Real Shit Only

Street Life in ‘Nam

(I didn’t proof this post so yell at me if you catch a flaw. #fuckit)

I. Writing

Can’t even manage one post a week anymore. I’m gonna have to just write whenever.

Too much going on with the book. It’s been a hard fall so far; I see the deadline coming at me like a Mack truck. Writing a book means signing up for a long era of spiritual darkness. It would be solitary confinement, except your demons are with you. I don’t know why all writers don’t kill themselves.

There’s too much going on for me to blog, and at the same time there’s not enough going on, experientially, for me to write once a day. There aren’t enough sentences that are screaming to get out of me. So I keep forcing posts and it makes me feel like a fake filthy hack. I re-read my site and I’m truly astonished. It’s all shit. Every sentence is shit. This post is more shit on the pile. Writing is darkly fascinating. It might be the only thing you can put thousands of hours into, and still be shit.

II. Money

The only thing that is real is money. Absolutely everything hinges upon money. I live in Vietnam because of money, because I’m an economic refugee.

I won’t make anything off this book. I didn’t even get an advance. Because this is 2016 and there’s no money anywhere except in maybe five or six Caribbean accounts. If you want money you had to have watched Wall Street at age 12 and committed yourself to learning the practice of legally stealing it. If not, then you’re a wage slave with a bungee cord. One end is around your waist and the other is attached to your office.

So I still have to work. I’ll always have to. It’s a good job and I like it, and I can live off just 12(!) hours a week, but still. I’m over it. This shouldn’t have to be a thing. Working part-time feels like I’ve been sprung from the full-time hell only to be out on parole and have to check in with the overlords.

The world only wants what it can extract from you. You have to give give give until you’re out of steam. Simply existing is not an option. You can’t be defective, and you can’t take a break. You’re either born Bruce Wayne or you have to lie your way into a job, find some stupid socket to plug yourself into.

I’m so tired. I’m 28 but my spirit feels like it’s on loan from someone older, maybe even pulled out of someone dead.

III. Women

Don’t feel bad for me. I’d have more time, but I can’t leave the girls alone. I’m Anthony Weiner, before the wrinkles. Except he’s better at sexting than me.

Friday night. She was South African, from a Dutch farm village. She was born in 1996. I can’t even begin to process that.

I thought I was the Older Man but she used to have an affair with her boss’s husband. He was 34. Also, Asian. So you know what that means. The only thing loose about her is her morals. We can barely do it. Not sure if I can handle her for long. She’s too cool, too funny, just slaying all the time. She can’t just say she likes me.

Saturday night there was the American. She’s an economic refugee as well but plans on being a trophy wife. I dig how she didn’t sugarcoat it. She has perfect tits, clover tattoos, and a tough clit. My jaw is still sore.

Not sure if I can handle her for long. Not because of sex but what happens after. American girls are traveling princesses and they don’t listen. Pillow talk is like two hours of hosting a podcast that can only book shitty guests.

My priorities are flipped. My free time should be spent on a nice hang with the dudes. That would be more fulfilling.

But goddamn it, what can I do when she texts, and she was born in 1996.

IV. Brain Chemistry

In rare moments of calm, when the static of duty clears, I re-remember that I do need therapy. Therapy costs Western prices here. The fuckers figured out how much the good stuff should be, and charged accordingly.

But I’m bipolar, I think. It gets bad. Saturday there were parties, but for an hour I couldn’t move to get out to one. Just lay on the balcony floor by the washing machine.

I do need help. I’ve been ignoring that for years, because I kept thinking that God, writing, exercise, travel, love, sex, or adrenaline would save me. But nothing did. Until now, I’ve been afraid of empowering the truth by looking at it.

Rationally, I shouldn’t feel this way. Because I generally have my shit together. So it’s gotta be a simple mental deficiency. All right, fine. I’ll get some fucking pills.

I think about the future a lot. I don’t know how I’m going to deal. I’m in my prime and it’s still all I can do to keep up. My body and the world are only going to get worse. Health money and luck are going to disappear. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

V. Your Burden on Society

I was riding home at midnight and a guy was laid out flat in the void between streetlights. His face was gashed up and blood had pooled around his head. No motorbike nearby, so it was a hit and run. Two Vietnamese dudes were milling next to him.

Anh oi, I called them. But that’s all the Vietnamese I had. I pointed at the guy on the pavement and put my hands up. What’s the deal? They Google Translated that an ambulance was coming.

I saw he had rice wine in a water bottle in his shorts pocket. He’d been walking, he’d gotten himself hammered, then gotten himself hit. His footwear had popped off. Those rubber shower shoes, knockoffs of knockoff of Crocs that poor people wear around town.

I knelt and held his hand and kept squeezing it so he’d squeeze back. He tried to roll over but I kept him on his side. I don’t know if I was supposed to do that. But I think I saw on some show one time that you’re not supposed to let people roll on their backs, so they don’t choke on their own blood. Or something? I really didn’t know what to do.

A crowd built up but no one helped. It was quiet. No one was talking to him, telling him help was coming. This is deeply strange, I thought. This is a tableau or an art installation. They watched us as if just for the experience, for maybe the story of seeing a life leave a body.

He looked at me. He couldn’t open one of his eyes. A few of his teeth were chipped. The gash was bone deep. Beneath the injury was an unremarkable face. Definitely a poor face, the living representative of a family that’s been poor back to the Stone Age. He was a pixel, ultimately forgettable, who wears the same clothes for his whole life. Millions of guys just like him.

The ambulance came after a half hour. Casually snuffled up. No sirens. The hospital was a mile away and there was no traffic. Still, it somehow took half an hour. Two female paramedics came over. No rush. They pushed him over on his back, and we all stepped away.

Someone had hit him and drove off. He was walking alone, and he’ll wake up that way. Even though prayer doesn’t work it still feels better to say one. Dear God, please help him, help everyone. Including me.







16 thoughts on “Real Shit Only

  1. You could always come back to the homeland and bang out a heavily indebted existence of weird social posing. Act happy to clean shot and attend the same fucking birthday party every fucking weekend. Jesus Christ, why do humans even inhale?
    Serious note: thanks for the vulnerable insights and snap out of that shit because you are an awesome assembly of atoms.

  2. That photo is great. And you’re young as fuck; I know you feel like the future has its cock halfway down your throat already but you’ve still got 20-30 usable years* ahead of you so really it’s just the very tip. After that you end up in either a wheel chair or a ceiling fan but it’s unavoidable no matter how successful you are so who the fuck cares, you know? Only you, so don’t stress.

    *Statistic made up based off of rich white Hollywood movie stars with personal nutritionists and trainers – but I’m sure you’ll manage.

    1. As always, good points. I’ve stopped thinking about success and my life has improved a lot.

      Real talk: I read this and thought I “liked” it like 8 weeks ago. I’ve been a shit blogger recently.

  3. You’re at your best when you’re being real. Just don’t let it overwhelm you. Don’t think too deep or too far. One day at a time. Nothing magical is likely to happen, but you should have goals and dreams to keep some small fire burning to give meaning to the daily grind of existence. In the meantime, have fun and enjoy as much as you can.

    The meaning of life is whatever your meaning of your life is.

  4. Depression or whatever the fuck you’re going through sucks. Only one good thing comes out of it: You understand when you see a nobody laying in the middle of the street, alone, torn up, and bleeding. You give a nobody a hand, eventually someone will give you one. I don’t believe in God, but I also don’t think a gesture like that is ever wasted.

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