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I saw an acquaintance of mine on today's newspaper. He's part of a model search sponsored by a large supermarket chain. The ad said that, upon P500 worth of purchases, you are entitled to a ballot to vote for the face which you think best represents the youth today. Never mind the absurdity of a supermarket choosing models of the youth; what was more important for me was that this acquaintance of mine, at least from what it seems, has recovered.

Recovered from what? From a drug addiction. I met him when he was at his worst. He had been in and out of rehab at that time, and to make matters more complicated--as if they were not already so--he also had an anger management problem. (The people I meet, huh?) A little younger than me, shot through and through with mestizo features, tall as a basketball player, a gentle giant and fun-loving, no one would think that there would be trouble in paradise. Though, as it was expected from being mere smoking buddies, I did not inquire as to his problems and how he got into such a tight fix and neither did he ask me about mine.

But I do remember seeing him display his problems with anger. Hell hath no fury like a man with anger management problems. Everyone just stays clear from him, letting the wave froth and gain height and strength; what is important is not to drown in it but to swim away. Then after the storm passes, all is clear as daylight. He smiles. And of course, I smile back--and invite him for a smoke.

What I do remember clearly about the good-hearted guy was that he had one ambition and hobby at that time. He made hammocks with his bare hands. And he was looking for ways to sell it. So I told him that the business our family is in can easily provide him with avenues to sell his creations; and that I will personally see to it that he gets a discount. He welcomed the idea with such glee and told me that the first thing he will do after he gets out of rehab is to make me a hammock. Free of charge.

Well, the hammock did not come. But it does not matter. A few days ago he sent a text message to me asking that I vote for him in the supermarket-run model search. I have yet to respond to him because I was not sure if it was him who sent the message. But after seeing him today in the newspaper add, now clean-cut and looking at the top of his game, I told him that I'd vote for him and that I was still waiting for my hammock.



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