HAVING to write a regular column, even if it is just once a month, can be the most tiring and distressing of activities. First, there is the strenuous process of coming up with a topic good enough for the paper. Second is the equally straining process of searching for the right words and arranging them in the best possible way so as to convey the right message.

A third difficulty makes life more exciting; there are occasions about which you cannot but write, because writing about other things would make you feel like a Tagalog lost in the middle of Cebu. And one of these occasions is the Christmas season.

This third difficulty makes life exciting (at least for me) in that you can’t seem to find the right angle from which to write; everyone seems to have said everything about the subject, and no matter how cleverly you string the words, they always seem to amount to something that has already been shredded by countless discussions, like the ends of a pair of pants by time-coarsened heels.

So what am I to do? What about Christmas will I write? Except for some, you’ve probably had it with talks about the lights and the songs, gifts, love on earth and peace to all mankind.

How should I write about Christmas now? Well, in the midst of societal happenings (did I read that paper right: GMA said there’d be no Christmas truce between the government and the communist rebels?), I could give you the usual Yuletide dose: merry Christmas, and peace to all men. You know what they say about a spoonful of sugar.

Gutter reality, Gutter television

Funny, that thing between the government and the rebels. We speak of the fighting as though it was work. But Christmas is everyone’s vacation, and so the temporary truce, except this year. Peace on earth and mercy mild, government and rebels reconciled. Then we all go back to work and school come January.

What is this, you ask, the litany of a Scrooge? I had no intentions for this particular column to be that. I don’t mean to be cynical. I just don’t know what to say, that’s all. If that makes me cynical still, then I can’t help it.

Like writing these monthly columns, Christmas seems to have become monotonous. But let me qualify that. The Yuletide season annually changes us into sentimental creatures, feeling nothing but goodwill towards our fellow men. Which is good. At least there’s a time of the year when we give for a change.

I wonder what will happen when, like that difficulty I encounter during the writing of these columns, everything will have been said about everything, and we end up with nothing to say, no reason enough to initiate truces, during Christmas. We’d have difficulty celebrating, and might probably end up with minds like the government’s now. Heck, why pause? Let’s get on with it.

I am becoming too pessimistic. I should stop.

But I sure hope we will never encounter the difficulty I described during Christmas. And hey, as sulky as you think I am, I was not sarcastic in that last statement.


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