Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ex Spoiled Brat: Survival Tips

Were you one of them?

Oh, don't be coy. You know that growing up you got your way most of the time. What did it take for you to bend your parents' iron will again? I've heard there are countless of ways. The pretty-please dopey eyed look, the i'll-pray-every-night-promise, the you-know-you-love-me mini dominatrix/dominator, or the you-don't-give-me-enough-time-anyway-so-buy-me-what-I-want mojo?

Let me tell you mine. I was the "straight-laced, straight-As in exchange for anything I want" kind of kid. C'mon, I know it sounds devious, but it makes perfect honest sense. Who can deny you anything when you've given everything to be the best in the one thing your parents value? For my family, school rules. Hey, I was born to a couple of pedagogues, so get off my geeky case. Good grades equate to pocketbooks and Teen Beat magazines cum Sunday. Housework? Well, how can I study if I'm worrying about washing the dishes, right? Besides Ate "Fill-in-the-blank" will take care of it. Oh, we're out of eggs? Sorry, I'm not allowed to go out, not even to the corner store, the other "Ate" can do that for us. It's dangerous out there and I'm too precious, you see (but of course my parents never saw it that way, I think they were more concerned I'll buy too many Flat Tops with the change).

If you lived that life, you know what I mean. If you're still living it, I'm torn between envy and pity. Sometimes I wish things could be that easy again. The worst thing you have to worry about is if Manang/Ate remembered to prepare the right uniform for tomorrow and it will be totally her fault if you forget to wear your school ID.

But that life had its pitfalls too. The Ivory tower of every princess will fall, if not today, then someday. Mine fell about ten years ago and I'm still struggling for a toehold. Whether you like it or not, the time will come when you'll realize that the spoiled brat is finally out of her/his depth. So, as a public service for the greater good of all the Daddy's little darlings and Mummy's pretty munchkins out there, I offer you the following bits of hard-won knowledge on surviving outside Rapunzel's lair:

1. Bills needs to get paid by the due date. They aren't, by any means, mere suggestions.
2. When buying food from the grocery store, do NOT go to the snacks section first. By the time you reach the meat section, you'd be up to your chins in Cheetos and no place for the dressed chicken.
3. When you're sweeping the floor and your wrist starts to hurt, don't jump into the conclusion you've acquired carpal tunnel syndrome. Check your grip on the godforsaken thing and try again.
4. Never get outclassed in raking leaves by an 11-year-old neighborhood kid. It makes you feel like an incompetent ninny.
5. When changing light bulbs, avoid death by electrocution by turning off the switch first. (duh, right? but you'd be surprised how you could just've sworn you switched it off already)
6. Do not microwave bagoong. Just don't.
7. When cleaning dog poo, holding your breath only makes you gasp for bigger gulps of air in about 5 seconds, which would then result to getting more whack out of the smell. Just breathe slowly and pretend its brain surgery --- remain calm and steady.
8. Unless you're practicing for your Oscar acceptance speech, chop onions with a piece of stale bread nearby. It absorbs the sting, I don't know how or why.
9. When you're trimming trees, watch out for falling fire ants and the far more fatal (heart-attack inducing) bird poop.
10. Sweeping dust under the rug/carpet doesn't work anymore, never had.
11. Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today --- like laundry. It'll be a nasty surprise to find you've ran out of knickers. And no, cycling shorts won't do.
12. Find yourself a good pair of sensible, slightly fashionable shoes. It'll bring you places.
13. When in a financial bind, check your bags. There's bound to be spare change or bills clinging to the inside lining of your Zara.
14. Hair=condition. Face=moisturize.
15. Get handy with the hammer and the spanner. Elastoseal and Plumber's Putty can also be your best friends.
16. Familiarize yourself with your home's main power switch. Don't be turning off the electricity in the kitchen if it's your patio that's short circuiting.
17. Lock your doors. Lock your doors. Really, go check it again.
18. You could never have too many batteries or toilet paper.
19. If you can't see yourself doing it, find a way to pay somebody else who can do it for you.
20. Just pray. I mean it, I'm not trying to be cute. When you feel like nothing is going right, and life is about to fall into its seams, amaze yourself with what a little prayer can do, and lots of the right tensile string. :D

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