Immediately thereafter, my fingers flew on the keypad, texting the team the good news. I texted Charina Sanz-Zarate who labored months over Mac's book project for the Research and Publications Office of the ADDU before she moved on to the LGSP. I texted Carol who edited the book. I texted Shaun Bonje who did the layout and who battled bleary-eyed with me at Tesoro's terminal banks to encode the proof before they finally put the book to press.

The publisher has yet to pay me for proofing Macario D. Tiu's Davao: Reconstructing History from Text and Memory, a novel take on how to write history when the documentary evidence aren't all in.  No, Mac would be the last to claim the influence of postmodernism. What he does is what I sometimes call taking literary license. Mac takes the ribbing like a man. With a quiet laugh, he challenges me to write a convincing counter-argument instead.

Oh Lord, I am not worthy. No contest really. The constructivist approach holds a lot of meaning for me. Constructing logical schemata is what I'd do under similar circumstances, too. My agreement notwithstanding, it really is hilarious the way Mac likens theoretical framing to putting items on a shelf until you got everything in proper order. It's like if it's not a right angle, it's a wrong angle.

I don't mind anymore not getting paid my professional fee because now I can go around saying I proofed the book that got the 2006 National Book Award and maybe, just maybe, my labor got Mac the edge that spelled his victory! Hey, world, I proofed the book that got the 2006 National Book Award!! And I actually proofed it for free!!! Like, I knew this was gonna happen. Haha.

Oh, Mac does us proud. It's been five years that I've worked with him on the university journal, and as I leave Tambara this year, I only have good things to say about my editor who became my friend. Mac embodies for me a dictum in the kind of psychology I practice: "Healthy people lead quiet lives."

Read that text message again. See how it gives just the bare facts. No frills, no nothing. The word warrior always goes for conclusive, verifiable substance. The rest could well end up in the Bankerohan River for all he cares. And that's what makes him big to my eyes.

All night long that night, I got people texting to ask for his cell number. Mac lost his cell phone three weeks ago. He went to the National Book Awards without giving out his new number to his friends. I guess it totally slipped his mind that people would want to congratulate him. Now he owes me for the cost of the business cards I had to send out that night.

I'm thinking of Mac as I write this. Well, obviously, huh? Actually, I'm thinking about his travel plans — how he wanted to see Mayon Volcano on the way back from the awards gala. It is so typical of him to celebrate his triumph by paying homage to majesty. It's a lesson in putting things in perspective that I find worth appreciating.

God bless you, Mac. May your pen never run dry.

(Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan's column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments togail.ilagan@gmail.com. "Send at the risk of a reply," she says.)