Stickman Readers' Submissions April 4th, 2005

The Serpent And The Apple Part 3

The Serpent And The Apple #3

Thailand. An option. To resurrect what it was to have an open mind, to find expectations and limits surreal, incomprehensible. Love in Thailand. To wrestle playfully with danger and to concentrate hard relishing confidant sword play against boredom, winning
every time. A place to nod politely at fearful warnings only so as to not offend or make worse the misery of those completely ensconced in their apparatus of fear – like some ugly iron lung machinery.

“Virtuous Normality”. A life of excuses, duty, and acceptance. No smiles no screams no tears. A face like an alcoholic – that mixture of equal parts conjured arrogance and earthy fear that compete to hide low self esteem. An
acceptance of conditioned misery, where to laugh is to lie and where to weep no more than hints at distant earthy emotions that feel familiar and wonderful, but are beyond grasp, long forgotten. Guilt smothered because it makes loved ones happy,
you know you will always be fed, and that generally you’ll be able to buy gifts at Christmas time. There’s also, apparently, less chance that you will end up homeless, shuffling along from one refuse bin to the next seemingly oblivious
to the world and its standards….or better still, striding forcefully from one to the other, your face searching, screaming and snarling, acutely aware of every tiny detail that the world and its inhabitants offer, or indeed don’t offer,
your senses.

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Virtuous normal love. Overwhelming. Falling just short of regret while just edging out hatred. A moment of shared companionship, of distraction from the violent assault of life and memories of forsaken opportunities – an assault led by the
fear storm troopers: loneliness, poverty, and death, followed closely by the hopeless clowns of: paradox, fate & irony. A smoke-screen, a moment of mutual comfort that pushes a new, paper-thin scene across life’s raging furnace stage,
creating an instant of peace through mutual distraction. Sex without hunger – scentless dry and crumbling in your mouth.

“Virtuous Normality”. The fact that you spend every waking hour looking over the fence at those who made other choices, in a constant, sickening state of longing is not important. Fuck Bob! I fuckin’ hate M&Ms anyway!!
Its not quality now that matters, it’s the total and utter fear of the concept of a lack of quality in those latter years of life. After all, the exponent of “virtuous normality” can expect to live a long life, and when all
of your friends and family have died, each… one at a time, each with varying amounts of gut wrenching loneliness attached to your fearful, pea soup, desolate, hazed attendance at their funerals, and you find yourself all alone, it is here that
a life of virtuous normality will bare its fruit. This life of subservient, irrelevant, acceptance of consensus and democratic stupidity should allow you to reach this point relatively unscathed: physically & financially anyway.

Physically…well perhaps we may have jumped the gun a bit here…mmmm. You may find that in your perpetually boring quest to avoid heart disease and cancer you forget about strokes. With all that concentration on absolutely ensuring that you don’t
enjoy yourself, all that effort spent resisting the sweet nicotine of a cigar after dinner, or exercising till you can’t breath just so that the ageing process only continues at a mildly horrific pace and doesn’t turn you fat in
an instant of relaxed nonchalance, all that racing off to the doctor in a state of fearful denial with every spot that changes shape or colour, or all those Thai women you encountered where there was a hint of something sweet and wild in their
eyes or their smile, but you walked past totally, dogmatically, vehemently, passionately, hopelessly safe, did nothing to prevent the stroke you inherited from your dad. Remember! You can’t focus on all of the misery all of the time no
matter how hard you try….something will always get past!

Anyway, lets look on the bright side. Your Thailess life. Your life of abstinence and discipline, if you kept it up…if you stuck to your guns and didn’t cheat too often, if you were really miserable most of the time, saved you from heart disease
and a plethora of shocking cancers, leaving you with both halves of your body in near perfect health…. albeit speaking different languages.

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And financially? Well! There’s your pension! How else do you intend to pay for the inevitable nursing home within which you will finalise your years of nothingness, bound to a wheelchair so you don’t fall out, a spittle cup
around your neck to catch the dribble, a glazed painful look on your face as you ponder the incredible paradox between the beautiful, crystal sharp memories of a loved one long gone, a chunk of your soul ripped from your heart far too early, and
the annoyance of not being able to remember your own name.

So….Thailand it is then.

Stickman's thoughts:

That's another angle or two to consider.

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