THE CATFIGHT between Tom and Gwen may do for now, specially with the national pug, Manny Pacquiao, resting on his laurels.
I am not a ring connoisseur, preferring the more quiet excitement of a book. But the latest clash between the Cebu City mayor and the Cebu governor may hold out some tidbits.
For one, I am curious if Tom and Gwen’s spitting will reinvent the meaning of “catfight”?
My dictionaries define a catfight as one involving a lot of shirt-pulling, eyeball-scratching and hair-tugging between two “cats,” a figure of speech for a spiteful woman.
The question of gender has never been publicly raised in the word war between Cebu City Hall and Capitol. Maturity, intelligence, self-control, sense of humor—these have been speculated as lapsed or absent in one or both parties.
Perhaps news pundits should drop the gender-obfuscating “catfight” for “dogfight,” especially if Tom or Gwen or both abandon the public exchange of spite and start punching or arm-wrestling.
According to references, a “dogfight” is an aerial combat between fighter aircraft. But since the contested object is territory, not a man, “dogfight” is more appropriate than “catfight” for the current lack of love between these two politicians.
I said so to Natan recently when I submitted my nape again to his labaja (razor). My barber disagreed.
Tom and Gwen are one, was Natan’s take. No division, just addition.
One? I snorted. You must mean “one,” as in an eye for an eye.
Since he has been shearing my head and my boys’ for more than a decade, I have deeply absorbed the political analysis Natan dispenses as freely as the sneeze-inducing Kateena powder that he dumps on my nape.
The first time I saw him, Natan had hair so long, I mistook him for a follower of Father Tropa, the Lamplighter. But since he obviously knew his labaja as well as an abattoir worker, we go to him for our haircuts. Not only has he never cut us, I endure even his choice of powder to listen to his political commentary.
If you make a long and scholarly study of tabloid news—as Natan does—you will arrive at the conclusion that love and war are opposing faces of the same coin. The drunkard who smashes in his woman’s face will tenderly caress that purple visage in front of network cameras to avoid rotting in jail.
Yet I was not ready to accept that my barber had indeed become a Lamplighter, a peacenik, during the interval it took for my tresses to grow a quarter of an inch.
‘Tan, I was referring to Tom and Gwen, not Tom and Katie.
To the unkempt youth that just stepped inside the barber shop, my barber shouted advice that he should first pour gasoline on his hair, set this on fire, and then come back for his haircut.
‘Tan, Gwen just launched “One Cebu.” You think that’s a subliminal wish to repair fences with Cebu City?
Or is she just maneuvering to gouge out the city even if this will make Cebu a one-eyed freak?
His scissors snipped, snipped: Tom said that if the right hand gives an award to the left hand, that’s the fault of the ego, not the hands.
Sure, I said. Because Gwen awarded her father and brother in the Garbo sa Sugbo, Tom paid a compliment to the Garcias’ healthy ego.
The scissors snipped and stopped: Tom’s healthy, too. You seen him from the waist up?
The Tom-Gwen dogfight puts Cebu in the news better than just Tom or just Gwen. When my barber predicts that the addition of two bloated egos can better launch a PR campaign, I have no reason to suspect his mathematics; only his choice of powder.
* Published in Sun.Star Cebu’s Aug.10, 2008 issue