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If I had a mistress

(Article published in the Sep 2, 2009 issue of Manila Standard Today) 

Last weekend, the second of two rare three day-weekends successively occurring in the same month, presented a temptation, too good to resist, to spend an extra evening celebrating the good fortune of one of my former students appointed to the judiciary, to imbibe as day turns to dusk just a few more ounces of alcohol, at times of grape and at others of barley, and, in utter disregard of my neighbor’s ear drums, to burst in loud song, admittedly in borrowed tune, with copied lyrics, and unabashedly, about a mere figment of my imagination.  

Of the three, I can, still suffering from the long-weekend hangover, remember the song only, the first two now just a blur in my aging memory; and thus I beg your pardon for this my imposition on you of my poor attempt to be a Tevye of Fiddler on the Roof.   I hope writers Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock do not take it too much against me for what we Filipinos call “murdering” their song.  Far from being a parody, my version really is a form of adulatory imitation of their magnificent work.

To enable you to recreate the amino and the feeling of almost supernatural power that I felt in that fleeting moment of creativity and thus help you belt out the song with appropriate gusto, I have taken the liberty of suggesting some mental imagery to serve as backdrop of the stanzas. Sit back, relax, no secret agent, of Obama or Brown or Gloria, is watching.


Start the song by not singing but instead by imagining yourself as the chief executive officer of a multi-national outfit that had from the very beginning been organized for profit.  See yourself getting down your company provided car, a perk that is attached to your being the CEO.  Reluctantly you drag your briefcase that matches your in well-pressed gray suit; you wear  your daily dour, if not sour, countenance, the same one you wear every Monday morning as you go to work at 9:00.  Mutter to yourself, sotto voce, but audible enough for your company chauffer to hear:

"Dear God, you made many, many horny people./
I realize, of course, that it's no shame to be horny./
But it's not an easy matter either!/ So, what would have been so terrible if I did not have to go to office today?"

Think of yourself walking to the elevators slowly, going with the flow of supervisors and junior executives; the rank and file had bundy-clocked a hour earlier.  And, as you wait for an elevator door to open, sing:

“If I had a mistress/ who is working for the guys that I am also working for/All day long we'd take our smoking breaks/cuz I am a chimney-man./I wouldn't have to wait long/she will be soon blowing smoke unto my face, through her lips that pucker at her stick, so to her I too will blow mine./ Since I really really am a loving, mistress-loving man.”

Continuing your visualization, think, as an elevator car opens at the ground floor, of yourself walking in, as soon its previous occupants all leave the steel box; formally, or as polite to the executive crowd as your upbringing in a former penal colony can make you, sing the next stanzas as the door closes:

“I'd give her big bonuses and perks by the dozen/
an office at the center of my floor./ A fine small team with business targets to achieve./She would have one local project only for herself,/And with some staff to give her orders to,/And one more for the region, just for show.”

“I’d give my chick big bonus and promotion, praise and tokens too/So my friends can see and smile/smiling just as discretely as they can/with each load cough, “ahem”, “hi there”, “chao”, “thanks”/would sound like music to my ear/ as if to say “There goes a macho man.”

As the elevator car leaves the ground and slowly rises to your floor, with matching feeling sing:

“If I had a mistress,/baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, ba/.All day long I'd baba, baba, ba./ If I were an able man.”

“I wouldn't have to work hard./ my baba will slave for me, do house chores, and wait for my reply./If I were a baba baba rich,/confident and wife-freeman.”

           ”I see my baba, my baba, feeling like a rich man's wife/With appropriate jealous streak./ Supervising staff to her heart's delight./I see her putting on airs and strutting like a peacock./ boy, what a happy mood she's in./screaming at the super, day and night.”

          ”The most important men in town would come to fawn on me!/ They would ask me to advise them,/ Like a Solomon the Wise./'If you please, Sir CEO...’/’Pardon me, Sir CEO..’/Posing problems that would cross an executive’s senior eyes!/And it won't make one bit of difference if I answer right or wrong./When you're tops, they think you really know!”

As your floor nears, you must act as if you are remorseful for your having been occupied with too much office matters as to not have time for your mistress.  You continue to sing:

“If I had a mistress, I'd have a chick that I can fool/
that I am really ready to split with my legal wife and stray./And maybe take my seat at my table by the window sill./And I'd discuss her darn expenses at the flat,/several hours every day./That would be the sweetest thing of all.”

When the elevator door opens, walk casually to your office, and, nodding in recognition to those who say “good morning, sir”, sing:

“If I had a mistress,/baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, ba/.All day long I'd baba, baba, ba./ If I were an able man.”

Head for your company’s office, and, after swiping your ID at the door, and march to your room, and sing:

I do not want to be here./All I want is to smoke at the second floor,/ With my baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, baba, ba .”

Finally, addresss the Almighty again, as you did in the beginning, and in the most plaintive voice you could muster, cry:

“Lord who made London and Manila,/You decreed I should be a lusty man./Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?/If I shack up all day with this woman.”

Sit back, relax, only an agent of the NBI, if not the Immigration, is watching you.