What’s Good

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This selfie was taken in Hanoi Vietnam at the lake where John McCain was shot down in 1967.

I didn’t go out last night which feels great today. I knew I’d have a good day if I stayed in, so last night I jacked off three times in an hour to kill my dick and make sure I wouldn’t go out prowling. It’s a good life hack. A jack hack. I got everything done today.

It’s late on Sunday in Asia and I go back to war in a few hours. Just wanna finish this post first. I gotta feed you animals and keep my BRAND propped up and slyly redirect you to my Instagram.

I can tell you right now that this post won’t be as good as the average Colton post, because I’m too busy to spend my requisite few days on the process of getting it right. So busy, so fuck art. Three jobs. 4.5 hours of sleep each night or something like that. Except on Saturdays, when I sleep until about 3.00 pm. That lie-in is my weekly resurrection. When I get up I feel like I can run through a brick wall.

So busy. Got the money train in top gear. My social life is collapsing but I’m too busy to care. I still have girls who will sleep with me at the drop of a hat since I’m so busy, because when you’re busy your absence makes you seem mysterious. I’m working on videos and I have this secret blog and I’m working on some other shit and so I have a superiority complex when I regard my peers, which isn’t the best thing, but to be fair is much better than having an inferiority complex. I’ve had an inferiority complex before, and that is like being in Hell before you actually die and go to hell. Be arrogant if you can. It’s good.

I’m so busy. But then the money comes and you remember what it’s all about. Last Friday I replaced my old laptop with the flickery screen, and that felt good. Today I replaced my old motorcycle helmet that had half the padding missing. Materialism gets a bad rap on memes and whatever but it can really turn your shit around, let me tell you. I’m sitting here with a beer in a mug so cold it could have been just pulled out of cryo freeze. I have this beer and a roll of cash from my third job in my pocket. Let me say again – money feels good. I completely empathize with all corruption and all manner of criminal activities. I’d be a criminal too if I were smarter and/or braver.

Today I’m 30 and a half. Today is also Mother’s Day. My mom is a babe. Her genes are the reason I still look 29 and a half, instead of 30 and a half. If I never drank I’d look 25. But dude, you gotta drink. Drinking is good. Don’t you realize what I’m saying? Everything is good. This is the new me. The positive me, the sunshine-and-poodles me.

This is my second year in Hanoi. 2017 was pretty bad, a long chain of minor disasters, as I kept trying and failing to find my big boy pants. My development was severely arrested. The first part of 2018 wasn’t great either. In my memory this time period will forever be filed as The Dark Ages.

Now I’m better, now I’m good. I do more now. You don’t need any advice except: do more. Just do more. That’s it. When in doubt, do more.

Doing this 2018 thing is like replaying a video game level, knowing what I didn’t know before. I got the cheat codes I know where the ambushes are. I’m ready. I have more money more friends more girls a better house a better bike than last year. And a better haircut. I also get more dopamine this year because I’m now on Instagram. I’m a better writer now – my vocabulary isn’t as deep and my takes aren’t as hot, but I’m a sharper editor. I’ve eased off the illegal substances. It’s just, it’s… all smoothing out. I’m not bragging, I’m trying to express my gratitude now, in case something shitty happens. Maybe someone is out there praying for me. Or maybe one of my prayers from a long time ago finally kicked in. Who knows. There’s no prayer activation timeline in the Bible.

So busy. I can only lift twice a week instead of four times, as I did in 2017. So this year I have smaller biceps. Last year my bicep veins could be seen from space. So on second thought maybe 2017 was better.

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All Aboard the Bandwagon

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This child will live out the rest of his life unaware of the fact that he’s Instagram famous.

I have been ignoring this blog because I’ve been on Instagram a lot. My stats here on WordPress are diving. My stats look like the graphs of the ’08 Wall Street Crash. So it has been easy to get drawn in by the shiny lure of Instagram because there is an actual audience on Instagram. My captions are adored there. My captions astonish me when I re-read them the next day. I am a legitimately fantastic writer, likely in the top 5% who ever lived. People come up to me in person and tell me that they love my Instagram. Bad photos, they say. But great captions. For a while I thought I was already dead and in Hell because that’s what spending dozens on hours crafting and honing amazing WordPress.com posts that only get 25 views feels like. By contrast getting Instagram felt like getting paroled out of Hell.

Follow me @bigtallbenny.

Read This Thing I Wrote About My Trip to Laos

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A while back I took a visa run to Laos and wrote a little blurb about it for my “legit” blog, my public blog, which is benjaminhasablog.wordpress.com, named so because my real name is Ben. Most of you know that but if you didn’t know, well hi.

Read it right here.

There are other posts too that are pretty good. But I’m annoyed I can’t be very honest in them. If I’m honest, and talk about stuff like graveyard sex as I do on this blog, I’ll never get hired anywhere.

All right. Now I have to go rest. I’m still pretty sick and tomorrow I have to do a beer run, which entails drinking 15 beers over the course of 4 miles. It’s gonna suck but will reap mad social media gains. And hey that’s what life is all about isn’t it.

Colton, out!

 

 

 

The Good-For-You Weekly Review (#7)

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Saturday:

I didn’t feel much like going out but I did anyway. Most of the night I just had awkward conversations with people. Crashing from small-talk-platitude to small-talk-platitude. I am working too much to have anything interesting to say. But then eventually I was having sex with a Danish college student on a ledge in a graveyard. I came home at 5.00 drunk and bragged about it to my housemates. I had to do it twice because the first time they were chattering and didn’t hear me. So I repeated myself. The British and Irish guys thought it was cool. But the French girl who lives with us was legitimately worried about ghosts.

Sunday:

I woke up really late and ate two hamburgers. After that I did some burpees and ran 6 miles. My shirt weighed a few pounds by the time I finished. I got back to my house all sweaty and filthy like I’d just survived a battle. The British and Irish guys were there with some girls and everyone was getting high. No one seemed very impressed that I had just run so far. The girls in town all fuck them, these British and Irish guys, because they’re funnier than I am. The girls only fuck me if they haven’t met one of these dudes first. This really bothers me, and makes me insecure.

Monday:

I joined Instagram, and I’m disappointed I waited so long. I’m pretty good at it. I write long, sly, self-aware captions. Most people on IG post boring trash. Straight-down photos of dinner, or across-the-table photos of their friends eating dinner. This makes me happy to see because I know I can beat them. I’m different. I am new to the game but I already know I’m going to be the king. Just online. I’m not cool enough to be the king IRL.

Some people say social media is bad spend more time in reality. Hey man if reality was that great we wouldn’t have invented smartphones. Social media is a great thing. We’re slaves with jobs we hate. We need a nice distraction, a few hundred times a day.

And also people forget we are still in the earliest stages of social media. 15 years from now when we’ve mind-melded ourselves with AI completely, the days of carrying a glowing rectangle around will be quaint. 2018 Instagram is some quaint shit. We are still in the past.

Tuesday:

I went over to the South African girl’s house for some textbook Netflix & Chill. I made a mistake by picking Thor: Ragnarok, a movie I actually wanted to see. It was really good. But sexual activity occurred halfway through and she broke the laptop screen as she shut it and we couldn’t finish the movie after. So now I’ve only seen half of Ragnarok. I didn’t get to see the climax. I would get Netflix myself and finish it but the movie isn’t actually on Netflix. She torrented it. I don’t know how to torrent. I always get a virus when I try to torrent.

Wednesday:

Vietnamese holiday so there was no work. Some festival for some dead king. I wrote a book about Vietnam where I had to explain what this holiday was about, but I have since forgotten. I don’t tell anyone I meet that I’m a legitimately published author. I want them to find out only if they Google me.

The girl and her roommate were up and doing stuff at like 8.00 am. Girls always get up early and start doing stuff. I pretended I didn’t hear anything and kept sleeping until 10, even though as a 30 year-old man that’s kind of weird. Weird to be a fully-grown adult and lay about in someone else’s residence like a teenager. But I work hard, and also work out hard, and all of it exhausts me on a psychic level. So I don’t care. I’ll keep sleeping.

We saw Avengers. Thanos had a good point, about overpopulation. As a primary school teacher I have an extremely disapproving view of reproduction and the concept of children in general. I liked the ending, a lot. Cap should have been in the movie more.

Thursday:

I felt good. I was sober all week because I still felt sick and was still popping cold meds. Hadn’t done recreational drugs in a little while either. Now don’t take the previous sentence as one of the main reasons I felt good. I am a big pro-drug advocate so I’m looking forward to dabbling in illicit substances again. You gotta have a treat every so often.

But anyway, I felt good and clean and strong. And I wasted this positive energy at my stupid job. Then I went to the gym after work which is probably unnecessary, but if I don’t keep the nightclub muscles pumped up I’ll never get graveyard sex again. Later after the gym I drank a bit and ate a full pizza.

Friday:

This morning I had to grade a lot of essays by Vietnamese university students. Every sentence had like eight things wrong with it. It was like mental crossfit.

Then I had to edit song lyrics for a music video our channel is making. They were translated from Korean and then into Vietnamese and then into English. (Which means they made as much sense as the Bible haha BOOM!) I had to edit them so that they made grammatical sense, then jam each line into a certain amount of syllables, all the while preserving the original, flowery intent of the songwriter. This was not easy. This was mental interval training. Or mental jiu-jitsu. It was some bullshit, is what it was.

I went to my other teaching job afterward and administered two hundred speaking tests to Vietnamese third graders.

You: How old are you?

Third Grader: Fine thank you.

You: No, how OLD are you?

Third Grader: Fine…?

This, two hundred times in a row. It will begin to break you. I should be thankful my jobs are so poisonous. They’re forcing me to do what I like.

I have this Saturday and Sunday off. More Vietnamese holidays I don’t remember the details about. I think I’m ready to make some stuff happen. I’m too good at writing to keep doing this stupid shit. I’m too interesting and funny. I’m entitled to do what I’m good at. You gotta know your value.

However I’ve seen the future, and I’ll go out this weekend and then be right back here again next Friday. The vortex keeps me where I’m at. I made a similar declaration last week and the graveyard sex made me too complacent to make moves.

The Good-For-You Weekly Review (#6)

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Please kill me

Weekly recap of how life is going for Young Fred Colton. 

Saturday: Everyone was drinking out by the lake and I rolled up around midnight. The Barbie girl from Kansas City was ignoring me. I thought she forgot we made out two weeks ago, but she was running game. When her friends left she hung back to see what I was doing. There’s no better feeling than that. When you know it’s locked up. Like, you know when you throw an apple core at a trash can that’s really far away, like about twenty feet away, and it goes in? That’s the feeling of I’m-about-to-get-laid. It never gets old. She used to be a fundamentalist Christian, like I used to be. She was married for 10 years. Evangelicals tend to marry young so they can pop one off. I almost did that. I dodged a full mag of bullets on that one.

Speaking of bullets, with girls I have a bulletproof itinerary. Put her on the back of my bike, which is less of a bike than a loud death rocket. A manual motorcycle, with the clutch you gotta pull, shows supreme agency. And I can only imagine what the unnecessarily intense engine vibrations do to her labia.

Then, drive her to the Circle K for some cans, then take her to the lakefront, then talk shit for about 45 minutes. Then say “let’s go,” and we go to mine. I have a joint in my room and cigs. We take these things out to the balcony. I don’t really smoke; these items are for her. I only turn the soft light on. I lazily fingerpick some Top 40 songs on the acoustic. I haven’t learned a new guitar song in two years.

The double shot of vice each weekend is so necessary. Monday through Friday is ten hours a day of stress, exponentially building, building, building. Unfulfillment is reaching critical mass. If I never got laid I would have jumped off the Nhat Tan airport bridge a few months back. You gotta have some treats to keep you doing. Don’t let anyone tell you partying and meaningless sex are meaningless. These are very great things. She was on her period, which is my favorite.

Sunday: I drove her home at about noon and I was making her laugh a lot. It was raining a little but not so much you couldn’t drive the bike. Weekends are a precious side-trip into an alternate universe where I’m cool and funny. Because most of the time I’m boring and slow-witted. My mental OS has a few glitches in it, always has. I tend to say things that don’t quite make sense. That’s why I write. Because I can keep redoing it.

But the One Night Stand is a simulation I have replayed so many times that I can see things before they happen. I am inhabiting a cool character and I do it well. I have a fully-loaded clip of stock responses. My stories are breezy and tight. But after a little bit of time I burn through the façade and become weird again. My life is a body swap movie. I’m convinced that I am a jock being driven around by a neckbearded film geek.

We went to Snake Village in the evening. It’s a tourist destination. They bring out a cobra in a burlap sack and drop in on the marble in front of you. The cobra cocks its cool little head back in a power pose. It doesn’t know it’s about to be ritually executed, and then dissected and Instagrammed. Before it starts to slither around too much, the wrangler smashes it with a steel rod, stunning the little beast, then puts a boot on its neck, and slices its throat with scissors. We drank the snake blood mixed with vodka. Later, I could feel a fever coming on.

Monday: I called out of work and popped codeine to stay ahead of my fever. Monday AM was the only time I could feasibly take off. After lunch I reported back to the battlefront. This week was a long desperate sprint to stay ahead of my symptoms. Slamming fever meds all day, and each evening blasting the bike back home to get for a fast nap, a 30-minute power-up between shifts. I can’t get sick. I’m not rich enough to get sick.

Tuesday: We were supposed to start shooting these dumb ESL videos at 8.30 am but had to wait until 9.30 because the camera guys didn’t have the right memory card or some shit. I’ve been with this company for over a year, and we have never once started on time. But I maintain a flawless attendance record so I’ll have more ammo at future negotiations.

Shooting is so boring that my brain’s screensaver comes on. I am just a programmable android. They feed me words and I spit them out. A few views rack up. People sign up for the online English course. I do this company a great service and they’re underpaying me and it makes me angry. I know the CEO comes from a rich family. I know there’s money. I am having fantasies about whipping my dick out (figuratively!) at the contract discussion in May. What a sad fantasy.

Wednesday: I was in the café for a long lunch. I overheard some ESL teachers telling war stories about dealing with loud students. “Mate, I yelled BE QUIET, and the kids were stunned! They all stopped talking!”

I don’t know about you, but I’m always impressed when when a 6-foot tall man can scare some third-graders. Why would you ever deploy Navy SEALs, when the real tough guys are over here working for LanguageLink.

Thursday: I listened to a podcast with some millionaires on it and promised myself I would quit all my jobs soon. I have to somehow make money with writing. Life is too horrible otherwise. I’m fortunate to be employed, in this new world order where employment itself is slowly vanishing. But doing jobs I don’t like is damaging on a spiritual level.

I probably won’t make any changes. I’ll keep suckling from the teat. I’m not smart enough to break out. But the fantasy of breaking out can keep you going.

Shame on you millionaires who go on podcasts to tell people to quit their jobs. You are false prophets. Most people stuck in bad jobs are too dumb to know how dumb they are.

Friday: I was going to post this from the cafe in the two-hour gap I have between jobs in the afternoon, but the chain fell off my bike and I got stranded out on the highway.

Unfortunately, I got the chain fixed and was still able to get to work on time.

The Good-For-You-Weekly Review (#5)

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Me circa 2018, right when I was at peak douche.

For Friday, April 13th, 2018

Saturday: We were on our bike trip. Since we were out of the city and away from the nightlife and the bright lights we went to sleep early, at 11.00 pm. I usually don’t go to bed until 6.00 am on Sunday. I thought I’d feel refreshed and vibrant and mature by going to bed at a reasonable hour, but actually I missed staying up until dawn and passing out drunk.

Sunday: I had sex for the first time in two weeks. That dry spell was scary because I base my self-worth by how often I have sex. This is a severe issue that would be delved into at rehab at some point in the future if I were the kind of person who could afford rehab. I’m white but not THAT white. I’m won’t-get-shot-by-cops white, but not money-for-rehab white.

Anyway she was South African. The last three have been South Africans actually. By chance they were all white. This is my dick’s apartheid era. Their accents are funny. Like, they pronounced “rice” as “rawss.” An accent that’s sort of how aliens in movies speak English, after they have somehow become fluent.

She lives in a sitcom. As in she has a gay best friend and a brash, slightly-less-attractive housemate who both provide commentary and ask sassy questions to drive the plot forward. I was this episode’s guest star. I wonder how I fared in the sexual recap. Girls always break down sexual encounters like ESPN. She likely told her friends that I don’t have a six-pack and the gay one will judge me a little for that. Well, whatever. I used to work the abs, but making them pop takes about two extra hours a week or so of precise, specialized effort. This is a waste of time; the majority of girls decide if they’re going to fuck you before you take your shirt off. Also, I do not live near a major body of water and I never go to the pool.

Monday: Instead of writing, I visited my dealer before he left for Singapore and then got high and decided spontaneously to try to learn some card tricks on YouTube. Haha, it didn’t work. (see: “rehab”, above)

Tuesday: Instead of writing, I wasted like 2 hours on Twitter at night. It annoys me how many funny people there are out there. How dare someone walk the earth being more interesting than me? Reading their shit makes it hard for me maintain the delusion that I’m some undiscovered genius who just hasn’t been discovered yet. I’m 30; I would know if I were special by now. The worst thing about getting older is that you receive ultimate confirmation that you’re not a star, you don’t have the X-factor.

Wednesday: I did write, and I posted this thing. I put it online and now it’s gone. The material is burned. Now I need new thoughts. But it takes so long to collect new thoughts.

I listen to a lot of podcasts with comedians and they talk about working on bits for years until they’re ready, testing things out with multiple audiences until it all clicks. Writers don’t really get to do that, you only get one shot at the target.

Thursday: I ran for about an hour to train for a charity beer run. My left ACL is hurting a little bit. If I get injured and can’t work out, I will probably kill myself. Being in shape and handsome is of paramount importance to me. I must be in shape, have a good haircut, have Ray-Bans, and have a well-moisturized face (see photo above). Some guys can get by and get laid on personality alone, they have a magnetic vibe. They are fun to be around. I am a chore to be around. My personality isn’t good enough for me to be a bum. God that would be nice, to not go to the gym and just wear T-shirts with holes in them and still get ass.

Friday: Tonight is the South African girl’s birthday party. On Monday morning I saw her check her period tracker app. She was on day 25 then. So that means tonight she’ll be on it, I think. I love period sex – I have a designated period towel at my house – but girls can get squeamish about it. I hope she’s down. We’ll see. Anyway, have a good weekend everyone.

Diary of a Whiny Prick

Most people are predictable, and set their alarms for predictable times like 6.00 am. They all rise, shower, and leave their homes at the same time. And therefore they are all in line for coffee and piled up at the reds at the same time. To get a jump on these lemmings, you should probably wake up early, like at 5.55 or so. Well today I woke up at 6.05.

I battled through the city and eventually, somehow, made it to work. I boarded the elevator with the rest of the walking dead. Everyone had aching desperation in their eyes. Everyone up early to wait in lines to do something they hate. Somehow, office shootings are not a thing.

And now I’m at my desk. Well, not a desk. It’s really just a huge table, big enough to land a chopper on, that I have colonized a corner of. CEOs love to jam you all together. CEOs, unfortunately for us, draw inspiration from PR photo releases of the Facebook HQ. CEOs love an open floor plan office space. They proclaim that it’s for synergy, but of course it’s to maximize square footage.

I hear some vile human being nearby clipping their fingernails. Someone who spends a full 16 hours of their existence outside of work each day, but still chose to clip their nails at work. Snip snip. One of the sounds of synergy. Meanwhile, some other dipshit is loudly chewing an omelet he’s eating out of Tupperware. Some other piece of trash is watching a karaoke music video, sans headphones. And some other motherfucker is clicking a pen top repeatedly. Somehow, office shootings are not a thing. I pull up a Thunderstorm & Rain Sounds video on YouTube and stick in headphones. Ah, headphones. These are why office shootings are not a thing. I jack up the decibels. I’ll be deaf by 35, and it will be worth it. I can’t wait to be deaf.

I’m not good at my morning job. It was mine by a weird twist of luck. It fell out of the sky and right into my lap. I’m costing my company money but they haven’t figured it out yet. I’m not good at any of my jobs, actually. Teaching, for example. All my students over the years – thousands of them – grew up to be stupid. All my fault. The ripple effect of my apathy has destroyed countless futures.

I am not cut out for any slot this world has to offer. Well, I am a good writer. But I am also an honest writer and I tend to write about fears and insecurities, meaningless sex, and bumping cocaine. Mom can’t know about these things. So I can’t really try to expand my platform, go public, and monetize this shit. The worst thing that could happen to me is if people found my blog. What a dumb little corner I have painted myself into. I have been scheming for years, but there is no way out of the office. Not for me.

Anyway, this past weekend I rode up into the mountains. I was a little upset because one of the guys on the trip was funnier than I was. My best friend and his wife were there and I lied to them about how much money I have (really it’s almost none) and about my five-year career plan (there isn’t one). But still, the trip was great. Taking the road up above the clouds is adrenaline for the spirit.

Returning to the city, by contrast, was not great. The city is an unnatural, oppressive environment. It is a savage arena in which you fight the Money War. You shouldn’t stay there for too long. You should come in, get your money, and get the fuck out. But it’s kind of impossible to get enough money to be able to get the fuck out. So, I will stay here and continue being just like most people.

Hey, Whatever For Now

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I am going on a bike trip this weekend. Work is not happy about my absence and has issued dark threats about replacements. This angered me on a deep level. Not because a job I hate wants to replace me — be my fucking guest — no, it incensed me because it reminded me that on this Earth I am not a person deserving of care and attention, I am actually just a dollar sign. I want you to smile at me because you want to. Not because you’re hungry.

I still write every day but I am just going through the motions. I have filled up an 80-page Word doc with new stuff. None of it is good though. It lacks the snap I used to have, in like 2016. I was a better writer back then. Ah, the heyday*. My shit was high-concept. I found nice, sharp angles on things. My words were perfectly-deployed weapons. I was doing it right; I could write because I read a lot more back then. And I also never got high. Proficiency can vanish. I’ll get it back though. I have to, it’s my thing. I’m bad at everything but this.

Driving into the mountains will cost me money but it’ll keep me alive. I think of it as buying influence.

***

*I also got laid a lot more in 2016 too. I miss that more.

 

More Soon

No Weekly Review this week due to international travel, which included a delay at the Hanoi airport as I have to bribe the parking lot dude to get my motorcycle back (I lost my ticket). I was on my way back from Bangkok. I had to leave Vietnam and re-enter for consular reasons. It’s not as official as it sounds.

More Gray Sky Paradise soon, too. Haven’t had time. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 are still in the concept phase. Their word docs are literary construction sites. The materials are there, but they need to be cut up and shaped and assembled.

But yeah, be back soon. Then I can continue being a cool 30 year-old adult male with a secret WordPress blog. In the meantime, I’ve been dropping some pretty funny tweets. Oh yeah, like a cool 30 year-old would. Also in the meantime, I hope you have a good weekend and that you get drunk.

The Good-For-You Weekly Review (#4)

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Same shit different day. Me circa 2018 when I was engaged in constant, grinding, low-paid corporate warfare.

For Friday, March 23rd, 2018
Saturday: I went to this rave.
Sunday: I got hit on my way to work and pinned between a car and another motorcycle. The little cable that feeds off the front wheel got ripped out, so the odometer and speedometer are dead now. Every single time you drive in ‘Nam, you spin the barrel on the revolver again. I think it’s cool that it’s so dangerous. It makes merely surviving your commute a noteworthy feat.
Monday: I found an English bookstore in Hanoi and spend 180,000 VND ($7) on a book by some Swedish dude. I didn’t finish the last three books I bought either. I wonder how long I’m going to keep buying books and keep lying to myself about finishing them. I don’t think I’ll ever finish a book again. Reading, or writing one.
Tuesday: I worked from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm, and then went to the gym from 7.30 to 9.00. This is what I do pretty much every day, because I need to buy new shoes, and replace my laptop that keeps crashing, and I need plane tickets to go to a few weddings. These things are not cheap, so I have to stay on the treadmill. I feel like a monster is chasing me. I feel like a rich slave. I have a pocket of money, but at what cost? I have become a bland, boring dolt. All I do is work, and so nothing happens to me and I have nothing to say. I feel myself fading out of existence. This is the dark side of financial responsibility. It takes your spark away. You devolve into a fucking Dilbert. Hustling too much, man! I am consuming lethal amounts of caffeine each day. To keep myself going I sniff the money I have hidden in the pages of a James Elroy book, which itself is hidden amongst my dirty laundry since the landlord’s nephew is a fucking weirdo who goes through our rooms sometimes.
Wednesday: I bought a ticket to Bangkok next week to see my best friend (one of the dudes getting married) and then realized we’d fucked up the dates, and he won’t even be there. I’m still going though.
Thursday: I did my sprints by the lake and mapped out the course so I finished at my buddy’s house. He has this little artistic glass bong that looks like an alien artifact and some hella strong weed wax. He manages a software company here, and he too feels like a rich slave. Unlike me, he has six figures in the bank. His company provides a housing allowance. I’d like to have what he has, someone else would like to have what I have, and he wants to have what someone else has.
Friday: This morning I pretended to be on a phone call so I wouldn’t have to talk to this British chick I sort of know in the store. My small talk programming doesn’t kick in until about 10 am or so. I mumble and say dumb shit if I see you early in the morning. On the fake phone call I was pretending to talk to my mom and I was telling her that life was going pretty great. You gotta be a cool guy with no problems in your public life. If you have struggles, whine about them on a blog. You know, like a cool guy would do.

Gray Sky Paradise: Chapter 3

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Chapter 3: Lingua Pura

I get to the school with ten minutes to kill so I drink a bia hoi by the temple. I am about to teach middle school and I’m gonna need a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.06% to handle this shit.

In the previous episode of Gray Sky Paradise I mentioned that Vietnamese people are cool with foreigners from a murderous empire living within their borders. Well, it’s not all grace and forgiveness. No one is that nice. They give us visas because they want our English. The locals work themselves to the bone so that their children may learn the language of boardrooms. English can get you out of the village. And so that’s why all of us young alien bandits are here, drinking all the beer and taking all the money.

It only works one way. The word trade runs from West to East, not East to West. For example, Americans don’t pay for Vietnamese slackers to come get drunk and drive motorcycles the wrong way up Fifth Ave. This is because no one wants to learn Vietnamese.

I would feel guilty about my privilege, my superpower of knowing English, if I had opted to play this game in the first place. But I didn’t ask to be here. I just faded into consciousness one day and people were yelling at me to get things. Go get good grades, now go get money! Man, hey, what if I don’t feel like it? What if I don’t like this stupid game? Is there a different planet I can go to?

The old man by the school gate is banging the drum now. Time for class. I pop gum to cover the booze breath and rise to my feet. This old guy is a probably a Vietnam War vet. Only here they’re called American War vets. Did you know that 26 Vietnamese soldiers died for every American? Only the toughest, most bulletproof bastards survived that kill ratio. This old guy spent the late ’60s gutting Marines in the elephant grass. I nod at him as I step on campus.

It’s time to fight a war of my own: three hours of hard time teaching seventh grade. A class of seventh graders is a mob of young monsters who just got a double shot of hormones for their 12th birthday. There are sixty of them in each class, and they have no patience for this pale alien standing before them. Teaching them is difficunt, undignified work. But I do it because it pays better than my consultant gig. I spend more time teaching than consulting. But when people ask what I do, what do I say? Oh, I’m a consultant of course. I’m 30 now so I need this weapon in my small talk arsenal to lend myself legitimacy.

As the curtains close on the schoolday I’m fucking zapped. I toil in jobs like this because I’m not a good enough writer to make decent money writing, which stresses me out, which makes me party more, which makes me write less and spend more, which makes me have to work more. Round and round we go! I’m so tired of being alive.

I put in headphones and return to the bike. It’s Friday evening and I have made it to the top of the mountain. Let’s go party some more.

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To be continued

The Good-For-You Weekly Review (#3)

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For Friday, March 16th, 2018

Saturday: Getting high at that silent disco party, and absorbing all the fake life and fake energy from everyone else who was under the influence, was enough to keep me in the game for at least one more week. It was a blur but I do remember unironically donning my Ray-Bans at 3.00 am.

Sunday: Sundays are always a crash landing. I took a walk between classes with my TA and I didn’t really try to make conversation because I had no energy, and later I felt guilty about being aloof.

Monday: I was writing Chapter 2 of Gray Sky Paradise before my night class and had the nauseous, shattering realization that I’m still about five years or so away from becoming a truly good writer. You can become a surgeon in less time than it takes to become a good writer.

Tuesday: I woke up at 6.00 am and felt superior to everyone who was not already awake, and I worked out twice and felt superior to everyone who only worked out once that day.

Wednesday: I woke up at 7.00 am and I only worked out once; I hated that I was again a common slacker, and I revered the version of myself from Tuesday.

Thursday: I was doing sprints and came to a pause in front of a noodle joint, right as the girl I had sex with on Friday was walking out with her friends. If they had walked out ten seconds earlier, they would have seen me blasting through at top speed. But instead they saw me staggering and gasping, with spit on my shirt.

Friday: This post would be more interesting and funnier if I worked on it more during my lunch break, but on my lunch break I’m going to have sex with the Ukrainian girl from Gray Sky Paradise (Chapter 2). She’s not actually Ukrainian, she’s from Belarus, but I took creative license because “Ukrainian” looks a little cooler on the page than “Belarussian” does.

(EDIT: We didn’t have actually have sex. It was a weird situation.)

Gray Sky Paradise: Chapter 2

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Chapter 2: I’d Call This One “People Watching In The Café,” But It’s Mostly Just Girl-Watching

Chapter 1

I do lunch in a café by the Lotte Tower. There’s a behind-the-palace-walls vibe here. An American woman is chastising the counter staff for giving her a bag of raisin cookies that was baked yesterday. “No, I want them baked today.” I hate white people.

Right now you can find me upstairs by the window. ESL teachers discuss the weather, and some businessmen with vague faces also discuss the weather. You people are all the same! Why are you all so boring? Korean diplomats and their fat children chew vacantly while they do boring things, like taking selfies with their coffee mugs.

The girl who brings me my coffee avoids eye contact, which reminds me that I have colonist in my DNA. When I turn 30, I’ll be the same age my grandfather was when he came here to kill Communists. Not very long ago US Marines were skeet-shooting Vietnamese infants in the rice paddies. If a foreign power ever spilled blood on American soil, we wouldn’t forgive them until the sun burned out. But Vietnam is cool. They let the children of the killers return to the scene of the crime and yell at them about cookies.

A foreign girl, probably French, walks in and she is exquisite. She has a thigh gap and a scarf that is probably made of ancient silk. All the men fix their posture. She makes me self-conscious about how loud I’m chewing my baguette. She doesn’t look at me once, which annoys me. Have I lost it? God damn, I need to get laid, it’s been two days. It was the Ukrainian girl who looks like an Eastern-bloc Zooey Deschanel. I went through her phone when she was downstairs talking to her landlord. It was a who’s-who of local dick, categorized by city of origin. I was saved as Fred Boston. That same day she was also messaging John Liverpool. He wrote lol too much, which is why she didn’t text him back. You gotta know the fundamentals, son! If you show any excitement, these girls will kill you.

My phone vibrates. Rachel has messaged. Hi Rachel. She slept over on Tuesday. There is a party tonight and she asks if I’m going. I am going. But I don’t want to go to the party with her because I want to remain a free agent and find a new girl at this party. I live in a constant panic that there might be some girl somewhere I haven’t kissed yet. It’s always more girls more girls more. I am on an unsustainable scorched-earth rampage. I think I was JFK in a past life.

I read Rachel’s message on the phone’s lock screen but don’t open the message, because then I’ll be active on Facebook and she’ll know I’ve seen it. When I do this I feel like a spy or a dark genius. But everyone does this. Everyone knows this trick.

I have to go to my afternoon teaching job now. As I exit the café, the girls behind the counter giggle. I don’t go for locals. That’s for the short, fat, bald dudes who are too ugly to talk to Western girls. Going local is easy but if you go local it doesn’t count; she’s only with you because you’re not from a village.

But somehow, the white girls I take home when we’re both drunk, and the booze has literally turned us into different people, into hilarious supermodels – well that counts.

I wish I were short and fat and bald, because then I would have been forced to develop a personality. I bet I would have been really goddamn funny. Instead, I’m tall with a good hairline but I’m also kind of boring, so I’m cursed to coast on my looks until I’m 35, which is when my face will melt.

Anyway I hope I get laid tonight for the sake of 35 year-old self.

***

Now I’m riding. Out here on the streets the smoke hangs like a volcanic ash cloud and cops leer from under the bridge. Somewhere, a chicken is being strangled. A man in a Mercedes SUV has parked in the middle of the lane and everyone has to slow and pass his car single file. This one man with money has changed 200 people’s days. I pray that unspeakable evils befall him and his family, and then I roll up onto the sidewalk to get around the jam. We’re still in that last primitive decade before robotic cars so you can still break the rules. The future is really going to suck. As long as it never gets here, I’ll be good.

To be continued

The Good-For-You Weekly Review (#2)

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Friday, March 9th, 2018

Saturday: I bailed on a video shoot I was supposed to help with, and said I had been called into work but that was a lie I was just napping instead, and now the video is blowing up on Facebook and getting mad shares and I sincerely regret not being in it.

Sunday: We went to the banana island in the middle of the river and drank rum on the beach all afternoon, and some old Vietnamese dudes invited us to their barbeque, and they had forearm tattoos signifying they had taken part in the Cambodian invasion of 1978, and they got angry at me when I said I couldn’t chug a full cup of vodka.

Monday: I found a new spot by the lake to do my sprint workouts, right in full view of a few bars – I have to drive ten minutes from my house to get there (and I could easily do sprints in the alley by my house) but that’s not conspicuous enough; I want to be seen.

Tuesday: I got a pay cut at work and didn’t fight it so that they’ll give me a good reference, then at night I got upset about it and did 30 sprints and ate a full meat lover’s pizza.

Wednesday: At dinner someone made a really dumb joke that made no sense, which really relieved me because normally I’m the one who says dumb stuff.

Thursday: I had beer with a tutoring client, a real estate developer, after our lesson and he drinks way faster than I do, which really relieved me because normally I’m the fastest drinker in the group.

Friday: I spent this morning filming some boring videos for the YouTube channel I work for, and what should have taken two hours took three because everyone in the crew kept taking selfies.

Gray Sky Paradise: Chapter 1

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Chapter 1: The Far Easy

HANOI – Friday, early. There was a bike wreck by the pagoda so I am running late to the office. An unfortunate young man on a semi-auto got chewed up by a cement truck. In  Vietnam you often witness some vehicular Darwinism before your first coffee.

I, of course, would rather not be heading into work right now. I would rather have joined my European housemates when they all went out “on the piss” last night and snorted ecstasy in the bathroom at Vibes. They were out until 5.00 am and I think most of them got laid, too. Drinking all night is pretty awesome. My New Year’s Resolution was to drink more. But I’ve been too busy working. Right now my life requires me to go full capitalist.

I park the bike and purchase a banh my sandwich from the old lady in the alley. I am very tall, and some regulars in the nearby café gawk as I pay for my breakfast. Every one of them points and proclaims “hai mét!” (two meters!). Every morning they are shocked to see me. Even though they see me every morning.

Being blatantly stared at always sets my mood on a hair trigger. It reminds me that God gave me the gift of NBA-caliber height, a gift I squandered by not playing basketball (I was always trying to be different and that’s a surefire way to fuck yourself over now and forever). It reminds me that I fumbled my destiny which then somehow led to me slumming about in the Far East.

I get up to the 6th floor and obediently take my desk. I greet my co-workers, a trio of young graduates named Chinh, Linh, and Minh. I once jokingly compared them to Huey, Dewey, and Louie and they didn’t get it. I tried to explain by showing them a picture of the ducks, and they thought I was saying that they looked like ducks. They were offended. Tough crowd out here, man.

I log on to my computer and start pretending to work. This is accomplished by opening a Google Doc my team is working on and typing a blank space into it every few minutes so that it always says “Last edit made 3 minutes ago by Fred Colton.”

Gotta stay sharp this morning though; the CEO is in the office, having one of his “hands-on” days. Every hour or so he suddenly materializes next to me. He’s quite good at this; I have never once heard him approaching. This guy was a Viet Cong sniper in his past life and fought the Americans. In his life before that he was Viet Cong too and fought the French. In this life he would still be Viet Cong, but the wars are over now. He asks me about something work-related and I’m irritated that he is bringing up work, at work. As we discuss matters I subtly shift to adjust my balls. My work khakis are tight in the crotch, and routinely pinch the scrotum. The work khakis are a symbol of the inherent discomfort that comes along with employment.

My job title is “consultant.” The sole qualification for this position was “knowing English.” This is because a long time ago, people who spoke the English language killed everyone else, so now there are actually jobs where all you have to do is know English. How’s that for a lucky roll of the motherfucking dice? My company needed a pet foreigner on staff to legitimize their international communications. When my co-workers ask me to proofread a contract I feel like a high priest with divine knowledge of a secret code. This is the perfect job for an entitled deadbeat like myself. My life in Asia is a simulation in which I can pretend to be special. The name of the simulation is “The Far Easy.”

My co-workers are all bilingual, and I am not, which makes me the dumbest person in the building. They like to practice their English with me.

“Fred,” says Minh. “It is your birthday this weekend?”

“Yes, it’s on Sunday.”

“Cool!” Minh says. “How do you celebrate birthdays in American cunture?

Vietnamese people sometimes conflate the /L/ sound with the /N/ sound, which sometimes gives us words like “cunture” instead of “culture.” I never correct a coworker’s speech unless they ask, because it makes me feel like an imperialist. As a result of this, they continue saying things like “cunture” and “difficunt.”

“We just have birthday cake, pretty much,” I tell him. “Same as here!”

But not really. Vietnamese youth keep their celebrations chill and buttoned-up. They will never explore the full limits of hedonism. In fact, many Vietnamese women don’t drink at all. People over here don’t party like Westerners do. Westerners turn it up. All that comfort becomes numbing and they try to escape said comfort by partying like they’re trying to die. Birthday weekends bring shots and pills (see: “ecstasy,” second paragraph) and an 8.00 am bedtime. Well, actually that’s every weekend. In two days I will be 30. I have many hours of partying to get through before then.

I look at the windows, where my reflection is superimposed against the gray city. I have arrived at my destiny and it’s a weird one.

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To be continued

 

The Good-For-You Weekly Review (#1)

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Saturday: To counteract my limp job performance I went to lunch at my boss’s house; Vietnamese lunches last for about four hours, I’m all for hospitality, but, goddamn – no lunch should be longer than the movie Titanic.

Sunday: My one night stand had to leave at 10.30 am to take her housemate to get an abortion.

Monday: I realized I kind of have a death wish when I crashed my motorcycle into another one who was running a red light (I did it on purpose, to teach him a lesson), then he asked for money, but he left when I drew up to full height (6’7”), took off my helmet, and screamed at him (the best part of living in Asia is standing up and ambushing people with your height).

Tuesday: In the evening I did 5 Duolingo Spanish lessons; this is actually the 8th time I’ve started learning Spanish.

Wednesday: I learned how to play the ukulele in an hour, because the guitar is a highly transferable skill.

Thursday: I changed my Tinder bio to a Justin Bieber quote (“My momma don’t like you and she likes EVERYONE”) and the responses have been encouraging.

Friday: I’ve been up and working and vaguely stressed since 5.45 am – if I don’t get laid tonight, I might drive into a Mack Truck next time.

Drunk Post: Work / Life Balance

A long time ago I had a series on this blog called “Drunk Posts.” Well Drunk Posts are back! Do not go read the old ones, they’re not great. I’m about to clean house on fredcolton.wordpress.com. Everything must go. I’m going to torch the old posts like they’re incriminating evidence. They are incriminating evidence, of me being a bad writer.

Anyway, let’s dive in, muchachos. Here we go on another blog post that will top out at 40 views and not make me famous. So, I’m up late sippin’ some cool, cool Tigers. I have to report to work in seven hours. I feel like the Death Star tractor beam is sucking me in. I’m so tired of working, but then again I am also tired of free time, which I always squander. Well hey you can’t win. That’s how life is. Working sucks, free time also sucks – basically, everything kind of sucks.

I have to work for 10 more years, until I’m 40. When I visited America I discovered that my great-aunt left me a trust fund! So where are my gold diggers at? I am not above partaking in some gold diggers. I’m too boring not to. I get girls currently but it’s only because I’m tall. But all height, no swagger. No wit, all cheekbone. It’s depressing.

Anyway. There is, however, a catch; said trust fund is locked up until 2027. Nine years until I cash in that sweet sweet white privilege. Though by the time I get it, I’ll probably have some dumb kids and will have to take them to Shoe Barn or something. Which will be disappointing. Currently, I am used to spending my money on fun. It feels boring to spend my money on rent. Being responsible and spending my money on my kids will not be fun. I’ve been responsible before, and it wasn’t that great. I can’t wait to leave my wife for a gold digger though. I’m not joking honey! I’m a basic dumbass dork, I will do it!

I’m also working on writing some stuff that might actually be somewhat good, finally. It’s not going to be a book or anything. I’ve given up on books. I’m going to just blog, while wallowing in unfulfilling anxiety, forever. This thing is just going to be a few serialized blog posts, a semi-autobiographical story. A story starring me if I were a little cooler. The blog equivalent of a miniseries, I guess. I’ve spent the last three months hammering away on it and I only have about three pages to show for it. Every single sentence has been disassembled and reconceptualized a hundred times. And after the whole thing is all tightened up and posted, it will still get 40 views, and not make me famous. Three months of work so far! I’m embarrassed with how long it’s taking. Writing is stupid, and I’ll delete this later.

America

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What was it like? The west coast was on fire and back east the winter wind hits your face like acid. It was too cold to go outside so I just holed up in my mom’s attic apartment and never left, like Anne Frank. I was worried about money the whole time I was home. I hustled all fall to save money for the holidays but was fucked as soon as I got off the plane. I live in Southeast Asia, which is a cheap alternate universe where everything costs 1950s prices. There, I am a member of a fake aristocracy. But in America the fakers are exposed. Parking in Boston costs like $50. In New York my friends wanted to get Korean barbeque. It’ll be like $75 they said. They are bartenders in Manhattan; they spend money like rappers. I said yeah that’s fine because I wanted to look like a cool guy who has money. But I’m not that; I am writer, which means I’m fucking destitute. My destiny is to scramble and be a scrub. The whole dinner there were alarms going off in my head as I thought fuck! This삼겹살구이 costs like a dollar a bite! 

A burner phone from Wal-Mart costs $80. The number got recycled and had been reincarnated into my possession. On Christmas Eve some texts came through for the old owner.

hey Daniel

hope you’re doing great and not alone on Christmas

My mom was in the other room with her fiancé. All my friends in Asia were at a Christmas party. All my friends in America had surrendered the game and become fathers, and so they were with their kids. So I actually was kind of lonely! I felt like I was an astronaut stranded on another planet or something. I think I was lonely mostly because it was snuggle season. It’s only during snuggle season when you want a wife. When it’s hot out the burden of the bachelor is light. But when it’s cold outside you just wanna cuddle on the couch and put your hands on some titties. Nonsexually. Just for comfort.

So anyway I really appreciated this misfired text. I texted back thanks! I didn’t say I wasn’t Daniel. So poor Daniel never got the message. Daniel, I am sorry and I hope you weren’t alone on Christmas.

On Christmas I saw my nephew. He’s 3, he is a joy, he’s perfect. He made me want to have my own kids, which made me pretty angry. I should be able to be happy without kids.

Love was in the air at home, it’s cuffing season, everyone is getting serious. My best friend got married. My mom got married too. My stepdad is a cool dude but I won’t go into it because my dad reads this blog and I don’t want to make him sad.

I visited him in Denver. He is out of the closet now. He’s 59, on the grind, making up for lost time. He dyed his hair and beard purple, and he walks through the world like that. He has a level of confidence that I did not inherit. In the 80s he got married and had kids because he had to play it straight in Reagan’s America. So that means the reason I was created was to be part of his alibi, which I think is kind of funny. I like that part of my origin story. It sort of explains my stupid life a little bit.

New Year’s in New York was weird. At 11:59pm we all gathered around and waited for the DJ in the bar to stop the music for the countdown, but the DJ just didn’t give a fuck (time isn’t real man!) and just kept spinning. We all checked our phones at 12:01 and were like shit! We missed it.

I got super high with the girl I was visiting and on the 1st we ate bagels and watched Netflix for 10 hours, with my hands on her titties. Late that night I took a bus to DC. I did miss her. If you got a bad thing with a girl, leave her. And if you got a good thing with a girl, still leave her. I’ll see her again. I don’t like her a crazy amount but if she fucks more people than I do before I see her again, I’ll be upset. It’s all a competition, don’t you see. It’s all about stats.

I’m back in Vietnam. Back in the money, back on the hunnies. 2018 is more of the same. Not a good thing, but not a bad thing either.

 

Professional Writer

Your boy just got his annual royalty check. How much was it, Fred? How much did you make? I made $180. You know, you shouldn’t be able to call an amount that small a royalty. The irony is annoying. Where the fuck can you be royalty with $180? Here is how you pay a writer: you find out what a lot of money was a hundred years ago, and you pay him that. $180 was a lot of money in 1918 I bet. It would be more acceptable to call $180 a royalty if it were 1918. But it’s 2018. I picked a dumb dream, I spent thousands of hours getting good at something stupid. Kids, go pick up a basketball. But don’t write. Get out of the library, before it’s too late! Worst case scenario, your dream will come true.

So here I am, on the other side of a happy ending, back to teaching English. It is profoundly unfulfilling. Life has regressed to a slow montage of unceasing agony. At work I’m in the bathroom watching motivational videos on my phone so I won’t jump off the roof. Fittingly enough, there is a funeral procession outside the office right now, I hear the dirge drums and wailing flutes. It was probably another writer who killed himself. Shit, you know what, right now would actually be a good time to jump off the roof. I could piggyback on this funeral and save my family some scratch. Anyway so when is this nuclear war with North Korea gonna start? Enough with the foreplay. I for one am looking forward to it.

Odyssey

TOKYO – I am on a layover in Narita International’s Terminal 2, where it’s 7am and I’m drinking a $7 Kirin. I just bought a book of short stories by Pulitzer and Booker Prize-Winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro that I knew I wouldn’t finish but I bought anyway. It cost $15, which is way more than a paperback should cost, and somehow I still bought it. Why did I do that? I guess I wanted the Japanese girl at the counter to think I was cool or interesting because I bought a book. No, not a book – a prestige paperback. I don’t know why I specified the counter girl was Japanese. This is Tokyo. Of course she was Japanese. I got to talk to her as I paid, and I like talking to Japanese girls. There’s something about their exotic pronunciation. And their mysterious, breathy cadences. It’s like they have ancient secrets they want to tell me.

Anyway so now I’m in the food court, where I was gonna make an effort to read this book and then I remembered I made a Facebook post in Vietnam before I left, so I put the book away and got on airport Wi-Fi to check the stats and now I’m sucked into the Matrix. As of this moment my post has 65 reactions. God damn this post is killing it. God damn I am cool. 65 reactions is a lot for a middle-aged white man. 65! I am reading the list of people who reacted to it, and imagine that they are all thinking about me right now. Not doing anything else at all; just hanging around, thinking about me. If they are guys, they want to be my best friend. If they are girls, they definitely want to fuck me. When I first tried cocaine, you know what it felt like?* It felt exactly like getting a lot of Facebook likes. Dopamine baby. The first syllable is “dope” for several reasons. I did it again, of course**. But it was never as good.

All right, so I’m on the way to Boston for my first homecoming in years. I don’t want to go; I am extraditing myself in order to fulfill familial duties. I must kiss new babies, attend my mother’s wedding, and charm my grandparents to solidify my spot in the will. It will be a state visit pretty much, I will pretty much be a diplomat. Also, I will be forced to detox, which if I guess I do need. I’ve been getting high and trying to write the next day and that doesn’t work. The drugs zap my head. I feel my thoughts dissolving before they can connect. Feel my vocabulary shrinking. The posts I’m working on become unsolvable mysteries.

As much as I need to go home, I’m fighting it every step of the way. I’m looking out the big windows and I feel like I would kind of rather just stay here in Tokyo. I like the simple novelty of a different country. Especially Japan. There is a mystique to Japan in the winter. There is a clean voltage running through it. You feel like you’re Somebody here, you feel cool here, and you feel smarter than you actually are. Japanese people don’t feel this way in Japan, because they are always in Japan. You don’t feel the novelty on your block, you have to leave. Foreign novelty is why I have exiled myself from the homeland.

Actually that’s only 0.0001% of it. The other 99.999% of it is girls and money. I went abroad because I can’t get girls and money at home. At least not as many as I want. In the homeland, I’m just another clone. Overseas, however, I’m a rare import, a limited edition Ken Doll who doesn’t have to compete for the treats. Being an expat is playing life with the cheat codes on. If it were up to me I wouldn’t go home until the sun burned out.

***

I have put away my phone and returned my attention to my beer. Mmm, it’s frosty. Some nearby American soldiers, who under orders and therefore can’t drink, watch me gulp it down while I’m watching some nearby white girls. Actually, “leering” is the right verb. There is something about Airport Girls. They wear sweatpants and no makeup, so I can extrapolate into the future and see what they will look like as a stressed-out suburban mom. And I like what I see; it’s real. And they project a cloud of hot pheromones because they’re four time zones removed from their last shower. Gah! These pheromones bring out the inner wolf and make me want to charge into battle or something. I wish these girls could know how cool I am, with my 65 reactions.

One of the Airport Girls nearby is a British girl who also lives in Hanoi. She was on my flight here. We have never officially met but have a ton of mutual friends. We have caught eyes already and recognized each other. I get up to find my gate and I have to walk right by her, and if I were a confident, cool man I would say hi. I don’t say hi. I don’t say hi because I’m not drunk. There is no inner wolf, actually. When I was a shy little kid, I assumed I’d be someone different when I grew up. Definitely someone cooler. Instead, I stayed exactly the same. Kids, it doesn’t get better. If you’re shy and weird now, get used to being shy and weird.

The prodigal son is coming home today. I’m 30. When I left I was 26. I went to 10 new countries, I published a real book with a legitimate publisher, got shoulders and biceps, got a motorcycle, banged 100 girls, and dropped acid.***

So much happened, and I can’t believe that none of it changed me.

*If you know me personally, this sentence is not true.

**Neither is this one.

***All at the same time!