My Own Theory of Devolution (Jessica Zafra)

You’ve heard of the theory of evolution; if you haven’t, there is a serious gap in your education. There was a major fuss when Darwin came out with it in the last century. In this century, even evolution remained controversial in a little town in America, a teacher was put on trial for mentioning it to his students. Apparently, their mommies and daddies were not pleased to hear that they were distantly related to the apes. Mercifully, the apes were unable to express their opinion.

But let’s not go into that. In fact, let’s talk about the exact opposite of evolution; that is, devolution. If evolving means moving up to a “higher” life form, devolving means deteriorating to a “lower” life form.

See, I have this theory about alcohol. The more you drink, the lower you go down the evolutionary ladder. When you start swigging the vodka for the poison of your choice, you’re recognizably human. A few shots later, the change begins.

Your vision blurs. The room appears to be shining. Slowly, at first, then you feel like you’re inside a blender with some oranges and ice. Your face feels lopsided, and you ask your drinking companions if one side of your face is larger than the other. And when you have to go to the bathroom, walking upright makes you nauseous. You sort of slouch over with your arms down to your knees and do an ape – like shuffle... and that’s when you’ve gone APE. Monkey. Simian. You’ve just rejoined our distant relative.

But you don’t stop drinking no no no. What, and be a spoilsport? You go on swilling the drink of depressed Russians, the stuff they imbibe because it takes a long to line up for Cakes. Soon, you can’t even stay on your feet anymore. Your legs turn into vestigial appendages (meaning they’re there. But you can’t use them). And if you have to travel to another part of the room, you crawl over. You slither on your hands and stomach. You even make a crashing noise that resembles hissing. Bingo. You’re in the REPTILE stage.

If you’re the talkative, hyperverbal sort, you will find that imbibing alcohol not only loosens your tongue, but charges it electrically. First there is a noticeable rise in the volume of your voice. Soon, you’ve got a built – in megaphone. Not only do you insult your friends in a voice that carries all the way to the next block, but you also reveal your darkest secrets to people you just met two hours ago. You stop talking, and you start speechifying. You get pompous. Eventually you stop making sense. A sure sign that you’ve developed to the POLITICIAN level, a stage closely related to reptiles, particularly crocodiles (buwaya). It is here that you are at your most obnoxious.

Fortunately, the politician stage passes, although the duration varies from person to person. Some verbose types can go on for hours, in which case it is necessary to force – feed them some bucks through food old honest blackmail.

You keep on drinking, and the alcohol content of your blood continues to rise. Your brains are getting pickled. If you should insist upon driving yourself home, you will make things really easy for the mortuary people. They wouldn’t have to embalm you anymore, they can just stick you in a jar and put you under bright lights for your grieving relatives. You can’t even crawl anymore, so in your warped state of mind, you attempt to swim on the floor. This is either the Sammy the Sperm phase in which you regress to the time you were racing several thousand other sperm cells to reach that egg, or the FISH phase, fish being lower down the food chain.

Soon your body refuses to take any more pickling, and goes to sleep on you. You pass out on whatever surface you happen to be on. Hopefully, you land on a surface that is not conducive to pneumonia. (This is why you must make sure friends are present when you drink. If you get smashed, you can be reasonably sure they won’t leave you on the street to get run over by a truck). When you’ve lost consciousness, you’ve gone as far down the evolutionary ladder as you can. You’re not even a living organism anymore, you’re a ROCK.

The next morning the process of evolution starts up again. You wake up, and you ask, “How did I get here? Where am I? What’s your name?” Your mouth tastes like toxic waste, battery acid, or something you forgot to put in the refrigerator that developed green spots. Your head is being bludgeoned at regular intervals with an invisible bag of shot.

You mouth vile things – You’re a politician. You crawl toward the bathroom – you’re a reptile. You stand on your legs to reach the sink – you’re a monkey. You throw up, and between heaves, you swear never to touch the Vodka from Hell again. You’re making resolutions you know you won’t keep. Congratulations. You’re human again.

Aguila, Augusto Antonio A., Joyce L. Arriola and John Jack Wigley. Philippine Literatures: Texts, Themes, Approaches. Espana, Manila: Univesity of Santo Tomas Publishing House. Print.