School isn’t always in the confines of a room, structures of wood or brick, and I can certainly attest to receiving lessons in science in action, almost daily when I was a kid. I received lessons in physics — the Laws of Motion, electricity and how matter is supposed to behave — the hard way. I also had lessons in biology, mostly animal behavior.
I won’t exactly call myself a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks, but there were certainly some short courses that came my way enough to give me an honorary degree.
I remember the time when we were living in a fairly big house in one of the cities in Metro Manila. It was the kind that had a big staircase — the kind with steps with gaps that can fit a kid’s head in between. I did just that, as a kid, squeeze my head between the steps; I cannot imagine doing the same thing now. I don’t know, maybe I had trouble grasping the concept of shapes and the kind of spaces they were supposed to fit in — and I suspect it’s a nasty habit I carried with me to adulthood. After shoving my head in, I found out that I could not get it out. I started calling out to my mother who was entertaining a guest in the next room. She could not figure out where I was right away so I started crying.
Yeah, boys do cry until mommy finds them. In hindsight, I don’t know if this was indeed a science lesson or just a reminder on how childhood innocence running blindly can be a bother for moms. I don’t even remember how my mom managed to get my head out of the gap between the steps.
I also remember my love for climbing when I was still a small boy. I just don’t know how I ended up not liking it anymore. Maybe I can trace that to the time that I tried to go up a small hill at one of the local parks. I didn’t realize that I had accidentally disturbed an anthill. As my hands sank into the soil, I was shocked to find hundreds of ants just swarming them. The swarming was the least of my worries. I shrieked with pain as the ants started to bite my hands. Those little nibblers made for a freakin’ painful biology lesson! If you corner an animal where it’s bound to lose it’s home, prepare yourself for a fight.
A body stays in motion until something with enough force stops it. A lesson I forcibly received as I got several stitches on my forehead. My nanny told me stop running, and I did what every kid was supposed to do after receiving a warning — keep running. I kept running until I stepped on something that caused me to trip, which in turn caused my forehead to meet the pavement.
I also remember being ganged up on by a bunch of other guys; more than three by my sober recollection and more than 10 when drunk. I remember feeling my head, particularly my face, stopping their soft fists easily. I am sure their hands must have hurt like hell as my face got warmed up. I also remember getting a lot of scratches for some reason. The bobbing and weaving must have pissed them off, too. I couldn’t help but do just that uncontrollably as they hit me all at the same time. Try getting ganged up on and you’ll see what I mean. And that’s the Laws of Motion in action for me.
As for electricity, if the sockets shock you once, you must be really hardheaded to keep trying to plug in something into outlets that they don’t belong in.
So, what of today? I think I’ll get an honorary masters degree from that school. I’m hoping it’s not for Physics again. I also hope it isn’t for Advanced Finance.
Pain is not a great memory trigger. I’d rather take pleasure every single day. But of course, that’s more expensive.