Saturday, December 1, 2007

THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE SHIELD

The Way of the Shield

THEY BLINDFOLDED ME on that early Saturday morning of March.

They made me stand up, my body bent forward while my hands held in support of my crotch, or should I say my “balls”. I was almost at the halfway point of this rite of passage. Of laying claim to be a part of a brotherhood of men.

Omega Pelta Kappa. Omega Pelta Kappa. Omega...,” I trembled as I recited those three Greek-sounding words over and over again like a mantra expecting a sudden whack from a wooden paddle from behind me. I received, I mentally counted, twenty-four paddle strikes at the back of my now tender thighs. The last one had been unpleasant for it had been done in a deliberate and chopping manner instead of the flat piece of the paddle hitting you. And the two before that on my poor rump...

WHACK!” Came the twenty-fifth!

Arrgh!” I jumped up and down as an agonizing pain swept up through my body from my swollen thighs, sweat poring down on my forehead. I began to doubt my brazen determination and my patience wore thin. Now how did it came to be that I was made to be a part of this extra-curricular foolishness? This weird and cruel test? This demeaning and humiliating initiation?

Prologue

I remembered then about two months ago when I visited my girlfriend at her home and I noticed that she was not feeling well. Concerned with her condition, I offered to buy medications for her or, if need be, to accompany her to a doctor for a look-see. But she was adamant that there was nothing wrong with her.

Then at some point of our verbal see-saw she admitted that she just came from a sorority initiation. I saw bruises on her shoulders and arms and the marks of the paddle on the back of her legs. I was shocked! How could she do that? I was so stunned! It was she, of all people, who forbid me not to join a fraternity or else...

Wow! I got so envious of her. Believe me, she hurt my pride so bad back then that I felt myself to be just a miserable wimp incapable of protecting the woman of my affection. How could they do that to my girl? I will have my revenge (sic)!

The Crucible and the Acceptance

To be or not to be.” My thoughts debated if I should quit or not. To quit now meant I won't be able to savor that sweet smell of my own self-styled revenge and the pain won't go away if I suddenly halt abrupt this painful interlude. Besides, I will lose face. No, I have to go on. I have to go on and offer my behind to the divine dictum of the paddle wielder and face the consequences. I can stand the scoldings of my parents later, if they will know. Maybe I can stand the threat of a break up my girlfriend promised if I ever join a fraternity organization, if she will know. I have already burned my bridges behind. I cannot turn back now. Come hell or high water I have to continue this!

WHACK!” The fifty-seventh came as I have expected. The last ten paddles or so were now painless maybe because I know that the initiation is nearing its end or maybe because my legs were already so thick with the constant flogging and so severely numbed that the feeling of pain is now absent. Somebody removed my blindfold. Then I got my dues. Someone I knew shook my hand and called me “Brod” and so did the others. Then they sung the Peltan's Song. Everybody welcomed me as one new addition to their numbers. I cried that I passed my test of manhood. Elated, I forgot the pain. It was already dusk.

The Aftermath

I got home that night and nursed my swollen thighs. Reality came. It was hell removing the pair of jeans from my legs for my bloated skin adhered itself to the very grain of the thick fabric itself. I thought it looked like longaniza or a bloated sausage!

Monday morning came and it was the final examination day in my school. Still reeling from the bruises, the pains, the cramps, the aches and the who knows what from yesterday, I have to rise up from the comforts of my bed and it was pure torture when I stood up. My mind swam in dizziness and my eyes blinked as the pain swamped and shocked my very existence as I held on to my room's wall for balance. Then another torture came as I maneuvered my lumpy legs to fit inside a clean pair of jeans.

I walked slowly, slightly limping, and pain shot through me as I sat inside a PUJ. I let out an expletive under my breath as I tried to ease my legs from touching the seat. Reaching school, I went upstairs to take my exams at a room in the fourth floor! Hey, it was like carrying a cross to Calvary only my cross was my stubbornness. My willingness to accommodate pain in order to be a Peltan provided me those times of disquietude bereft of comfort. What a jerk I am.

Never again,” I said to myself.

Sure, you won't. Instead, you'll gonna be the one doing that thing to another, when you are fit.” My other conscience told me so.

it was all worth it.

Epilogue

I did some months later and it was already more than twenty-six years ago today. My parents never found out about my joining a fraternity. My girlfriend did found out about it and we broke up two months later. I am still a Peltan. In name only. I have been inactive for quite sometime.

But the Omega Pelta Kappa Fraternity and Sorority is still here and we just celebrated the 42nd Founding Anniversary last September 8, 2007 at D' Family Park in Nasipit, Talamban, Cebu City.

Peltans forever...!!!

This document is written in OpenOffice 2.1 Writer, Trebuchet MS, size 12.


2 comments:

Walt said...

Fraternity Paddle I have heard of a Apache initiation where the student jumps off a cliff! If he lives, he's a medicine man.
Could be true, you don't see many Apache medicine men.

Blogger said...

Did you know that you can shorten your urls with Shortest and receive money for every visit to your shortened links.