Stickman Readers' Submissions April 9th, 2010

Playing The Odds and I’m Damn Lucky

In one of his lesser known books, "Marriage and Morals", Bertrand Russell presents his belief that the institution of marriage was originally sanctioned by the Roman Catholic church not to foster a family structure, not to produce progeny but
because the church found the human sexual act so perturbing and disturbing. And placing two individuals together for the rest of their lives seemed to be a good bet for sublimating the sexual instinct / drive. Needless to say, the Church knows
quite a bit about the human sexual drive although it would prefer to play possum or ostrich.

It could have been because neither my parents nor either set of grandparents had a marriage that could even remotely be called 'healthy' that I was able to dodge the marriage mirage, but that isn't likely. It took me until
middle-age to appreciate how dysfunctional and tragic were their marriages. More likely it was that in the two long term relationships I had with American women, neither of these women wanted children or cared about the formality of marriage.
And the one time previously that I'd acquiesced to get married, she revealed her true colors to me and thus nixed that possibility.

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It is also been helpful for me that I don't like wearing formal attire and hosting an expensive gathering to feed and intoxicate hordes of people I'd generally prefer to avoid regardless of who is picking up the tab. To say nothing
of the fact that most wedding cakes taste blend and look garish to me. To me, an intimate relationship is precisely that; something between me and another party and I see no strong necessity in involving other parties such as priests, ministers,
imams, rabbis, attorneys and government officials, people who in all due respect I have little respect for.

It has been my belief for decades now that American people in general are not a very happy lot. Sure, I'd concur that all generalizations have exceptions. That even Seattle has hot and sunny summer days and that a sweater and wool cap
are nice to have on a rare winter night in Bangkok. And I'll take my generalization about unhappy Americans even one step further with the notion that happiness and wealth are inversely related.

Having more than contentedly lived in Thailand for more than three years now, what I've glimpsed of the Thai, Khmer, Vietnamese and Lao people that I've brushed up against pretty much supports those admittedly very crude generalizations
about unhappy Western people. Frankly, I've found myself drastically happier in Asia than I ever was prior to arriving in Thailand. I don't really understand my psyche on this notion, but having achieved a general level of contentment
I find that the prospect of my death is no longer so disturbing; I can accept it having first found life well worth living. And my contention that it is difficult for a 'healthy' individual to find happiness in a 'non-healthy'
society seems rather reasonable. Without any hyperbole or exaggeration I can state that at times I've been so happy living here that I'm almost brought to tears. Sure, I can believe that it was even better over here a decade or two or
three ago. But I arrived more recently, fortunately with a nest egg sufficient to keep me away from gainful employment, and my gratitude over my situation is boundless. Were I offered lottery style wealth to return to living in the USA, with numerous
luxury homes, exotic Italian and German automobiles and a staff of obsequious servants and fine chefs, the choice would be oh so easy. I'll stay put in my two room rented condo in Bangkok, thank you very much. I wouldn't willingly trade
lives with any other person on the planet, other than perhaps Tiger Woods. Partially because he is a lot better looking and younger (there is nothing that you can have when you are old that can replace being young and having nothing) than I am,
but mostly because I detest political correctness and I salivate at the possibility of Tiger sponsoring condoms and starring in pornographic films.

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I support my contention of unhappy Americans by noting the grotesque levels of political rancor, the high levels of incarceration in prisons and jails, the over-indebtedness at the personal and governmental levels, the high divorce rate and
the animosity between the sexes. A reasonably healthy and happy society wouldn't have these excessive conditions. And even when in the midst of divorce, the level of nastiness and manipulation is uncalled for.

I've had a few friends go through miserable divorces and coming out the other end proceeded to isolate themselves and close themselves off from life and the world. Tragically lonely and unhappy without a clue as to how to rectify their
misery other than to sit down to a good meal with a bottle of wine.

You cannot ski worth a damn without falling down many times and picking yourself back up. Sometimes it's awfully painful and frightening, but this is life. It's also about playing the odds. I don't find the risk profile in
a gambling casino very favorable to me, yet obviously this is a growth industry and substantial sums are dropped by patrons of these casinos. As I've mentioned in previous posts here, my passion is women, but even here I don't like to
play with the deck stacked against me. I feel that I have something to offer in this kind of interaction, such as humor, a male influence for existing children, maybe even a house for the lady and her family. BUT WHY THE FUCK WOULD I WANT TO GET
MARRIED? I'm forced to recall the gambling addict entering the racetrack for another afternoon outing as he mutters to himself "I sure hope I break even today; I really need the money."

I'm not an optimist about the human condition and it is evident to me that the Western consumer lifestyle and it's unfortunate attendant consequences is the future for the developing world. Will things get better? I seriously doubt
it. But for now, I'm in hog heaven. Bon appetite.

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Stickman's thoughts:

Brilliant, and I bet many Bangkok residents can relate.

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