Sunday Lifestyle

God’s sense of humor

Mary Ann Quioc Tayag - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Darl, look,” hubby said, “it’s bigger now,” and hurriedly pulled down his boxer shorts and bent over.” I went closer and asked, “Can I touch it?” “Yes, but please be gentle,” he begged.  I touched and felt with my palm the rashes on his butt left cheek that were shaped like the map of Mindanao. They were sore and looked really aggressive. We are really old na, I thought with some amusement. Sixteen years ago, he would dare not bend over without cover.  And if he did, such acrobatic moment would have ended very differently. Well, I think. No, I am sure.

I exaggerated what I saw just so he would see my lady dermatologist but he was still adamantly against it. 

“Okay, let me pray over then,” I said.  A week later, he excitedly bent over again to proudly show his smooth butt.  Without medication, the rashes simply disappeared.  A day later, I went to him and surprised him when I lifted my top to show nasty rashes on my breasts.  “Your rashes came to me,” I accused him.  He insisted that I see my dermatologist.  I insisted that he should pray over them. We argued and got entertained for some minutes.

God must have made rashes for us to look at and touch each other in old age. Just like He created pesky flies only to remind us life is not perfect. Where He puts the rashes is His sense of humor. (Time will come, hubby will not be able to bend over anymore so I must appreciate and cherish this moment.) I never believed in a punishing God even when I was a kid.  I see God as a funny God who pokes at us once in a while. My good friend Chrstl said, “God gives steaks to those who have no teeth.” I don’t know if she made it up but I’ve always found it amusing.  She was then referring to our good friend Josie who moved to a very upscale residence in Hong Kong that had a swimming pool, tennis courts, and an ultra modern gym. But dear Josie is not the sporty type while we had to pay and travel far to exercise.  I thought of Chrstl’s line when I recently met a very talented chef whose wife is on a perennial diet.

And God’s humor is best seen in every couple. Why else does He put very different people together and expect them to live happily ever after? He even designed them in such a way that their first fight once they begin living together is as simple and petty as a toilet seat.  That’s God’s version of toilet humor.

Claude was single when he built his Bale Dutung house and had all the 2,000-sqm. space to himself, while I lived in a 56-sqm. flat in Hong Kong for 18 years with my growing son Nico, and clothes for four seasons, uniforms and toys.  But I can proudly say that we maintained a very neat and organized flat. With a kitchen just slightly bigger than a 10-seater van, I catered our residence building and office with Pinoy food.  Under my bed were styrofoams next to our off-season clothes.  I didn’t buy anything I didn’t need whether it was food or fashion. 

Wasting is a sin. Having more than what I can use adds to the imbalance in the world’s resources.  To this day, I only have four towels and four bed sheets.  Gift me with one more and I will be in a dilemma which towel to give away.  And God knows me too well that He made me fall for and marry Claude, a hoarder. “Collector,” he says.

On our eighth month, he left for the Sinulog fiesta in Cebu. Though to witness such event is on my bucket list, I stayed home because I am afraid of huge crowds. I hope one day I can sum up some courage.  Maybe to amuse myself, I did something I do best or at least I think I do best, I cleared his biggest bodega!  I got six huge boxes. One each for paper, plastic, electrical, metal, and breakables; all the rest went to the “I don’t know” box.  When he came back he was beet red and did not know how to react. Maybe if we were over our honeymoon period, he would have chased me with a bolo. Today, that bodega is an air-conditioned gallery.

 Years later, we had our first refrigerator fight.  I was negotiating — or begging was more like it — for one miserable shelf in his 10-shelf professional chiller.  His solution was to buy another ref. My solution was for him to stop buying too much food. “Okay, Miss tuyo connoisseur, you start first by buying less tuyo,” he said with much sarcasm because he does not share my fondness for tuyo.  We never had pillow fights but maybe if we could lift the huge ref, we would have thrown it at each other in frustration.

I don’t know if it’s the spending that I do not like or having too many things. I could be standing in a bookstore for 15 minutes deciding whether I should get a big stapler to replace my still useful but small one, while Claude buys stuff he has no use for the following day. 

We are surrounded with so much stuff.  “Our house looks like a big trash can,” I complained.

“You make it sound like it’s junk, Again, I repeat I am a collector,” he stressed.

Indeed beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  “Why doesn’t he collect money instead,” I asked myself.  In the beginning I could still find it amusing and joked that as long as he did not collect girls, I could live with it.  But slowly our Bale Dutung is becoming smaller and smaller. I now pass by his office and studio like a horse with blinders.

God knowing we can still take more, He made precious Nico unique to complete us.  Claude likes to eat at holes in the wall, Nico likes fine dining and I am a chameleon pretending to like both.  Last May 19 was our 16th year anniversary.  I am most certain our marriage is till life after death for as long as we can laugh at our differences.  Like Claude is competitive and I am cooperative. He finds it so hard to dispose while I can be ruthless. He is an eager-beaver gas while I am a very slow diesel. He likes to socialize when I am very shy and only want to keep very few dear friends. He is quick to anger but yet he is a lot sweeter than me. Like he would bring me water on a hot day or put socks on my cold feet while I am asleep. Last Sunday, he peeled me green mangoes while I watched TV. 

On such good days, I look up to the heavens and thank God for putting us together and I wonder why some couples cannot see God’s humor and choose to separate.  On bad days, we both want to walk out the door.  That’s playful God throwing a curveball at us, who will also reward us with sweet moments after. Who was it that said the best sex is the sex after the first fight? Or did I just make that up? But I will always remember ours till we turn gray and old.  No, it was not inside the refrigerator.







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