ON Tuesday, ampalaya with egg was my breakfast and dinner. On Wednesday, ground meat in egg. On Thursday, rice fried with egg became breakfast. Friday, smoked fish and salted egg.
Except for changes in main noun and preposition, egg was the mainstay in this week’s meals. Perhaps the Pampangueño cooks just love eggs or cafeteria regulars do.
Many of my breakfast classmates and I take our eggs with a national daily, which are piled near the food trays.
Despite our conspicuous consumption of news, which prominently featured this week the culling of birds to stop the spread of bird flu in Pampanga, when the cafeteria closes by 4 p.m., the hordes have wiped away every trace of egg, presumably to return the next day.
I know because one of the Pampangueña ladies kindly whipped up an egg sandwich I could eat before my evening class.
On the sound theory of not biting the hand that feeds one, I’ve never asked the cafeteria crew if our eggs are sourced from Pampanga, where they are going after every chicken, quail, and duck suspected of or testing positive for the H5 strain.
I’ve tried to eavesdrop on conversations among cafeteria diners, who are mostly from the natural sciences. However, stepping up human resistance to viruses or implementing strict biosecurity measures does not seem to be on the minds of this learned crowd when they are tackling eggs and whatnots.
Being of the humanities discipline, I rationalize my eggs-cesses by creating backstories: for instance, the salted egg lying on its bed of sun-ripened tomatoes must surely be “old stock,” salted away long before some alien winged in from elsewhere in Asia to infect our sitting ducks.
Besides, even if a foreign extremist invasion of H5 carriers did corrupt the Pampanga stocks, I put full confidence on the martial solution to rebellion and chaos in the poultries.
After poultry workers in Pampanga refused to cull the infected birds even if promised the previously unheard-of daily allowance of P700, Malacañang called on the military to step in and terminate the threat.
Given the Philippine track record in extrajudicial killings, gassing and burying birds in pits will not even ruffle feathers.
On the same day the military was ordered to clear contaminated poultries, police officials shrugged off the deaths of 21 drug suspects killed in nine hours in Bulacan.
The deaths are “normal,” given these resulted from 22-25 operations, not just one, a police spokesperson explained the simultaneous operations called “One Time, Big Time”.
Since any form of math, even malicious math, is beyond me, I put my faith on law enforcement to also take care of my eggs, same place, same time.
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*First published in SunStarCebu’s August 20, 2017 issue of the Sunday editorial-page column, “Matamata”