Running With The Pack
“It is better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you are not."
We are pack animals. I have friends near my home that I lunch with on occasion, or with whom I share a drink with after work, or a cigar and a few hours of conversation each week. I have a friend that I surf with two or three times each week. I have known him for thirty-five years, and we are only forty-five. This is our current way of staying connected through life’s changes and demands though neither one of us is any good at it. These are people that I see on a regular basis and count among my friends / acquaintances. They are my pack. But recently, my pack has expanded. It has expanded to include Stick and Phet, Sawadee2000 and Chiang Mai Kelly among others. Men I have never met and may never meet. Men I don’t need to meet to feel a kinship with, nor to feel protective of. Men whom I now count as members of my pack.
I don’t know these men, I just happen to feel a kinship with these particular writers. Kelly reminds me of me. Maybe all his stories are bullshit, I personally don’t think so, but even if they are they strike a chord with me. Why, because I’m Kelly at home. I’m the guy that tells stories that my friends can’t believe, but they do because they know me and have seen the proof. Now, I’m not bragging, nor trying to build myself up. Bragging would be saying that I’m perfectly built and as handsome as Clooney or Depp or Pitt. I’m not. I’m a bit overweight, not ugly, but not stunning either. What I am is charming, extremely intelligent, and blessed with a great sense of humor. Try getting a girl laughing sometime and watch how fast the panties drop. I have been lucky in love and hope it continues.
Phet to me is how I wish my father had been. It’s obvious from his writings that Phet knows his profession well, but has a vision that exceeds his own horizons. A man who possesses skill in his hands, but is obviously blessed with an amazing cerebral gift. He says he is not a writer, but in my opinion he is as gifted a writer as I have read in recent months. Self-publishing is at its peak and I truly believe Phet could make a living with his words. I would encourage him to investigate this medium, mostly so he can afford more trips to Thailand and write about his adventures for my entertainment.
Sawadee2000 is the epitome of a writer. My definition of a writer is someone who can take the most mundane and ordinary of events and make them interesting. Sawadee2000 has proven himself that guy over and over again. This submission started as a defense of Sawadee2000 after Airmail’s recent submissions. Originally, it was an attack on Airmail, but after some reflection I decided to write a more positive piece.
Again, I don’t know Sawadee2000 personally, and only know him through his writings on Stickman. Maybe he is actually a pathological liar, living above a ladyboy bar on Soi Cowboy, hammering out stories about washing machines and lemon trees. Laughing at the idiots eating it up on the web. Doubtful. There is too much truth and heart and depth in his stories to doubt their veracity. I have read all of his submissions and have found him to be an insightful, introspective and entertaining writer. It angered me that Airmail took him to task for his handling of his troubles. In a follow-up piece Airmail offers that only the man that can afford to live without having to work in Thailand will really enjoy it. I would opine that one can live happily almost anywhere with enough money, but not everyone is fortunate enough to have this luxury. Most of us need to work to provide for our needs. So what. Does this mean we shouldn’t or can’t be happy? Hardly.
As I often tell my children, money doesn’t make you happy, but lack of money can make you sad. What is most important is attitude. The right attitude can get you through many tough spots. Sawadee2000 seems to have this in spades. He has made a new life for himself in a foreign land and seems to take everything in stride. His ailments, his work problems, even his often times taxing interactions with those around him. I would suggest it is his positive attitude more than his financial situation that has made the difference. If you’re uptight, surly and impatient, when you strike it rich you’ll just be an uptight, surly and impatient rich guy.
Phet surely can claim his fair share of money and other troubles, but he’s made it through the dark times and kept his sense of humor. A good attitude has served him well and has seen him through to the other side. I think we can all learn from his example. He could have easily let the bad times consume him and became a bitter old man, grousing about how the world did him wrong. This is what I mean by attitude. The right attitude will let you enjoy the good times and weather the bad. Anyone can be happy when things are going well. It is a gift to stay happy even when it goes bad, as it often does.
There are no guarantees in this life, even a man flush with cash can find himself miserable if his attitude is bad. Having your financial house in order is only one aspect of your life that needs attention. You need to tend the rest of your garden or you will encounter troubles that money can’t fix. Airmail is correct in his belief that having your finances in order will make life easier, but this is not a guarantee of happiness. Take a page from Sawadee2000’s book and keep a good attitude. Enjoy yourself when you can, run with your pack and howl at the moon. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best and all that. Save for a rainy day, but enjoy the sunshine. It will all be over before you know it. Finally, the only thing I can say for sure is that there are no absolutes. Well maybe just one. This goes out the Beer Belly Brian (submission from 8/8/2011), but I think it will benefit most of you out there. If the cutie you’ve taken a shine to shows you her “permanently distended anus” within the first few days. Run. Period.
Amongst the Stickman community there are many great guys and it's fantastic to meet some who have written subs like Korski, Caveman, Sawadee2000, Dana, Pothole Research and BKKSW to name just a few. One of the great side effects of running this site has been all the friends I have met through it. In fact more than half of my friends in Thailand are people I met visa the site. And many sub writers tell me they have made plenty of friends through the site too, which is real nice.