is no menace.”
Albert Fagtang, from Mountain Province, summed it up for the elders when he explained, “Wad-ay man nan basta susungten na nan lufong ya tako at kag cha mensakit nu ad-i cha ensu-sunget. Aw-ay nan apcho cha ket na-asinan isnan kasisi-fur sinan etag.” (There simply are those who hate the world and others and feel sick if they are not irate. Maybe their spleens got salted from chewing too much salted meat”).
Well, that is a merry, indigenous and tribal psychology presented to us by elder Fagtang.
Why this passion of anger strikes many, seems to Daily Laborer, a sudden blaze of pride, which, for the interest of self-love, rebels against reason. When let loose, it is no wonder that it generally disappoints itself and misses its end, by choosing a violent means, which is seldom successful.
But then, a local, loco Baguio city hombre, by the name of Fredrick Cambito, whispered last Monday regarding the matter when he said, “ My good ‘ol Daily Laborer, friend, if you would effectually defeat someone in his purpose, the surest way is to make him very angry. Let his spleen work against him. ”
Cambito, explaining further that exploding spleens get many in trouble and ego keeps one in trouble: “let an angry man digest the venom of his spleen until it splits the man from being waspish.”
In constitutions where this “distemper” prevails, it is surprising how trifling a matter will inflame it. Daily Laborer is reminded of a Baguio gentleman, who, an avid chewer of moma had set his heart so much upon betel-nut chewing that when Baguio City Council approved a ban on spitting moma juice in public, he constantly rails like mad that his “freedom to spit” was permanently jeopardized.
Our gentleman was mulling to present his case to a government entity other than the city council.
To which Daily Laborer teasingly said, “Maybeso you want to present your case to the Commission on Human rights, eh?”
Our gentleman responded by saying, “CHR? Aaah, Nyet!” In Russian, nyet means no.
Daily Laborer pestered this gentleman by saying, “But why?”
To which the gentleman responded, saying, “No way, for I don’t want my spleen a-boiling when it comes to CHR, for your guess is as good as mine.”
When typhoon Paeng came and electricity to homes was down due to the tempest’s fury, it started to increase the spleen disease by turning many residents into “spleeniticks.”
When electricity was finally restored in places in Benguet, these spleneticks went on Facebook in raging mood swings and crucified Benguet Electric Cooperative (BENECO) and its linemen for electricity having been cut in their respective places.
Notwithstanding the fact that BENECO linemen were laboring 24 hours to restore electricity and fix electric posts destroyed by Paeng. Never mind that Paeng was the culprit in the disaster.
These spleeniticks assumed they were entitled to tear BENECO and its linemen to shreds, instead, instead of exhibiting a degree of compassion by allowing the linemen elbowroom to concentrate fixing broken electric lines.
So easy it was for these spleeniticks to put the linemen into their irate spleens, while the wives, children and kin of the linemen silently crossed their fingers that nothing untoward will happen to these intrepid “walkers in the sky” doing their job while the howling Paeng sought with its might to flail these men down.
A wife of a lineman of BENECO wrote, during Paeng’s wrath, and encapsulated what other wives of BENECO linemen silently undergo whenever raging typhoons ravage Benguet.
The wife, who wants to be identified by the sobriquet, Yan-yan Yanyan, wrote: “I am a wife of one of the linemen assigned in Tuding. Every time we have weather like this, I brace myself knowing I’d be the father of the family while he is working in stormy weather.”
“I fix our roof it gets blown by the wind, shovel mud that blocks our canal, etc., because I don’t want to add to my husband’s worries. My husband works for BENECO but we don’t expect our lights will be restored first. We don’t get that privilege. Like anyone, we wait. Let’s pray and hope the linemen work to get the job done.”
“After power is restored, it isn’t the end. Our burden, worries, only stops when I see my man safely home. Thank you all for your understanding that you are with us in your prayers for the warriors of lights to be safe.”
Yanyan’s message is clear. Instead of working an unreasonable spleen, against the world or anybody, we take to reason like the Cordillera sage men- full of prudence and sagacity – who judge excellently but want vigor and agility to act.
Reason, rather than rage, makes use of its ministers to execute counsel and purpose.