Readers' Submissions

Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 135

  • Written by Dana
  • May 27th, 2006
  • 16 min read


OPEN LETTER PROLOGUE

Tear it to pieces
Then do it again.
Make yourself happy
Rend and rend.

Little pieces
And then smaller still–
Little little pieces;
Go at it with a will.

Grimace and tear–
It's ok with me.
You're so so pretty
But you just don't see.

In one piece
Or many;
It's all the same.
It's my heart honey–
My only game.

Every cell's connected
To every mate.
You just can't hurt me–
You're too late.

Others came before you–
The damage is done.
Be proud to be Thai–
Where words are like a gun.

I believed every sigh–
I believed every one.
I believed every woman–
I believed in the fun.

Then I found out
I was nothing but wheat.
The women were scythes–
I fell at their feet.

But it wasn't all loss–
I still have a heart.
Whole or in pieces
It's still of me a part.

A heart that lets me
Remember and cry.
A heart that reminds me
Why I want to die.

I gave you my heart
And got back pieces.
But it's ok my tart–
Life's nothing but short term leases.

I'm cryin' now
In the form of song.
Feeling better–
Singing loud and long.

Like a lone cold wolf
Baying at the moon–
I'm recovering slowly;
And maybe soon–

I'll meet another nice woman.


EXPAT FOR THE AGES

Some men know where they are supposed to be–most men don't. Some men are where they are supposed to be–most men aren't. Some men have been where they were supposed to be–most men have not. Nothing in one's life exceeds the happy serendipity of being in the right place at the right time for the right reason and being the right person.

Examples:

480BC–Thermopaleae: Three hundred Spartans and five thousand Persians. But the Spartans are the right men at the right time and at the right place for the right reasons. They hold off the Persians long enough for the home country to catch a second breath.

1795–'Napolean Bonaparte, charged with protecting the Directory, discharges cannon into the crowd.' Ok, he had to mow down some French citizens; but heh, it was a real career starter. Right place, right time, right person–when there is killing to be done get a killer.

1805–Nelson at Trafalgar uses the column instead of the line to decimate the enemy's ships and change history. Of course he was shipped home in a barrel of brandy but he was still the right man at the right time.

1861–Abraham Lincoln is elected President of the United States and presides over civil war. Unhappy times and imperfect results but the right man at the right time. No one since has made another suggestion. Right man–right time.

1945–The Soviet Union enters Berlin. A western ally that lost 20,000,000 men in the crucible of World War II and received scant recognition for it because of the subsequent Cold War. Right men at the right time. If you were a Berliner at the end of the war and you saw a Russian soldier coming you knew that he was the right man at the right time and in the right place for the right reason and you were not any of those things. Best to just lay down and take it in the neck. Nothing roles forward more inexorably than history and nothing trumps serendipity. The war in Europe ends.

1953–A New Zealand beekeeper named Edmund Hillary stands atop Mount Everest for the first time. Impossible in retrospect to imagine a more fitting and historically happy person to have made the final plod.

1969–Astronaut Neil Armstrong steps foot on the moon for the first time. Historically a footnote now but the history maker is still alive and still lending dignity to the event by being the right man at the right time in the right place and for the right reasons. It has been almost forty years and no other name has been suggested for the pages of history.

Some men are so intrinsically and beyond debate chromosomally and personality suited for some things that history cries out for them to assume their rightful crown. So who should be the ultimate expat? Who by appearance and expostulation deserves the appellation Expat For The Ages? Who should receive the Thai expat crown? My vote is for the singer Joe Cocker. To wit:

UNCHAIN MY HEART (B.Sharp/T.Powell)–sung by Joe Cocker

Unchain my heart
Baby let me be
'Cause you don't care
Let me
Set me free

Unchain my heart
Baby let me go
Unchain my heart
'Cause you don't love me no more

Every time I call you on the phone
Some fella tells me that you're not at home
Unchain my heart
Set me free

Unchain my heart
Baby let me be
Unchain my heart
'Cause you don't care about me
You've got me sowed up like a mellow case
But you let my love go to waste
Unchain my heart
Set me free

I'm under your spell
Like a man in a trance baby
Oh but you're no doubt aware
That I don't stand a chance

Unchain my heart
Let me me go my way
Unchain my heart
You are in me night and day

Why leave me to a life of misery
When you don't care about the beans for me
Unchain my heart oh please
Set me free
Alright
I'm under your spell
Just like a man in a trance oh baby
But you're no doubt aware
That I don't stand a chance
Please unchain my heart
Let me go my way
Unchain my heart
You are in my night and day

Why leave me to a life of misery
When you don't care about the beans for me
Unchain my heart
Please set me free
Oh set me free
Oh woman why don't you do that for me
You don't care
Won't you let me go
That you don't love me no more
Like a man in a trance
let me go
I'm under your spell
Like a man in a trance
And you're no doubt aware
That I don't stand a chance no
Oh
You don't care
Please set me free

Joe Cocker singing with the tortured lyrics and broken heart and stroke presaging sweat and jerky movements of the love deranged gets my vote for the Expat For The Ages award. He never established a presence in Thailand but if he had he would have known that he had found his Mount Everest. Right man at the right time and in the right place for the right reason. Joe Cocker in Thailand. Joe Cocker in the red light districts of Thailand. Joe Cocker singing in an open air bar on Walking Street.

It takes a lot to stop the Bataan Death March tourist shuffle of the slightly bored crowds on Walking Street as they cruise up and down looking for happiness they won't find. They are not really sex tourists but more of the migrating unimaginative wretches of humanity wondering when the 'fun' will be over and they can go back to their hotel rooms and watch TV. But Joe Cocker singing expat laments in an open bar on Walking Street would bring the crowds and the people and the hearts and the street to a stop. Listening to the music and seeing the tortured figure expostulating every expat's lament would reach inside their brains and put a choke hold on their neurons.

The only thing more exciting than yelling

"Jump Jump Jump"

is yelling

"Sing Sing Sing".

Sing Joe and let me listen.
Sing Joe and let me sigh
Sing Joe and my-oh-my;
Sing Joe and let me cry.

Men are the equal of anybody and the equal of any woman but we do not hear from expat men in the Kingdom. Sing Joe. Sing for me and my lost dreams and my broken heart and my need for love.

EXPAT STREET THEATRE–Performed by the DanaTime Players

Me: Honey Bunny?
Woman: Yes, my snookums.

Me: Could you review for me again why women are so superior to men?
Woman: Oh, snookums there are so many reasons and your brain is too simple and undeveloped to understand them all.

Me: Really?
Woman: Yes, me pet; you just have to accept the fact that we are not equal.

Me: Well, actually I have been hearing this crap for the last 40 years so I believe I am pretty knowledgeable about all the ways that women are superior to men. In fact it is about all I have heard from women for forty years. But most of the reasons that women are superior to men are secondary to the fact that women can make babies and give birth and men can not make babies and give birth. Would you agree with that?
Woman: Yes.

Me: Ok, help me out here since my man brain is so primitive. Rats and snakes make babies and give birth and retarded women and women in comas make babies and give birth.
Woman: What are you getting at?

Me: Well, I am just asking for help. Are you honestly expecting any man to crawl on his belly like a reptile before a woman just because she can imitate rats and snakes and celebrate her 'difference' even if retarded or in a coma?
Woman: I don't think I like your attitude.

Me: I've got an idea. Why don't you take your superior intelligence in the kitchen and rearrange the spice rack while I continue to read this article on Newtonian and Einsteinian and Quantum physics. Maybe somewhere in this article or buried in the footnotes I will learn why men get their hearts broken by trash like you.
Thai Woman: Up to you. But we are still not equal.

Me: You are right.

CURTAIN CLOSES–Applause from the expats-stonefaces from the Chinese.

I'll be emigrating to the Kingdom soon. I have friends setting me up with housing and utilities and computers and phone. My stuff has already been taken over trip by trip and my condo is rented out on Beacon Hill. A few more trips to the bank and the financial planner and then it will be the cab ride to Logan airport and fly baby fly. That big bird is going to take off even if I have to pull it off the runway myself.

Fly baby fly–
Take me to my Pattaya home.
Fly baby fly–
I'll never more roam.

Goodbye United States–
It wasn't that great.
Hello Pattaya–
I know I'm not too late.

I'm older and slower
With tired feet.
But I've still got a yend–
For Walking Street.

Fly baby fly–
Leap into the air.
Take me to Thailand;
My love I declare.

Fly baby fly–
Take me to Fa.
Fly baby fly–
She's my Ooh La La.

Fly baby fly–
Take me to Daow.
Fly baby fly–
Fly baby and now.

Fly baby fly–
Goodbye America.
Fly baby fly–
Hello Thai 'ka'.

Once I get to the land of palms and smiles and spice I am going to start an open air bar on Walking Street. I'll rob freelancers from Tony's and from Lucifer's and have dancing girls in the street. Fa will be the mamasan and Daow will be in charge of the waitresses. I've got an expat friend who will run interference with the vendors and another expat friend who will help me with 'special situations' regarding Thais who wear uniforms. Sure. Easy. All figured out. I'll run it like the Pentagon and chase every baht. We'll have lots of fun and laugh a lot; but it will all be a loss leader in terms of energy for the real event. The defining moment and archstone event every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night–the Dana's Delight bar signature brand and ultimate nighttime venue experience:

–JOE COCKER NIGHT–

That's right ladies and gentlemen, expats and newbies, farangs and farangs (no Thais allowed): Joe Cocker night–Friday and Saturday and Sunday. A show of emotional expat lament and broken heart lyrics that will stop people in the street cold. We'll have Joe Cocker look-a-like contests, and Joe Cocker flying sweat contests, and Joe Cocker karaoke contests, and when everyone is good and loaded will have the waitresses go up to the mike one by one and try and say Joe Cocker–charming and hysterical. And some nights we'll have the man himself flown in at the bar's expense.

Joe Cocker–short stocky body, Celtic face, bad teeth, rheumy eyes, big farang nostrils. Joe Cocker–an Englishman. Englishmen–genes from the Scots and the Irish and the Welsh and all of the Norse tribes: the Danes and the Norwegians and the Swedes and the Finns. Genes for big tall strong people but too much mixing yields mutts. Englishmen–mutts. Down turned mouth and receding hair and overweight–expat mutt. Joe Cocker–Expat For The Ages. By face and body he could have been a Midlands farmer, or a London taxi driver, or a lifetime town councilor. But Joe was put on earth to cry and to lament and to sing. Joe was put on earth to stand in for men. Our lone wolf crying at the moon. Our fast friend making sure we are not forgotten too soon.

Joe Cocker look-a-like contests, and flying sweat contests, and lip-synching contests, and karaoke contests? Sure–no ploblum. But the real deal will be the lyrics and the expostulation of man. Mankind. People who have value who just happen to have male genitalia. The forgotten ones. The left behinds. The politically incorrect because we do not want to spend our time rearranging bath towels and talking to mother and cold creaming our legs. Men. Men with hearts. Men without love or hope because they have been to bottom of the well. Men who live in Thailand. Men who understand that song titles are hints and clues and keys to someone's heart and mind and soul:

DON'T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME
and
CRY ME A RIVER
and
DON'T YOU LOVE ME ANYMORE?
and
HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME
and
I WILL LIVE FOR YOU
and
WHEN A WOMAN CRIES

And what a cryin' shame that Joe couldn't be everywhere in our visitor and expat lives in Thailand; setting the right tone and making sure we are not alone . . . .

Joe on the tarmac when we arrive singing–"Unchain my heart/ Set me free".

Joe standing behind the checkin desk register clerks at the Nana Hotel singing–"I'm under your spell/Like a man in a trance".

And finally, Joe handing out CD's to fellow farang all over the Kingdom with the lines–"Every time I call you on the phone/Some fella tells me that you're not at home".

Who would I like to be? I'd like to be Joe Cocker in the flesh and in Thailand representing every man and sending out male lament to the furthest reaches of the universe.

Sing Joe . . .

Sing for me
And sing for you.
These are expat times–
It's ok to be blue.

Let it come out.
Open your heart.
We all love you–
Let the cryin' start.

It's hard to be a man.
It hurts to lose.
Every woman–
Makes us choose.

Dignity or love;
It all ends in pain.
A woman's choice–
Always their game.

Sing for us Joe.
The expat criers–
Sing for us;
Lead us in choir.

We need a leader.
A hero to follow.
Sing for us–
The expat hollow.

Anyway, as I mentioned before: the bar will be known as Dana's Delight. It will be a refuge and a womb, a place of respite, a place of homage, and a temple to lives lived too soon. Springy wooden floors for tired knees and feet, genuinely cold glasses and ice for those who like their drinks neat, and squeaking armchairs with cushions for the just plain tired and beat. Come on down any Friday or Saturday or Sunday night for Joe Cocker night. Show starts at eleven.

And on special occasions when the man himself is in town that is when I will leave my high legged directors chair overlooking the cash register and walk to the stage (still looking out of the back of my head at the cash register); take the mike stand by hand and shout–

"And now ladies and gentleman of the Dana's Delight bar here in Pattaya, Thailand it is my pleasure to introduce a man who needs no introduction outside of Thailand but a man who deserves an introduction inside of Thailand because of his distinct moniker. A man who it is my duty to nominate and accredit and introducicate as the Expat For The Ages. A walking living legend breathes and sings and sweats amongst us and it is our duty to know when to look up and to know when to bow down–So let's have a great big City of Sin Walking Street round of applause for my Expat For The Ages and yours: Joe Cocker."

At this point my bar mamasan Fa flicks on the Applause sign, and punches the button on the foot stamping and cheering CD; while my head waitress Daow stands at the fuse box and flicks the bar lights on and off, and on and off, and on and off. Then Joe takes the stage and the Expat For The Ages Dana's Delight bar band big wheels start rolling.

Rumblin' rumblin' rumblin' big big sound, a hush of the bar patrons, and a slowing of the Bataan Death March Walking Street tourists. Then Joe on stage belting out every hit and every lament from the past to the now; energized by the heat, and the location, and the upturned faces. Later between sets a lineup of waitresses and patrons and expats and freelancers on stage singing. People at the tables transfixed by real emotion and people in the street starring open mouthed at raw humanity wailing straight from the heart.

And everything perfect the way everything perfect should be–
When the ultimate of anything is singing to thee.
Bad teeth and sweaty brow,
Runny eyes and some fat now–
It's the beekeeper on Everest,
Or Armstrong on the moon;
It's the right man at the right time and none too soon.
Of that there can be no doubt–
Come down to the Dana Bar,
Come down to sing and shout.

And remember; it's ok to cry. Cryin' just means you are paying attention.

Stand and listen.
Stand and cry.
Look me up–
And tell me why

Your are a Joe Cocker.

Sincerely Yours,
Dana

Stickman's thoughts:

Was hoping for a green star from Dana this week, but it wasn't to be…