Once a upon a time in a Third World country, in an unnamed coffee shop famous for its cheesecake, an acquaintance insisted that my friend and I watch “Wicked,” the musical. My friend and I mutually said that the ticket was too expensive and we would rather save our money for emergencies. With ample amount of snobbery and condescension, the acquaintance accused my friend and me of being cheap and added that we did not have any smudge of culture under our skin. The three of us laughed. A few minutes later, our acquaintance excused himself to go to the bathroom. In his absence, my friend and I looked at each other. Without uttering a word, we immediately proceeded to spit into our acquaintance’s freshly brewed Americano. Then my friend picked his nose to get just enough amount of nasal mucous, placed it on top of our acquaintance’s strawberry amaretto cheesecake. My friend then skillfully covered the mucous with cream from the cheesecake. The concealment was flawless that the cheesecake appeared unaltered.
When our acquaintance returned from the loo, he drank his coffee and devoured his strawberry amaretto cheesecake with refined gusto. My friend and I behaved as if we had not done anything at all. As our acquaintance continued to sip his coffee and consumed his dessert, we asked him to retell the story of “Wicked,” in as much detail as possible along with his commentary on the beauty and brilliance of the stage production, and of course, the Filipino celebrities that he spotted in the theater.
Obviously, this whole anecdote is fictional. Most of my friends have not seen “Wicked,” and I have not seen a few of my friends who have already seen the musical play prior to this article. I am just jesting. It is just my sardonic humor and wicked imagination running wild.
This whole story is inspired by a friend’s comment. He said,
“I used to cry and be affected by people who abuse me at work and some people I meet on a daily basis. Then I realized that their actions towards me are not personal. These people are just wicked. I just happen to be in their vicinity. I will not waste my tears and invest so much emotion on them. They have no power to upset me. All I need to do is ignore them or, if I have enough power, stop them. I am not wicked like them.”
However, not all people who behave despicably are genuinely wicked. Some people are just “Wicked-Witch-of-the West-Elphaba-wicked,” meaning they spit out wicked words, do simple wicked things, have wicked vices like smoking and drinking, and sometimes look wickedly stylish or wickedly uncouth. However, underneath these unsavory layers, they are innately good. They are just pissed, disillusioned or frustrated. Still, when push comes to shove, they will take the high road; save children from harm and choose honesty above conceit. They will protect the environment and join anti-corruption campaigns, perhaps secretly. They will gladly take the fall for the common good. They will voluntarily play the “bad guy” role. They will also be the last people to entertain revenge and simply hide their transcendence under the veil of indifference.
Still, it is important to know one’s true wickedness. As the saying goes, the solution starts once you admit the problem, and yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are all wicked. Don’t you deny it. The question is “how wicked are you?”
Basically, you do not need to know much to decipher your true wickedness; you just need to clarify your position on these three areas: revenge, pleasure and deception.
REVENGE AND PLEASURE
A true wicked person is willing to brew his revenge for a long time, even an entire lifetime, up to his deathbed if necessary. He does not execute his revenge quickly because he knows the potency will be less. As they say, the best revenge is not only served cold, but they are served when you least expect it, when enough time has passed that the receiver of the revenge has already forgotten that Damocles’ dagger still hangs above him. Most importantly, the executer of the revenge will attempt to be close to you. Yes, he will not be lurking behind an ominous-looking tree, he will be right beside you: your friend, your spouse, your parents, your child, your god. Wicked indeed. Even far worse, a true wicked person will not be satisfied with just you; he will include people you love. For a wicked person, innocence is just an inconvenient word that can be easily tossed aside. Lastly, a wicked person will wager everything on the table, even his life, his wealth, his precious time and his happiness. After all, like Satan, it is not the days and years in between nor the price tag. It is the final execution of revenge that matters. A true wicked person knows that he will be defeated in the end, so his pleasure is in the waiting and the final act. The last laugh is not his priority because he knows that there is no such thing as a “last laugh.”
A true wicked person takes pleasure in seeing the world burns. He does wicked things not because he wants to be rich or famous. An evil wealthy and popular person can always find redemption later on, conveniently at the eleventh hour. Greedy people might have only become greedy because they suffered from extreme poverty. They fear poverty above all else. A bitch may only be bitchy as a defense mechanism. However, a wicked person is wicked because it fuels his existence. Wickedness is his raison d'être. It is the pleasure of executing the act not the result or the rewards. It is like Heath Ledger’s Joker in “Batman Returns.” You should not try to change him; you just have to stop him; even so, he wins because every time he does wicked deeds, he feels pleasure and so he succeeds even as he fails.
Lastly, a true wicked person will actively propagate deception on a larger scale. To put it simply, a colleague of yours have the wrong information about a subject matter and he is about to give a presentation, but you know that he got a piece of crucial information wrong, and you know how to correct it. His inaccurate information will ruin his career. If you correct your colleague, you will save his job. However, if you are truly wicked, you will not only refuse to help him (secretly of course), but you will invite more people in the presentation so that more people will witness his fall from grace. The wicked part is you will comfort him knowing full well that you help execute his demise.
A true wicked person has the talent of a highly skilled spin-doctor. He can philosophically argue deceits disguised as truth. Just take false religions as examples. For all we know, our religion may actually have been built on lies, and the creator of these lies let us propagate the lie generations after generations while he laughs way beyond the grave.
If you have these qualities, then you are truly wicked. If not, breathe a sigh of relief, you are just Elphaba wicked. Wickedness has not sunk into your core.
As for my friend and me, the jury is still out. Just kidding.