Yakkity Yak

One of the most interesting things I’ve learned in close to twenty-six years on this planet (Hint! Hint!) is that the people aren’t what they seem to be, most of the time. My own personal guess is that what separates the successful from the totally lost isn’t that they’ve figured out what to do, it’s just that they’re a lot better at bluffing.Hey, it works for them. People don’t usually take the time to check whether or not someone really knows the crap of which he speaks: time’s too valuable to be wasted double-checking facts. All that matters is that they sound like they do.

***

The other day, I came across the Crocodile Hunter apologizing on CNN for bringing his son into a crocodile pen. People were so incensed that he would endanger his baby in that manner that some of the more irate began likening it to Michael Jackson holding his baby upside down from the balcony of some hotel in Europe.

What rubbish! Never mind that Steve Irwin is one of the world’s foremost crocodile experts while Michael Jackson is… well, never mind.

Funny how there’s no uproar when something goes wrong on Bring Your Children to Work Day, but that’s media for you. Bad things always happen to someone else, so I can shamelessly put as many people down as I want to until it makes me feel better about my own sucky life.

***

It always amazes me how some people (women, in particular) seem to be obsessed with people who’ve gotten it together. For example, every teenage girl has said these lines at least once (complete with the accent they use for the Ponds Beauty Powder commercial):

“He’s so mature. Wow.”
”Ohmygod. He’s so mature.”
“I like him kasi he’s so mature.”

The way most of them tell it, it’s as if maturity is the super trump of all the qualities that anyone could have to qualify as lifetime partner material. Forget all the other traits that guys can have, like funny, smart, cute, handsome, and what have you: as long as you’re mature, all is forgiven. Well, it’s either that or the boy/girl/it immediately assumes all of these qualities, even if he’ll never be funny, smart, cute, or handsome in his/her/its life.

Fast forward ten years, and replace “mature” with “together” and you’ll get the meat of most of the love stories we receive on this website. In fact, I’m starting to believe that you can tell how old someone is by the term they use to describe her ideal person, as if having it all “together” is a contagious thing.

I wonder how surprised these people will be when they realize that people who seem to have it together aren’t as put together as they seem.

Shows you just how much people really know.

***

My mother passes herself off as a modern-day Miss Manners. Last year, while on a trip to New Orleans, she couldn’t stop yakking about how loud I was. She kept complaining that I laughed out loud a bit too much for her taste. Well, it’s not my fault Singapore Airlines put an all-star British improv comedy team on the inflight entertainment system.

It’s not just with me that she does this, it’s with everyone else she meets that she thinks is close enough to take verbal abuse from her. She always gave Dad hell when he would slurp at a Chinese dinner (where it is considered good manners to slurp). Granted, it may feel like pampering at some point, especially to her, but it really is quite irritating after twenty-six years.

The other week, a friend of Mom’s many friends came over to sell his paintings.

“Fine arts graduate, he says. If he’s a Fine Arts graduate, how can he call himself an artist?” Mom complained after the man had left, with much snobbery. “That’s so showbiz. I don’t think he’s a real artist.”

“Mom, what do you suppose we call him then? A painter? A painter is someone you hire to paint your house.”

Nothing more was ever said about the painter who called himself an artist.

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