Readers' Submissions

The Truth is Optional





When I was young I enjoyed sports more than most guys. But from that point decades ago until today I much preferred actively playing in a game and had little interest in watching the events on TV. Time marches on and eventually my body was not quite capable of indulging in some of these sports. Yet still sufficiently robust to engage in other forms of physical release and desiring an active non-solo role, I found my way to Thailand.

As a pedestrian in such locales as Sukhumvit between Soi 4 and Asoke or Patpong or Pattaya, I still find myself 'impressed' as to the number of touts flashing their laminated brochures trying to sell massages to men on the street. I realize that some visitors to Thailand have a limited amount of time they can spend here. But as you walk in these neighborhoods, if you need help availing yourself of these kinds of services, you are likely either legally blind or so damn daft that you cannot tell your ass from a hole in the ground. But capitalism, being what it is, if there were no market for their services, these touts and all the ladyboys and the [email protected]#$ing tailor shops would have to find another means of extracting funds from visitors.

Hey, I'm not complaining about any of the means by which these touts, transvestites and tailors make money. By and large they provide a desired service and many provide good value for their service. And mostly they do it in a fairly honest fashion.

In a court of law, prior to testifying, a witness is required to affirm that they are providing legitimate and truthful testimony. It's a bit naive to expect people facing lengthy terms of incarceration or weighty financial setbacks such as child support or alimony payments to not slant things a bit. Contrasting criminal court proceedings to family court proceedings (divorce) it has been succinctly said that in the former court you have relatively bad people acting rather good whereas in the family court you find relatively good people acting very bad. In such circumstances, the likelihood of objective honesty is as oxymoronic as 'happily married' and 'military justice'. If 'TRUTH' were a simple matter, life would be a lot duller.

One of my favorite book titles is "Telling Lies and Getting Paid" but this isn't a book for aspiring actors, attorneys or auto salesman. It is a book for those interested in the intricacies of playing poker and other forms of gambling. In certain venues of work and recreation, it is expected that deception is a desired and expected part of the game or activity. In a commercial transaction such as house purchase, the buyer executing due diligence will have the property inspected by a qualified professional. Would you purchase an automobile oblivious to its' engine size, performance characteristics or the details of the warranty? One of the most prolific provider of Stickman Submissions, whose pen-name is very simiiar to the Latin phrase 'CAVEat emptor' finds it to be ''degrading to the max' when mongers exercise their commercial prerogative to 'look under the hood' before paying a barfine. The sexiest car on the lot might not even have an engine under the hood.

I'm not one to over-exert myself when successful predecessors have given me an idea, and I'm well more than half the way to completing my less-than-epic work entitled "Telling Lies and Getting Laid". The target audience for this book isn't for cinema casting directors or horny divorce lawyers, but a guide for aspirants to the bar and go-go trade. It covers all aspects of the work so that a young woman doesn't expect a trip to the beauty shop or spa when her customer inquires about a 'facial'. And it includes information on where to purchase work clothing, turning a 4 minute man into a 1 minute and 47 second speedball, the ups and downs of using methamphetamine, financial planning for those with a focus no further than the next meal, and what men really want at the bar and in the bed, and assessing your own limits as to maximizing your number of short times and when to call it a day.

I've even come up with fictitious Thai authors to appeal to the nature of these girls. The comfortably retired bargirl is Sue Pawp,(ÊØÀÒ¾) the financial planning is provided by Hugh Cow (ËÔÇ¢éÒÇ along with his wife Huge Cow) while the make-up and hygiene advice is provided by the noted and flamboyant ladyboy Leo Sigh(àÅÕéÂÇ«éÒÂ). Cuisine advice is offered by A. Roy Mach(ÍÃèÍÂÁÒ¡) the famous German-Thai fusion chef, creator of schnitzel som tam. Medical and biological advice is offered by Seeporn Getlong, author of noted works such as "Insect Incest and the Progression Into Mammals" and the iconic work for anal ingenues "Rodent Rectums and Why I Do Give A Rat's Ass".

You don't need to write your own autobiography to really start dispensing with the fallacious idea that 'honesty is the best policy'. As the adage advises, "when in Rome, do as the Romans do". After a few years in the Land of Smile, you adapt and become a fellow prevaricator or else you dig your own grave. That is if you have enough money left to buy a shovel.

I've written a previous submission which delved into the topic of honesty but I finally realized that honesty is a mere cultural anachronism and everything is malleable and pliable. I used to think that honesty was its own reward but living in Thailand has enabled me to develop a more diverse and rich personality. Honesty is dull, mendacity is creative. Being serious sucks. Guilt is for chumps. Guile is the way to go.

I'd spent time pondering why the natives were so much more proficient at speaking creatively and generating 'other truths'. I gave serious consideration to the reality that most commercial transactions in Farangland are conducted under a fixed pricing regimen. If we had learned to haggle over the price of tidbits and trivialities, we wouldn't be so hindered when purchasing pirated DVD's, sex aids and clothing in the markets and streets of Asia. Certainly this is a good way to introduce your children into the flexible nature of truth and language and most farangs never get the knack of it.

Having a pleasant discussion with a Thai lady one day I revealed how I'd been taught a few lessons on the streets in the hard-knocks-of-life school.

I'd long since gotten over these events and figured that I'd gotten rather good value in terms of education for what it had cost me. But her reply to my tales of woe was magnificent. 'Hey, this is Thailand' she said. And it wasn't the words but the way she said it to me that was so damn memorable. In four words she managed to convey a much longer message that could've involved things such 'it's about time you opened your eyes to what goes on in this country. Every dumb shit and his dog know better than that'. But as a courteous and Sue Pawp Thai lady, she didn't want me to lose that all important face.

And she is absolutely right. In what other nation do thousands and thousands of young lads spend the rest of their lives being lasses? Does objective reality even exist in Thailand?

But finally, thank Buddha, I was able to look past and strip off my anthropological blinders and thus make for myself a richer life, both metaphorically and literally. When you fly through certain Asian airports, large signs inform you in no uncertain terms about the penalties for drug smuggling. It would have saved me a lot of pondering and pontification on the nature of truth in Thailand if there had been a large sign at the BKK airport warning me that "The Truth is Optional". But I persevered and adopted the ways of the locals and life is much more interesting and profitable now. And if I ever move back to Farangland, I'll teach those hillbillies back there a thing or two.



Stickman's thoughts:

I think there is nothing more important than being to true to oneself…