Same Difference


My father’s last job was as a security guard on the set of The Practice, a popular TV series on ABC. He had previously worked in the Navy, the Army and the Customs, and he approached this job with the same zeal as he had approached all the others. Never late for work, never called in sick. Always dotted his i’s and crossed his t’s. Such was the work ethic of this humble man. This pride in his work spilled over to his personal life as well. He took pride in his family, and that included his last name. So when the new guy at work kept misspelling his name, he corrected him.

“My name has two B’s, no D’s,” he said. “So it’s Balberan, not Balderan.”

The new guy stared my dad in the eye and said, “Balberan, Balderan. Same difference to me.” Then this guy, who was white, muttered under his breath, “Filipino, Chinese, Japs, you all look the same to me, just like those other people are all Mexicans to me, whether they come from Mexico or not.”

Then he turned around and walked away.

The next day, the same guy came back to relieve my dad. On their change-of-shift report, they had to write down the name of the person they were giving report to. My dad wrote it down and was getting ready to leave when the guy called out to him.

“Hey, you misspelled my name. It’s spelled with an I, not a U. It’s Dillard, not Dullard.”

Now my dad was a voracious reader with an extensive vocabulary, and he knew exactly what a dullard was. To those who don’t know, a dullard is a dull, boring person, someone who’s a little on the slow side, if you know what I mean. It was certainly no accident that my dad spelled the guy’s name that way. (I still remember my dad chuckling as he told me this story.)

“Dillard, Dullard. Same difference to me!” was my dad’s flippant response. Then he turned around and walked away.

My dad was a man of few words, but when he needed to get a point across, he got the job done. That day, the new guy learned a thing or two about giving respect, and getting it back. Needless to say, Dullard, er, Dillard, never made the mistake of misspelling my dad’s name ever again.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Charina
    Dec 15, 2013 @ 07:02:31

    Another well written literary work Achie 👍👏👌👍👏👌


  2. mari anjeli
    Dec 15, 2013 @ 20:20:13

    So nice to hear stories bout granpa! ^_^


  3. achi joy
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 06:46:24

    Mom said, kahinumdum pa jud diay kuno ka, Tot. And naa say naliwat diri kusog kaayo mangorek og mispronounciation or naay makuwang sa imo isulti, like dili sinus, sinusitis, dili high blood, high blood pressure, dii tarkey, turkey!


  4. "HE WHO"
    Dec 21, 2013 @ 10:24:07

    You dad is a smart man. Good on him!


    • emmblu
      Dec 30, 2013 @ 18:12:35

      HeWho, Anjeli and Achi Joy and everyone else, thank you all reading my post and taking the time to comment. Indeed, some of us are lucky to have known real men and real heroes in our lives, and we should celebrate them every which way we can. This is one way I do it.


  5. Greg Balberan
    Mar 15, 2019 @ 14:51:15

    So, it’s just like the same…liwat ang writer. Good job, auntie Ima!


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