Sowing One’s Wild Oats


Habit – whether good or bad –  more often than not, sticks to a person like skin.

And a plentiful crop, habit will produce.

Ever came across the phrase, “sowing one’s wild oats?”  Yes? No?

To whine like a broken record, kindly allow Daily Laborer to tell what “sowing one’s wild oats literally imply: it simply means doing wild and foolish things in one’s youth, or, spend away their time in stupid or idle past time, or, indulge in irresponsible behavior, rebelliousness or promiscuity.  Dats dat.

Before, such attitude was particularly directed to young men. However, nowadays, it applies just as well to the young female generation.

Even during Biblical times, it was reckoned a man will sow wild oats when young, even if such act wasn’t accepted by customs, protocols and conventions of community. Such a presumption is true, even today, although it isn’t accepted, as well.

So, It’s assumed of a young may sow wild oats when young. But that paramount mischief is, a young man or woman who begins life with sowing wild oats may not sow a better kind in middle life and old age.

For sowing one’s wild oats might degenerate into criminal acts.

Tsk-tsk. This topic surfaced last Wednesday when Severino Nabus-i, 84, and Leoncio Agtarep, 87, invited Ah Kong to an afternoon tea in a rustic public dining place in La Trinidad, Benguet.

Severino (nicknamed Severn) and Leoncio (nicknamed Leon) engaged in farming before, but are now retired and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

What’s particular about the two gentlemen is both are uneducated, like Ah; they never had the opportunity to reach High School.

Despite such predicament, they got married, worked their backs to death, raised their children properly and succeeded in farming.

Most significant:  Severn, who sired seven children and, Leon, six children, sent them all to school who all graduated.  All are married happily and are employed.

All the children never had any scrape with the law, their records clean. Chips of the good old blocks of Severn and Leon, you might say. Despite being illiterate, they taught their children well and disciplined them justly.

That afternoon tea, the three got to yakking why young people get into crimes, vices, drugs, etc.

Conviction of the Severn and Leon? The two believe parents share “burden of irresponsibility” if they shut their eyes while their offspring sow wild oats. In a nutshell, the two believe some parents spoil their children, or in harsher terms, some parents are undisciplined to discipline.


Many a young man and a young woman has been totally ruined by an indulgent parent, who reasons out their child has a sprightly turn, as it’s called, likes a good frolic, plays a good game, and isn’t malicious in his/her vices.

In short, some parents vindicate their offspring by saying, “he/she is only sowing wild oats”; they therefore don’t restrain or put them to serious business.

It starts with the young making free with gaming (gambling) and the bottle (drinking), Severn and Leon tell Ah. At first, a young is moderate in pleasure, doesn’t get drunk, doesn’t start a quarrel. After sowing wild oats, a year, two or more, they love it better than ever. They gamble deeper, drink more as their heads bear it better. They stay out late at night.

At length, they know no bounds. They get drunk, overturn tables and chairs, beg for a fight, commit crimes, etc.

This is sport, fun up to the eyes of the young. And if any poor fellow interferes, he bears the brunt of their rage.

Sowing wild oats can border on criminal intent and nefarious mind.

Hearing the two explain about sowing wild oats, Ah remembered an incident that happened to him many years ago.  A young man held a gun at Ah and said, “Agpili ka, paltogak dayta ulom wenno itted mo dayta pitakam?”

Ah, who had had nothing in his head nor anything in his wallet that time, said to the young holding a gun, “Maka ammu ka …basta ti maibagak, agpada ti ulok ken pitakak nga awan ti karga na.”

It was also during that long ago when Ah met the same young guy some time later again, still with a gun.

Ah complained, saying to the hold-up guy, “Sika manen, maika-duwa daytoy nga hold-uppenek, ah! Apay dika maasyan kenyak?”

The young hold-up guy answered Ah, saying, “Sir, kasta nga talaga ti business. Dapat alagaan tayo dagidiay good customers.”

In short, the young who’s doing all the troubles are sowing wild oats.

Severn and Leon who have eaten more rice and have more experience than Ah will ever have, say in their lifetimes, they came across parents who insist on this logic: “But what then? Must our young never have a frolic, a scrape, a riot? What a poor pitiful person they are that they must always keep sober and stay at home or sit simpering and whimpering?”

Severn and Leon, hold a view that the young who are accustomed to sowing wild oats are brash (nalastog) and with a loose tongue, related an incident a long time ago when both went to a barbershop for haircut.

At the barbershop, they overheard this brash young guy asking the barber if he ever shaved a monkey.

The barber, wise in years, can speak English well, looked up and down at the brash young man and simply retorted, “Saan pay Sir, but if you take the barber’s seat, I’ll try to shave the first monkey in my life.” The barber’s answer shut off the mouth of the brash young man.

To a young who sows wild oats, they are masters of such business. Aah! A habit is then formed.

Habit like lying? Ah asked the two. Yes, they chorused, forcing Ah to remember a time a father (Ah’s acquaintance) who purchased a robot that will slap anybody it hears lying, and brought it home.

When his young son came home, the father asked, “Napan ka nag-eskwela?”

Son: “Wen, Ama.” The lie detector slapped the boy.

Son: “Sorry, Ama, saanak nag-eskwela. Napanak nagbuya  ti sine a porn.”

Father: Nag-awan bain mo! Ammom kadi nga idi agtawennak a kasla kenka ket awan pulos ammok dita a sine a porn!” The robot slapped the tatay.

The mother, nearby, hearing them, snickered, “Ha-ha-ha-ha! Pareho kayo nga ag-ama nga aglaslastog!”  The robot slapped the mother.

Ah also remembers a time he overheard of a young man in the course of his lying through the cell phone. Happened this way:

Conching: Hello?

Young man:   Hello, who you?

Conching: I am Sweetie Pie, can we be friends?

Young man: Op kors, why not, friends met la gayam.

Conching: Thanks, by the way, adda girlfriend mon?

Young man: Awan, bachelor nak and very much available. It has been many years since my girlfriend, Conching left me. But by the way, kasanu naalam ti cell number ko?

Conching:   Hoy, Salbag ka ketdi a tao! Ni baket mo a Conchiing daytoy. Baro cell number ko ta nagsukat ti cell card. Sannamabits! Many years kano. . . pa englis-englis ka pay. Pingasak dayta dilam nu agawid ka. Kitaem!

O habit, thou sticks to a person like a shadow, or a guilty conscience.

But then, aren’t those reformed, after sowing wild oats, make the best individuals? Ah countered at Severn and Leon.

“It may be so, such those you call as reformed are as rare as camels or lions in the Philippines. Just look at the drug users and addicts, they get arrested, released and go back to their habits,” Severn shot back.

Ah, still playing the devil’s advocate insisted, saying, “But to be old and wise, one must first be young and stupid, eh?”

Any who has indulged freely in sowing wild oats when young, generally sows them all his days. Young folks have follies they must get rid of. True, but in getting rid of such follies, we must look to them well that they do not acquire Vices. This we must look after, the two gentlemen explained.

Severn and Leon consoles with those   spoiling the young and allowing them to sow wild oats, saying “enjoy your misery and rebellious offspring.”