The Status Symbol

The Status Symbol

By Apolinario Villalobos

To be a standout is nice. It makes people see you, as being head and shoulders above those around you. Some people are born with this mark, while others have to buy it, earn it honestly, or move heaven and earth to have it.

People who are born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouth need not exert effort to be noticed or to have a swarm of friends around them. Their person glitters with the monetary symbol that attracts different kinds of friends. There are people who practically work their way up the ladder of the society to be recognized, and these are the ones who deserve emulation. There are people who try their best to amass wealth that they can use in buying attention that will put them on a pedestal of short-lived recognition.

Here is a story of a woman who was not satisfied with her hard-earned money despite the comfort that it has given her. She wanted more, as she was raring to get back at those who talked behind her back when she was still a struggling vendor of local sausage and ham. Finally, her patience paid off when she successfully opened six specialty stores that sold sausages and ham from Cebu and Ilocos, as well as, exotic fruits from Davao.

At the age of fifty plus, she began dressing up grossly with expensive apparels and regularly went to a derma clinic for a series of physical make-over. She underwent bust and butt augmentations which did not look nice on her because of her age. She had gotten rid of her real eyebrows in favor of tattooed ones. She had her lips operated on to assume a pouting look. She even had her wrinkled and furrowed face injected with butox. She also underwent the grueling hair transplant. She did everything for her transformation to look beautiful and successful, so that she can effectively flaunt her new status in life, especially, to those whom she considered her detractors in the past.

Today, at the age of almost seventy, her face looks strange. Her tattooed eyebrows somewhat distanced themselves from her eyes, giving her a permanent astonished look; her once butox-smoothed face is pockmarked with red spots and the deep wrinkles are back; her once proud breasts are horribly sagged unevenly; she could not sit for a long time because of the pain in her butt that got peppered with allergies; her once proud pouting lips have assumed a slight grimace, that looks like a crooked smile. The only intact transplant in her, are the hair.

Sadly, she is back to her senses with much regret, as her young boyfriend ran off with her money when she shared her bank accounts with him. She was my former landlady more than two decades ago. I learned from a fellow boarder who I met accidentally about her mild stroke from which she was recuperating in a hospital. I immediately visited her several days ago in the hospital and found out that only one, out of her four children is left with her. The rest are with their father, living separately from her, and who are still harboring ill-feelings when they failed to restrain her revengeful acts of getting back at her detractors that resulted to her senseless spending to “overhaul” her body. That time, she socialized with new-found friends whose pastime was spent at the casino and bars where she met her young boyfriend.

I told her to believe in the power of prayer…and believe in miracles. In my mind, though, I am hoping for a miracle that she will be spared from cancer that may result from the synthetic substances injected into her body. The lesson here, is that we should be contented with God gave us.


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