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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon


Thank You, Vrad

Reveille, Tattoo, Taps/Weekly, Weakly, Meekly, aka RTT/WWM, was an e-column I wrote and posted every week for a number of years, during the Internet's infancy. Its readership consisted basically of two mailgroups: the Academy Cavaliers Forum, ACF; and, Plebes and Cavaliers, PnC.

When I stopped writing it four or five years ago, I expected it to be missed.

So much spam has littered my email in-box since then. I have waited too long and long enough to realize that my expectation was, painfully, a case of wishful thinking on my part.

I had to admit that I was doomed not to write an e-column again since I had promised myself that everything depended on RTT/WWM being missed by its readers.

Last December, a few days before Christmas, however, there was a clamor for its revival.

Yes, Virginia, yes, Maryland, there is a Santa Claus!

It was a defeaning clamor.

Of course, anything can be defeaning, if you have the progressive hearing loss I've experienced since the merciless assault on my eardrums by the barrage of artillery shells that punctuated the hills of Laur, Nueva Ecija when, as yearlings, we visited Fort Magsaysay in the summer of 1961.

In case you have forgotten or never heard it before, or knew it only in reference to deer hunters or a helping of venison, a yearling is a cadet on his second year at PMA.

It was a clamor I could neither ignore nor resist. I was looking for a reason to resume writing an e-column, and here it was!

Yes, Virginia; yes, Maryland. There is a Santa Claus.

It came from Vrad; yes, a clamor of one. But it was good enough for me.

Thank you, Vrad.

I have known Vrad for a good 33 years. Okay, they weren't all that good; some days were bad. Days when he would outduel me, mano a mano. In rounds of beer or rounds of golf where bragging rights inevitably became the coveted prize.

I met Vrad in 1975 in Zamboanga at Southcom headquarters. A PMA graduate, Class of 1974, he was a 2nd lieutenant in the Philippine Army, commanding a company on the island of Jolo.

I offered him a bottle of beer at the Officers Club. He was too respectful to refuse succeeding offers.

He was Vladimir Punto then. Now, he goes by the name of Vrad, this native of New York, not in Pampanga, his place of birth, but in the great state of New York, his place of re-birth.

Vrad is the shorthand for his monicker, his signature in Internet circles: Vrad Pitt, Hubby of Angelina Jojie.

Jojie is Vrad's wife. Vrad is her hobby? I don't know. Ask Jojie.

Perhaps, second only to his love for Jojie is his love for witticisms; being a wordsmith as a hobby, second only to being a hubby of Jojie.

It was Vrad who wittingly coined for this e-column the title, Witful Thinking. It was no wishful thinking, or wasteful thinking, on his part, to believe that he had given me an offer I could not refuse.

I have accepted his offer, changing it just slightly to this – Witful Thinking, Wednesday.

Today is Wednesday, isn't it? And I will be seeing you again next Wednesday and every Wednesday thereafter.

Same time, same place.

@arf-arf 2009
manila, philippines