By Icoy San Pedro

AT ALL times without fail, and even without our knowing it, anything we do inadvertently sends out signals to the outside world announcing who we are as a person. It could simply be through the way we talk, what opinions we express or merely through any body language and other unspoken expressions. Truth is, even the simplest gestures can impress at the moment.

Borne of the need to plan for one grand reunion, a group chat room for old friends and classmates have evolved to become the typical online venue where everyone could gather (so to speak), gossip and share the news about almost anything under the sun, though limited as it is. Notwithstanding, the mood has always been polite and very civil. After all, these are no longer the young ones of old, full of energy and zeal. Oftentimes, one senses that, if this chat room were to be given a physical presence, the most fitting venue for it would have to be a barbershop, like the ones immortalized in the paintings of American artist, Norman Rockwell. Why, even in the local scene, it’s just so natural that people gather on benches fronting barbershops, is it not?

In this chat room for old men however, an opportunity would sometimes arise whereby they, who for so long had been locked up by covid in the prison of their homes, could finally meet up even for a few hours. To say the least, those who have been available for such outings are now armed with pleasant stories to add to the digital table, once they again resume their still-imaginary barbershop chat.

One thing holds true however and it may as well be a golden rule. It has been said that if one wants to keep any friendship from being rocky, at least refrain on discussing religion and politics. In the digital world numerous memes have of course been dedicated to the subject. Among my favorites is this: “My dear, Religion is like a penis, it’s a perfectly fine thing for one to have and take pride in, but when one takes it out and waves it in my face, we have a problem.” So there.


Unfortunately, such things happen, especially in this election year, where some people go a bit gaga about their choice of aspirants. Our chat-room was no exception. A chatroom member complained why he has been shut out suddenly, suspecting the reason to be his political posts in the supposed neutral venue where they all meet. For a while, this had become the butt of jokes as though everyone wanted to make light of the incident…until someone braved through and told him outright what he suspects the reason to be. Read my favorite meme again.

Such is life in general. As we traverse with our separate journeys, we leave imprints in our wake and this meet up with the energies of others. Sometimes, though no fault of our own, we might offend the sensitivities of people around us and vice versa. I once witnessed a Buddhist monk carefully checking the ground from which he had wanted to place a gate. He said he just wanted to make sure no small animals such as worms and ants would be trampled over by his deed. 

Source: Mindanao Times (