Monday, March 07, 2011


Brovic - Blogging since 1903

KHUK KHAK, Thailand - Wisconsin. Isn't that just up the street from you? People all over the world, picking up a cause. Remember the peace movement? I like the way we defined ourselves by what we were for, rather than what we were against.

'There was music in the cafes at night, and revolution in the air.' - Bob Dylan


Any of you
breathing underwater
in your dreams?

If so
Where did you go?

Same with flying, right? Just have to remember you can, and your technique. Same same Superman. One, Two, Three, up, up and away.

Kind of like watching a toddler realize they don't have to crawl around everywhere.

Get up. Go for a little walk. Take a look arouuuuuund.


You're invited to a dinner party next month! I'll give you a map and let you know the details later. You'll have to find your own way here, because I can't pick you up at the airport, but I suppose I could send a taxi and have 'em hold up a cardboard sign with your name on it. That's a nice reception. Big smile on the driver's face when you see your name and your eyes meet his in recognition.

I've done the fake out before. Look up, see the name, smile and nod at the driver and just keep walking, never looking back again. A person could go so far as to take the fare, have 'em deliver you to your destination, and really screw up Mr. Wolfe in the process. It would be great for a comedic routine, but not so funny in the Real 3D World.

You'd have to go with a Western name, right? It would be hard for my black ass to pose as Mr. Shin. Middle East, no prob. Sweden? Not. And then, you'd have to have the right clothes to look the part. So, if you're wearing less than five-star clothes, you'd need to examine the hotel for whom the driver was working. That's not a lot of time. You'd need to be close. Forget it.

Better for you to hire a guy outright. You'll need to taxi from Suvarnaboumi International over to Don Muang, the domestic airport, and fly from Bangkok into Phuket. Don't pay the driver any more than 1400Thai Baht to get here. Stick to your guns. Start at 1200. He'll laugh and start at 2,500, then immediately offer 2,000, then 1800, then ask around if anyone wants to take a farang to Khuk Khak for 1400. Someone will. Give him a 200TB tip, and he'll offer to pick you up to take you back.*

Don't need to. I know a local guy who'll take you down for 1,000.

I can put three, four, five of you up without discomfort, and sardine-style, like the Thai or Tom Cook's basement, I can put up, oh, about seventeen. The rest of you can stay over at Karl's Lakeview Bungalows, just across the lake.........he was over here today, telling me how to go about my work.

Yeah. Green wood puts off more smoke, he says. No shit, Sherlock. I'm clearing land and burning it off. Green jungle burns. Everybody knows that. He suggested I save it, let it 'dry a littaabit,' and have a barbeque, a big bonfire, after asking why I cut the nature. "Why do you cut the nature?" he asked.

Didn't wanna let it dry. I'm clearing a section of land and burning it off, with the help of my Myanmar gardener friend, the workhorse guy who's hard to keep up with, the one who lives in a pitiful hovel between here and the beach, whose wife died in the tsunami, and whose grass trimmer is on the fritz, and I'd like to shoot a photograph of him and his place, but I don't want to insult his personal dignity.

Dirt poor. Worked all day and took only one break in both the morning and the afternoon, but I beat him back from lunch. It was hot. We're going to wrap up the project tomorrow, and having no further need for it, I'm going to trip him out and give him the saw, just to see the look on his face.

Karl checked out the saw, asked how much I paid for it, and said he was busy, full up over at the bungalows, and couldn't stay. Said he'd see me later. Yesterday, Michael from England said my idea of clearing that section of land was akin to 'that Joni Mitchell song,' 'Pave Paradise...put up a parking lot...' and those freaking lyrics kept running through my head all day.

'...cut down all the trees, put 'em in a tree museum
and charge all the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em.'

Don't want to see jungle. Wanna see the lake.** Already got jungle on three sides, anyway. Got plenty of jungle. Plenty of jungle here. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing, and besides, when you mow your lawn, are you doing it for your neighbors, or for yourself? How about that shed? And the color of your bathroom tile.

Well, you can see some of that 'you oughta' stuck. Now, you could call me a hard-headed nigga, and you wouldn't be the first, but already told you I bristle when someone suggests they know what I should do. Recall that essay on thinking for your own damn self? THAT'S what I'm talking about.

Someone...OUTSIDE, myyyyyy...........skull, wants to tell me what they think I should do.

"If I were you, I'd quit those Krong Thips (local cigarette)," said my friend from Sweden, bless her heart.

"You're not me," I told her calmly without hesitation.

After a long pause, she said, "You're right." And we pretty much let it go at that.


A few years back, the second opinion at the VA ran through the checklist; 'Depressed?' 'Living alone?' 'Divorced?' 'Up at 2 o'clock, 4 o'clock?' 'Wake up in sweat?' 'Resistance to authority?'


Found my head nodding through the questionnaire.

"You brought all that shit home with you," Michael said, when the conversation went near that direction.

"I never killed anyone," I spat out, reflexively, the same thing I told the second opinion. "I don't have no ghosts or flashbacks."

Well, okay. I understand the survivor's guilt, delayed grief, denial, acceptance and all that, but I just don't like it when someone thinks they've got your past, dreams, and motives figured out. I wasn't a fucking door gunner, for Christ's sake. That's what I told him. "I was a medic, a angel of mercy. Guys was glad to see me........"

And he pretty much let it go at that.

But I didn't.

After a pause, I said quietly, "I lost a couple good friends over there...I should have been the one, both times...I saw people, whole people just a few minutes ago, all butchered up, Mike, all torn up, lives changed forever. I treated everybody; Americans, Vietnamese civilians, the enemy......"

He nodded, and I had a story of a North Vietnamese Army patient, but I pretty much let it go at that.

Well, my fellow Americans, that's what wars do; kill and injure people. Maim all the rest. We should bring our people home.

Exhale, Joey. Don't take in water.


That's enough.

- end

*What the heck. You don't have to go right back. If you're coming for the dinner party, you might as well stay a couple weeks.

**With the racket from the chain saw and all, booming across the lake, we attracted the attention of a few monks who sauntered around the bend to see what I was doing over here with the nature. Later, it was our good fortune to be asked by a couple of old local men if they could have the wood. They wanted it over at the temple, they said.

No sooner than I could get 'Sure!' out of my mouth, four Myanmar guys showed up with a pickup truck and hauled off all the long poles. Never mind Karl and Michael - something was very right about the project. The monks got the wood, my friend gets a new saw, and I've got an expansive view of the lake.