“UNCLE O, what’s a ‘protocol?’” my nephew, Pannon asked.
I replied: “It’s not a ‘what’ but a ‘who,’ Pannon. Like, ‘Did my friend Proto call today?’ That’s who.”
My Aunt Tita Blitte chortled, but chided me just the same. “Don’t tease the boy. He really wants to know.”
Uncle Gustave butted in. “I’m the man, Blitte. Remember, I studied foreign languages in my youth.”
My aunt laughed. “Yes, at the Merriam-Webster school.”
I used my Cheshire Cat smile. “Auntie, don’t tease him. He really wants to help.”
Dictionary-wise, protocol comes from the Middle French prothocole, from Medieval Latin protocollum, from Late Greek protokollon, the first sheet of a papyrus roll bearing data of manufacture, from Greek protos, first, plus kollan (to glue together) from kolla or glue.
“Glue together as in a sandwich? I want to eat a protocol,” Pannon chimed in.
Uncle Gustave said: “We might have a Greek link, here, Pannon. Kolla sounds like the original Cebuano word for paste or glue: Kula. And by Jove, let’s protocol our sliced bread now, Pannon.”
With Auntie’s help, Uncle made the kula: Chicken salad with boiled egg mashed into it, and spread on toasted bread.
Peetong, cousin Dona’s husband, said: “This ‘data of manufacture’ is good. Let’s make a hotdog protocol without ketchup.”
Dona shook her head. “That’s breaking protocol, Peets. You gotta have some kula such as ketchup or mayo.” Peetong nodded. “I get it. My protocol hotdog will have cheese spread kula.”
Polonggoy, my nephew, told Peetong, “Dad, your protocol is old hat. Try my New Age Kula: Mayo mixed with crispy bacon bits. Top that with ham or hotdog.”
Pannon made a classic protocol snack: Bread and butter with sugar.
Indeed, good kula makes protocol tasty.