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Grow Up First

Eric Gerard D. Ruiz | Tarantado Asintado

When I was in Grade 4, I applied as an altar server in the church. Being an altar server or sakristan is not a walk in the park. It requires dedication, hard work, and a lot of patience to endure a demanding and stern sacristan mayor. However, learning is also a vital part as an altar boy. Learning how to prepare the altar during offertory or how to carry the thurible—or the insenso as what we fondly call it—is not the point of serving. It’s a fundamental part of being an altar server. Without knowing those things, why should you be called an altar server? In the ministry, the sacristan mayor scolded us for wrong acts done in the altar, reprimanded us in “his own special way” for doing silly things, and created an atmosphere that would make us feel scared whenever we disobey his orders. Frankly, our sacristan mayor is iron-fisted and harsh, but not most of the time. Others may call him the devil incarnate for being frank and stern. Though there are times that being scolded hurts my feelings and ego, I learned how to deal with these professionally and maturely without resulting to childish hate and contempt.

In Pysche Roxas Mendoza’s article “Kerima 101”, she shared her experience working with Kerima Pulotan-Tuvera, the editor-in-chief and owner of the Evening Post. She described Tuvera this way: “She had round eyes that could dissolve in mirth just as easily as they would fire up in ferocious anger when displeased. She had a full, throaty laugh and a fuller, bellowing voice when venting her frustrations in the newsroom.” Mendoza shared that Tuvera “had no patience for late copy, and had a very observable disgust for stories that were poorly organized and riddled with grammatical errors.” Tuvera is indeed a strict editor-in-chief, but stricter with editors. Tuvera would require her editors to “undergo review classes in English to strengthen their command of the language.”

Tuvera would correct “the day’s edition of the Post and tacked stories with proofreading
errors on the bulletin board for everyone to see. It was her way of admonishing without
publicly humiliating the person or persons responsible for each error.” But, that act of
Tuvera is just, for me, level one. One time, according to Mendoza’s narration, Tuvera was “incensed” of the mistakes of the paper that “she gripped the saucer with the steaming cup of coffee she had been holding and furiously threw both, Frisbee-style, across the table.” Afterwards, the editors and the proofreaders “were on their toes for the rest of the week.” Mendoza explained that Tuvera “was a very formal teacher who hammered the need for consistently good, grammatically correct English as the foundation for all good writing in English.” Tuvera can be compared to Lauren Weisberger’s Miranda Priestly, the cruel, wicked, and evil editor-in-chief of the Runway magazine. These people have something in common: They get the job done. In the real world, people mean business, not play and amusement. This world is tough and it’s made of tough people making tough decisions every day. Just imagine a broomstick as the company you’re working in. In the broomstick, an elastic band keeps the sticks together. Let’s say your employer or manager is the elastic band, and you, as the employee, is part of a collection of sticks. If the band is too tight, it’s easier to sweep the ground because it’s firm and easy to grip. But if the band is too loose, the harder it is to use the broom to sweep because sticks will fall out. Now, this metaphor means if you think that your employer is too stern or hardhearted, maybe you’re not seeing the whole picture. If you think that your employer suffocates you, again, maybe you’re not seeing the whole picture. Some companies are built on quality and good service. As an employee, if you can’t stand the company’s quality control because you think that your department manager is being mean and rude, maybe you’re too young to face the real world. This world needs mature people who can work with people who mean business. If you think people are being mean because things are unorderly, you need to have a reality check. Life will not always be games and laughter. If you think oppositely of this, you need to grow up first.

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