Readers' Submissions

Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 150

  • Written by Dana
  • September 30th, 2006
  • 28 min read


THAILAND TOMBSTONE

–Here Lies Dana–
Stickmanbangkok.com Writer
2003–2006

Friend of the cruiser,
Champion of the 500 baht note.
He'll be missed by his friends–
And remembered for what he wrote.

He's said what he said–
There's nothing new.
It's sayonara time–
A Dana fan boo hoo.

Every literary patch
Has writer grave yards.
He's headed there now
To lay down with other bards.

Time calls us all–
The aged and the young, the short and the tall.
The heart slows it's beat–
And youth is replaced with shuffling feet.

Birds tire of flapping–
And fish tire of finning.
Life is eventually wrapping–
Every day can not be winning.

He's done enough.
He's had his say.
Some writer days were tough–
But mostly it was play.

He's on the path to Godhead status–
A serious life and serious fun.
His text is going to become stardust someday–
His life and times recorded–his work done.

PTTP (Prologue To The Public)

Well Sticksters, Dana haters, and sick twisted fans; I made it to Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 150 and I'm flippin' breathless. The Smithsonian Museum here in Washington, D.C. called and wants to have me sign paperwork that will allow them to claim my brain for science when I die. They want to know what is wrong with me. Works for me. Imagine what I could have done if there was a Viagra for writers. Can't even imagine it. Anyway, 150 submissions is enough. Stick a fork in me–I'm done.

This is my last submission. I am now retired from writing for the Stickmanbangkok.com site. I thought I had retired at Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 77 and specifically wrote that submission as a swan song; and I again thought I had retired at Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 100 and found the notion of retiring once reaching the mythic number 100 very appealing. We will call those errors of judgment. I'd rather call them youthful mistakes but that train left the station a long time ago. A mean spirited Washington Squaronian has mentioned that I have retired more times than Sinatra and a friend of mine in California has a $100 bet with a Mexican tranny (Question: where is a Mexican tranny going to get $100?) that I will start writing again. When I hear these kinds of small minded comments it is cosmic sigh time. Recently I was conference calling with Milton and Coleridge and Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky and they related that they had the same trouble with the unappreciative and the unfriendly but they just soldiered on.

"Write when you are rich and write when you are poor. Write when you are confident and write when you are not so sure. But just keep on writing."–IDH

Anyway, no one is going to make any money off this $100 Mexican tranny bet and this Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 150 is absolutely and incontrovertibly without chance of doubt or hesitation or debate my last submission. I ain't singin' no more.

When I started making submissions to the Stickmanbangkok.com site I was walking and Stick was driving a tuktuk and Mrs. Stick was driving a Mercedes Benz automobile with smoked glass and wire wheels. Now Stick and his wife are both driving Hi-So 007 Bangkokmobiles with machine guns that fire flaming soi dog turds out of the front grill; and ejection ports around the license plate in the rear that fire flaming fish paste. If you cut in front of the Sticks' car in your forest green 1937 Bentley 4.25 litre Sedanca Coup with your Chinese face, and your bouffant hair, and your fake Japanese pearls you will be blasted by twin machine guns each firing two hundred soi dog turds per second. A ten second squeeze of the firing mechanism by a road raged Stick is four thousand turds on a mission. The front end of the Benz jumps and shimmies and shakes and chatters and Mrs. Stick grabs on to her shoulder harness for support. Take that to your Emporium fashion show Mrs. Mah Jong.

Try to force Mrs. Stick off the road or out of her lane by tailgating her and she will reach down to the left of the steering column and press buttons marked Ports and Ignition. Ejection ports on either side of the license plate in the rear will open up, there will be a faint phoot of ignition; and then flamethrower fish paste flumes will spew from the rear. Five gallons per second per ejection port and one hundred gallons in reserve. So long traction and so long tailgater.

Nobody messes with the Sticks when they are driving around Bangkok but I am still walking and that ain't right. The Stickmanbangkok.com empire has been very good to Stick but I am still wearing five dollar Nike sandal knockoffs and dodging holes, and German tourist puke, and takeout Styrofoam cartons, and sidewalk cracks, and water buffalo flop, and construction pipes; and that ain't right. So no more Mr. Nice Guy.

Also, not to put too fine a point on it: I have received several offers from other farang focused Thai sites that have offered to pay me twice what Stick is paying me. It's a competitive world and I need angora sweater money for my stateside teeruks. Winter is coming. So it is time to saddle up the old computer and ride out to greener pastures (ok, I've been drinking) where the stories write themselves, and editing is never required, and the accolades of envy and respect are replaced with the constant tsunami of incoming money.

Anyway, I am through writing for the Stickmanbangkok.com site. This submission is Numero Lasto. That's it. Finito. El Endo. I am Done O. I Quito. Don't Even Think About It O. I Don't Care If You Point A Gun At Me O. I'm bushwhacked. Done in. Fractured. Spent. Pooped. DTTK (Dead To The Keyboard). Too Tired To Shit–To Weak To Fart. That's All Folks. To all of you who thought I was the greatest living writer in the history of the English language–good luck to you. You others can burn and twist in the fires of hell for eternity. Ok, forget that last bit . . . just tired I guess.

Anyway . . .

It's time for someone else to grab the story reins and give the literary horse a kick in the ribs: slide down the narrative embankment squeezing your groin muscles 'till you think they'll tear and ford the cold roiling rushing river while your four legged pal fights for footing on tumbling slime covered rocks. Then the wheeze and the push and the shout and the prayer as you reach the other side only to see another self-same embankment of mud and snakes and loose shale and editing nightmares and grammatical errors and unresolved plot points and politically correct nonsense that you have to get up.

Sound easy? Sound like fun? Think you can do it? Ok, now do it 150 times. And remember: you can never tell the same story or the same joke twice, and you have to write from the heart, and you have to write from experience, and you can never lie. Hell, I can't even do that in my own life. Anyway, I'm tired pardners. There are no circumstances, eventualities, impulses, fat money contracts, occurrences, emotions, pleadings, legal threats, proceedings, facts, inducements, contingencies, or random influences of the universe that can ever get me to write another submission for Stickmanbangkok.com.

And that includes Mort of the beach boulevard in Pattaya from 2005. Sorry Mort, your tight tight tight belly button and your flat flat flat brown stomach make my penis orifice pull and tear with Bunsen burnered pipette pain but even that is not enough to get me to write one more submission for Stickmabangkok.com. Leaning over the stainless steel pipe rail of the fourth floor terrace pool at the AA Hotel on the corner of Beach road and soi 13 in Pattaya and seeing you in the early morning sun standing on the curb fills me with pleasure and hope beyond measure. Normally I would crawl over glass with my ass on fire to get to you; but even that is not enough to get me to sit down at the keyboard one more time and type the words Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 151 by Dana. The last dying ember has gone cold, the sky is without shooting stars, and my brain can not send any more messages to my fingers. I'm making this public personal pronouncement with my hand on top of a stack of bar chits, and AA Hotel mini-bar receipts, and used Viagra pill punch cards. It does not get any more definite than that.

I am scheduled for surgery tomorrow at Massachusetts General Hospital. Going to have all of my fingers amputated so that I can not even think of doing any more submissions. It's called the Writerium Guillotine Digitus (WGD) operation. Funny story: a writer friend of mine had this finger removal operation about 7 years ago and almost immediately started pecking away at the keyboard with his toes. I had to listen to him bewail his addiction to writing and mention that he might have to have his toes amputated.

"Yeah, but you'll still be able to peck and slam the keyboard with your dick." I said.

Wait a minute–that's not funny . . .

Anyway, I don't think I'm that sort; I just need a little medical attention to get my life a little more balanced. I'll miss the emails detailing how I am scum of the earth who should be kept from breeding but other than that high note I think just kickin' back and not writing will be a pleasure.

And if you do not find this submission appealing do not bother to email me because even as I type these words I am starting to shut the whole operation down. Trannys in electric blue short plastic dresses, and midgets in school girl uniforms, and pool table whore sharks in stiletto heels with chalk holsters are already tearing the place down. Accountants, and proofreaders, and research staff, and interns, and expat experts, and stringers, and office machine maintenance people, and support staff, and lawyers, and computer people have already received their last pay checks. The office cat has bailed out, now fearless soi dogs are boosting themselves in the windows, and the roaches are starting to appear from their hiding places. The heat is shut down, the fans have stopped moving, and the phones are fast becoming plastic relics of a past I will never return to. In an hour I am going to take the mouse and the printer and the monitor and the cube and the manuals and the speakers and the keyboard out to a field and pump shotgun blast after shotgun blast into the pile until the barrel burns my hands, there is a ringing in my ears, my laughter has turned into a hyena screech, and I lose control of my bladder. Finit.

I know what some of you cynics are thinking–

"Ah Dana, we've heard all of this retirement talk before. And just when we get our hopes up, just when we think a stake has finally been driven into the heart of this submissions monster, just when we imagine it is safe to cordon off Soi 6 in Pattaya and have an all night party–you send in another submission the next week. Please, we are begging you–honor this retirement; we need to get back to normal lives instead of going from week to week waiting for your submissions like a yaa baa addict watching the Burma border for a mule train."

OK, let me tell you why this retirement is inviolable this time. No . . . better yet: let me show you. Have Noi and her teddy bear co-pilot fly you over to my Federalist style mansion in Louisburg Square here on Beacon Hill in Boston. Her space buster dolphin shaped plane of melted flip flops and soldered plutonium ingots goes 18,000 miles per second. It will take you about . . . oh, there you are outside my window now. Can you see me? No? I'm right here in front of the Delft tiled fireplace looking at you. Tonight I am burning Taiwanese camphor wood, Irish peat, and tsunami longtail boat kindling. Anyway, can you see me now? No? You are looking right at me.

Do you know why you are looking right at me and yet you can not see me? It is because you do not recognize me. When I first started writing for Stickmanbangkok.com I was young and strong and hansum and sleek. But there have been some changes. My soul and my physique and my mind have been mortar and pestled by the inhuman load of having to submit submissions to Stickmanbangkok.com every week. Look again through the wavy purple imported English glass mullion panes in the bow front window. Do you see the monster with his flipper feet up on the bamboo coffee table? Do you see the scaled beaked visage with the greenish hue? Can you see the fingers that have webbed and turned into claws? Can you see how the ermine collared red Chinese silk nightgown hangs from my narrow shoulders like a funeral shroud? Can you see the outline of a large oblate shell shape under the shroud? That's me you are looking at.

The unrelenting unbending inflexible weekly ticking time bomb of mind destroying stress involved in starting with a blank sheet of paper every Monday and producing a masterpiece by the end of every selfsame week for Stickmanbangkok.com has visited upon me the horror of reverse mutant evolution. I have regressed and become a hideous hopeless green hued, scaled, beaked sea turtle of a man. Don't pity me. It's my lot. I wanted to write. This is what I got. Like Icarus on wings of wax I flew too high. I've run my race. Now I sit in my red silk Chinese nightgown with my flipper feet up on the bamboo coffee table and wait to die. My words will outlive me. They are stardust bound. But it's a heavy price. On the one scale genius and art; on the other scale a life now bereft and alone in a house without a sound.

I have become a monster. A night person. I can only go out at night because if I wander from my mansion in the daytime I scare the kids and excite the dogs. I am hideous. Ever seen a sea turtle that could touch his pecker with his flippers? Well, I can't either. Be careful for what you wish for. I wanted to write but I paid a price. Offered again I might think twice. All that remains of my former self are the memories. Writing for Stickmanbangkok.com has ruined my life. I have become a human sea turtle. Scaled and green and beaked and carrying a heavy shell that makes a mockery of the closet full of custom made clothes from Mr. Ambassador the Indian tailor in Bangkok. I hope you are all happy. I gave and I gave and I gave and this is what I got. I hope you are thrilled. So this is why there will not be any more submissions after this one. This is why Mr. Smarty-pants Cynic there will not be any more submissions next week or any other week. So go ahead and have your block party on Soi 6 in Pattaya. I hope the girls dance on the table tops, and the dogs snap at sparklers, and the toilets explode from M-80's. Don't look for me. I won't be there.

I'll be sitting in my red bricked mansion–
Perched on my sea turtle ass.
Watching the covering night fall
Through the purple wavy glass..

Don't think of me.
Don't give it a thought.
This is my life.
It's what I bought.

You can't calculate life–
Can't predict what will be.
You've got you–
And I've got me.

There, night's fallen–
I can flipper my sea turtle self outside.
Stare up at the stars–
Cry out–and cry in–and confide . . .

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Anyway, here is a bit of biographical memory lane entitled: I KNOW MY DANA. Enjoy.

KARMIC KROLOGUE

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
No one escapes–
Not even you.

Put the water in the saucer.
Put the saucer on the rail.
When the water starts vibrating–
It's telling your tale.

Lay down in the cinders–
The sharp gravel too.
Put your ear on the track and listen . . .
Listen . . .
It's all about you.

Hear that sound?
Feel it in your chest too?
It's the Karma train coming–
And it's coming for you.

You think you can run
And you think you can hide–
But you're glued to the tracks
And feeling sick inside.

So many lies
And bluffing too–
Never believing
Someday you'd rue–

Rue your actions
And lack of jai dee–
Well it's karma train time:
Time to pay the fee.

Hear that sound?
Feel it in your chest too?
It's karma train time–
And it's coming for you.

Forget suicide–
That's not your fate.
Life's not done yet–
That can wait.

First you have to
Face up and atone:
There's people involved–
Your not alone.

Everything goes
Until it runs down–
Every woman knows
The man from the clown.

So don't be surprised
If your teeruk strikes back.
She wanted a man–
And got a mirror with a crack.

I KNOW MY DANA

I'm dyin' if I'm lyin' baby and you only have stories like this in Thailand. It's been months since I've seen Fa so when I get rid of the porter at the AA Hotel I run back down the hall and I plummet down the stairs (too impatient to wait for the elevator); and then I run across the lobby, and clatter down the steps, and then I run down to Beach road, and then I run across the highway to the boardwalk. Fa and I don't have an appointment but I stopped that silliness in Thailand years ago. Making an appointment with a Thai is the kiss of death on them showing up on time or maybe even showing up at all. It's like herding cats with a shotgun. Activity but poor results. In moments of extreme cross-cultural charity I sometimes believe that they just do not understand the concept of an appointment. This simple social contract that represents one of the first footprints in the sand of evolution as we crawled up out of the ocean has somehow eluded them. Sort of like asking your cat to go to the refrigerator and get you a beer. The cat can see your lips moving and can hear you making sounds but just has no idea what you are talking about. With my Fa no formal appointment is necessary anyway because her habits are as regular as the atomic clock in Washington, D.C. I know where she will be within four decimal points on the longitude and latitude tracking device of pussy seeking missiles and I know when she will be there. She is my Fa. I know her.

No Fa. Anywhere. I'm staggered. Heartbroken. The boardwalk is choked with pussy but I only want Fa. I walk from the Royal Garden Plaza to the Thai beach section to the north at all hours of the day and night. I wear different outfits. I sit across the street in the shade where I can see a lot of the boulevard and I just watch. Nothing. I ask some of the girls. No cooperation. I visit the bars at night and see the lesbian shows at Superbabies, and lick pussy at Club Electric Blue, and put my hand inside a tranny's pants at the Jenny bar, and watch the fire show at the Polo Entertainment lounge; but my heart just isn't in it. I miss my Fa. I love Fa.

I spend some time with other women and visit with a pal and do some tourist things but I am just a balloon that the air has gone out of. This goes on for three days. On the third day around 2 p.m. I am sitting on the boulevard next to a Chinese whore who is feeding me mystery meat. She has been making eyes at me for the days that I have been walking up and down looking for Fa and I have been ignoring her. She's down market trash too lazy to even get up when I come by. I've rented these numbskulls in the past and learned my lesson. Now sitting next to her eating little pieces of meat that look as if someone has already eaten them I am warming up to the idea of taking her across the street. I've gone Faless and bonkless for three days and time is the great corrupter of good intentions. Just then two prostitutes walk up and start talking to her. One is cute and looks like a reddy teddy but her friend is DLT (Dana Lottery Time). About four feet tall and shaped like an hourglass with breasts that look like someone taped huge funnels to her chest. She is dark and cute with a square face that speaks of some origin other than Thailand. I am stricken. Suddenly the Chinese whore sitting next to me could be stuffing the little pieces of mystery meat up my nose and I wouldn't notice. The short whore says something to me that has the words ‘short time' in it. I don't say anything in return. I just get up and smile and walk towards her and take her hand and start walking her to the curb. She giggles and turns and says something over her shoulder to her friend. Probably "wait for me".

Well, I am going to spare you all the details. I could sit here and hammer out 10,000 words on how much fun and fabulous this woman was. Her name was Daow. God bless her. God bless all women like her. She was cute and fun and funny. She giggled and screamed when I tickled her. She got naked and down to business like a pro. Her body was a fifteen year old boy's dream and I am fifty six years old. In addition I got a fashion show posing in my clothes and hers in front of the mirror in the bedroom, and a Wet T-Shirt contest in the shower with posing in front of the bathroom mirror. Shower athletics and games were outstanding. All for 500 baht. I know men get married to have sex and fun and companionship and tenderness and adult connections but I just do not know why. I got it for 500 baht. And all I had to do was spend fifteen minutes eating mystery meat with a Chinese whore and then say "Yes" to opportunity when it strolled up. Sweet Jesus I love this country. Put me down as just incredibly culturally sensitive. Anyway I really really liked her. Maybe she will become my teeruk. Maybe we will become a couple. She liked me too. We made an appointment to meet again the next day at noon.

Did I forget about my Fa? No. Next morning at 7:30 a.m. I was up and out and cruising the boardwalk from one end to the other looking for her. Did this until about eleven. Then quit. No Fa. Have to pick up Daow at noon. Can't wait. This new woman named Daow is fantastic and fun. With time and trust and repetition she will just get better and better and better. God I love this town.

At noon I step over the curb and start down the boulevard. Way down I can see Daow talking to her friend. She looks great. It's a breezy day with the wind coming in off the water and the sun is overhead and I am feeling fine. In about fifteen minutes I will have this naked woman in my arms and be stealing glances at her unbelievable breasts and nipples. Life is good.

Just then the unthinkable and the unpredictable happens. There, half way between me and Daow is Fa. She is standing right in the middle of the sidewalk and beaming a smile at me that could light up the night sky. It is the kind of smile that says,

"Hey big boy–where have you been; and oh by the way, I am really really glad to see you and I missed you and I missed us and I can't wait for you to walk the next fifty feet and put your arms around me."

Well, you could not have surprised me more if you shot off a gun next to my ear. One moment the sidewalk is empty and the next moment she is blocking my way and filling it up big as life. Where did she come from? Did she just drop out of the sky? Dumfounding. And there she is big as life and smiling that 50,000 watt smile and brimming with the confidence of the accomplished seducer watching a regular customer walk right into her web.

Which is what I did. Walked the next fifty feet and put my arms around my Fa. My smile was so big it is a miracle that it did not cut my face in two and my heart felt as if it was going to leap out of my chest. I had tears in my eyes. Would have been happy to hold her in my arms on that boulevard in the sun forever. Unfortunately, looking over Fa's shoulder I can see Daow. She is looking at us. And her face is not a mask, it is a story. Betrayal, disappointment, sadness, shock–all there. And then she does something that could not have been predicted.

She runs towards us. Not away from us. Towards us. I have my arms around Fa who is expecting me to be faithful and loving and full of words and deeds of commitment and loyalty and love as I have been in the past and there is a crazy woman running towards us who is going to ruin it all. Jesus what a country.

Daow runs up yelling and grabs my hand. She has tears in her eyes and her face is falling apart from disappointment. I am stunned. I have my right arm around Fa and I am holding the hand of Daow with my left hand. Two women. Jesus what a country. And I want them both. I do not want to lose either of them. Greed is now a part of the mix. I want them both. Now the girls are talking in Thai. Then Daow is talking to me and it is not good. She is broken hearted. Teary eyes in her dark square face. Then there is more talking in Thai. I absolutely am not going to let go of Fa and the body language is pretty clear. I love Fa. More talking between the girls and I am getting nervous because I know that if I do not get this thing fixed pretty quickly the chances are excellent that I will lose both of them. Then it would be jump-off-a-balcony time in Pattaya. I can just imagine the double column four color front page story in the Pattaya Mail newspaper–

RICH HANSUM FARANG JUMPS FROM AA HOTEL (continued page 4)
–Thursday edition: Farnslop Gottlefip reporting–

"Early Tuesday morning the body of world famous Stickmanbangkok.com writer Dana was found on the pavement outside the AA Hotel at the corner of Soi 13 and Beach Road. Blunt trauma wounds indicated that he had jumped/fallen from the sixth floor where he had been renting a seaside suite. No suicide note was found, no one reported domestic problems although he was known by hotel staff and neighbors to be quite popular with the ladies, no girlfriends were present, and no family has responded.

Witnesses report that the body was very fashionably dressed and the gentleman extremely handsome. The only ID was a Church of Dana maritime park services schedule, a Club of Dana membership card, an Eight of Spades porno playing card showing anal sex, and a large forehead tattoo that said: DON'T OVERPAY (witnesses conjecture that he could see this every time he looked in the mirror). Additional investigation by the US Embassy Pattaya proconsul reported no condoms at the scene of the tragedy and only 500 baht in the gentleman's wallet creating more questions than answers.

To wit:

1. Why would a farang of such high intelligence not be carrying condoms?
2. Why would a farang of such wealth only be carrying 500 baht?
3. Why would a member of the Church of Dana be carrying such a disgusting playing card?
4. Who was this guy's tailor?
5. How can a man be this hansum?

Investigation will continue and this reporter pledges to follow this story like a soi dog trailing a lame chicken.

Pattaya police conjecture: 'Broken Farang Heart Followed By Jump' — a cause of death amongst farang so common that all Pattaya police now carry special paperwork and stamp pads to facilitate farang accident scene procedures. Regardless of bullet wounds or knives sticking out the crack Pattaya detectives simply stamp SUICIDE on the form and pin it to the guy's clothing and stamp SUICIDE on the guy's forehead. Case closed.

(( Kind of makes you wonder if the brain dead efficiency of this Pattaya Police procedure will spread to other accident calls by citizenry. For example: "Hello Police — there is a dead soi dog in my driveway." — minutes (actually hours) later the crack Pattaya investigative police arrive and minutes (actually seconds) later the dog has a form with the letters SDS (Soi Dog Suicide) pinned to his paw and the letters SDS (Soi Dog Suicide) stamped on his forehead. Case closed. But I digress . . . back to the Pattaya Mail newspaper cover story on the farang Dana suicide. ))

Police captain 'Karaoke Kid' Wattanamobamabingbangmonama when interviewed by this reporter for the Pattaya Mail said: "It is like big dollops of first falling rain on rice field when monsoon come. Pattaya farang like falling coconut after big wind. Bodies fall with regularity of . . . " (see page 4 for complete statement). Suffice it to say that the local Pattaya police department lockup facility for stolen motorbikes has had to give up some of it's space for steel industrial warehouse racks to store farang bodies.

Pattaya Police Farang Body Storage Rack Graffitti–

Just shove the body there–
We're running out of room.
Every night another suicide
Hitting the street–Boom.

It's a plague
And a shame–
A nation's disgrace.

Our women are killers.
But not to them the blame–
They'd lose Face.

So shove the body here
And put the body there–
When we are done with tsunami victims–
We will medically declare:

Every one a suicide–
Farangs of no note.
Soon the sun will do it's work
And every one will bloat.

Chonburi coroner 'Crazy Legs' Wattanamobamabingbangmonama (no relation to police captain 'Karaoke Kid' Wattaanmobamabingbangmonama) reports Cause of Death will be listed as Thai Woman Factor (TWF); a trigger of farang illness, mental instability, and death." — Farnslop Gottelfip, senior reporter.

Anyway, more talking in Thai between the girls and it is clear to Daow that I have chosen Fa. Fa turns to me and says that I must pay Daow 100 baht for expenses because it cost her money to come and meet me. I don't have any money (and that's no accident). So Fa opens her purse and gives me 100 baht to give to Daow. I feel sick. Jesus what a town.

So Fa won. I don't know what she said to Daow but Fa won and we went over to the AA Hotel. And she didn't say a thing. Not one thing. And it was wonderful. Just like before. Almost. As we were dressing she asked me if I wanted to meet her the next morning. "Of course." I said, "There is only Fa." Just like I have been saying for years.

She turned and looked at me and said, "I know my Dana."

Stickman's thoughts:

A mounumentous achievement, 150 submissions. But I can related to what you say about it being a huge burden. Putting the weekly column together for me is a massive burden and seriously interferes with so much of my life – to the point I often wonder if I even have a life, sometimes.

Give yourself a huge pat on the back. 150 submissions is quite unreal. I doubt if anyone will get anywhere near close to it.