Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 285
Greetings Dana fans and Stickmanites: Dana here with an Introduction, an essay, and a story. Enjoy.
A lot of Dana fans want to know what enticed me out of retirement to write for Stickmanbangkok. com again. Ok, I got two identical emails
(from twins). Quote:
"Sa wa dii khrap hansum man kuhn Dana: how come you be floggin' on Stick's site again man? Just curious." — Sven from Igzllebnigeffrig, Iceland.
Answer: I was able to negotiate a new contract with the mighty Stickmeister where I do not have to go over to his gated community compound every Sunday and wash his cars. Also there was the money thing. I am now getting twice as much money. I am a tough negotiator. More to the point, however, is this inquiry from a Gold level Dana Fan Club Member in Muddy-Boots-On-Tyne, England:
"Now that I see you are making weekly submissions again I wonder how many you are going to make. Some Dana Fan Club members think you will finally retire at Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes — Part 500, and other Dana Fan Club members (mostly more experienced Silver level and gold level members) believe you are going all the way to Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes — Part 1000. Any thoughts?" — Tornlip Boogerphelps
Any thoughts? Not really, just trying to capture literary sparks as they shoot out of my literary ass. I have ex-pats write to me and tell me that they can't think of anything to write about while living in the Kingdom. That's like witnessing a train wreck on a daily basis and then saying you don't remember anything. Thailand is a continual trainwreck. Lots to write about. Five hundred submissions? One thousand submission? Amateur dreams. How about 20,000 submissions? Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes — Part 20,000 and then I drink the cup of hemlock while reclining on a concrete bench on the boardwalk. Anyway, who knows; and as usual, he's not talkin'. Right now I am pounding out two submissions: an essay titled On Reading Skills and a story called Justifiable Homocide on my laptop in a booth at the Texas Lone Star bar in Washington Square, Bangkok. I am knee to knee in the booth with an ex-pat who is writing his 251st letter to the United Nations notifying them that the country of Bolivia caused WWII and an aged Hitler is in a mountain valley town weaving swastika ponchos. I love Thailand. Rock on mongers. And start writing. Can’t think of anything to write about? Well then, just hang around my ass and catch some sparks.
An Essay: On Reading Skills
The Declaration of Independence that was sent to King George III of England was approximately 1056 words long. What do you bet he only read the first couple of paragraphs? People lack reading stamina. At the 800 word mark they start shouting for the conclusion and they parade their lack of stamina as a feature of their intelligence. Reading is a physical activity. Lack stamina? That is not the writer’s fault. Reading with the open ended right to make comment is a little like having children. Many people should not do it.
The very word 'essay' kills viewer numbers because it portends a need for maturity, focus, stamina, and intellectual rigor in the service of learning and entertainment. Boring. Just tell me the dirty joke and give me the link to the dirty girl pictures. I used to work in a school that taught sudents how to study for government exams. Touring the classrooms in the third week I could identify the students who would not pass by looking at the bindings on the books. The books had not been opened.
But all the students had the ability to open their mouths and complain and demand their money back. A nation of losers with reading skills that do not match the reading skills required in the 19th century. In my careers as a stockbroker, real estate broker, and insurance agent I have only a few times had a client who read the documents he/she was sent. Everybody knows their rights and nobody reads anything. A recipe for national disaster. The United States is getting what it deserves.
A Thailand Example:
“Finally, on 7 April 1767, Ayuthaya fell to the Burmese. Retaliation [by the Burmese] was swift and completely horrific. In an unprecedented orgy of vandalism, murder, and destruction, most of the population was killed and the entire city was burned to the ground. The royal family and over 100,000 Siamese captives were marched back to Burma and sold as slaves. Mass slaughter and wholesale slavery reduced the population to under 10,000 people in a city which once held one million.” – Carl Parkes
Tell me again how the Kingdom of Thailand was never conquered by foreigners. I just love that story and the modern Thais believe it. And why do they believe it? Because nobody reads anything. You can tell them anything and they will believe it. Thailand is a rolling train wreck of cultural and social infrastructure disaster because nobody knows anything about anything. Nobody reads. I don’t feel great about this.
But that is not really what I want to talk about today. What I really want to talk about today is:
A Story: JUSTIFIABLE HOMOCIDE
Sometimes, for reasons of mental health, compartmentalizing our lives is helpful. Example: Mr. Simp Pencilneck of Carp-in-Water on Lime in Broadmoor, England works as a clerk in a women's shoe store. The women are farmer’s daughters of an advanced age and unsmiling attitude who have never give a moments thought to post-pregnancy weight loss. Sometimes they come into the store not wearing any underpants. Some things you do not want to see. Ever.
To stay mentally stable, Simp has a train set in his basement. So there is the madness compartment of his work life, and there is the happy mental compartment of his off-work life. His train set is HO scale, of eleven years construction, and respected by his peers. A private world of dignity, creativity, moral predictability, and love. Above all, a private world of private happy smiling pleasures unpolluted by the festering putrid cancer of other hominids.
One day, Simp Pencilneck of Carp-on-Water on Lime in Broadmoor, England came home happily speculating on how best to plaster the wire forms of new mountains he was constructing. He heard a noise in the basement. Someone was in his basement playing with his trains. The neighbors said they heard four shots from a 45 caliber Glock handgun. He had been such a quiet man. Lesson? You don't mess with the happy private compartment of a man's mind.
Lesson number two? The other day I was waiting on the A. A. Hotel side of Beach Road in Pattaya, 9:15 in the morning. Time to see Fa. Fa: the happy compartment in my mind that keeps the demons at bay. My muse, my medicine, my psychic anchor, my dignity, my love.
Across Beach Road I saw another man talking to my Fa. He reached out and touched her arm. I turned around and went back for my gun. The neighbors said they heard four shots.
"He had been such a quiet monger."
That morning Fa kissed me on the lips for the first time in ten years. I guess she felt the impulse. Love grows.
That's the Dana we know.