June 6, 2023

Happy Holidays–It’s Not as Bad as It Sounds


By the time your ink stained hands have riffled through this month’s Excentric, searching madly for my monthly column, I will be squatting Asian style on a white sand beach somewhere off the coast of Thailand, with only my fears of a tidal wave separating me from tropical nirvana.

Yes, for those who have followed my sordid escapades over the last decade or more, you know that when the holidays hit, I split. Pukapuka, Sri Lanka, Cocoa Island, Ihuro and my present paradise, the Similan Islands off southern Thailand, have become my vacation home as I do my very best to avoid the mainland’s holiday season.

Being here is like being asked to spend the night at the Pink Nectar Cafe, only there are no cur dogs howling late into the night, the women don’t drive Mercedes, in fact I don’t think they drive at all…it might be an age thing. But I’m not sure, and the bill at the end of an evening’s frolic is less than the price of dessert at Reds in Sedona.

I come from the islands of the Caribbean. It was my home for the first 40 years of my life. That is until  several years ago when I was routed from my paradise by a band of coconut wielding tykes—soldiers I came to understand in the army of a bandy-legged despot who was bent on turning my island paradise into a jumping off spot for world domination. He was ultimately killed in a CIA drone strike, but I could never suffer the thought of returning.

In 2008, I swore off the Caribbean and headed west for the South Seas, a place that has lured many a man to his rotting end. With any luck, I will one day join a prestigious list that includes such notable escapees as Robert Louis Stephenson and Paul Gauguin—two men who went to visit and could never face the notion of returning to “civilization.”

I realize it sounds like everyman’s fantasy. But that’s because it is. Mine included, as you will see. Why, we should ask ourselves, do we waste our time rooting like pigs in a truffle patch, trying to hit the “big one” and make as much money as we can so we can spend our wrinkled and liver spotted days lying about a crowded beach, when we could just find a piece of paradise and let the details sort themselves out?

Like Gilligan and the Skipper, we could build ourselves a thatched roof hut, spend our days fishing in a crystal clear lagoon and learn how to ferment mangos or make whatever that intoxicating drink is they spend their days sipping on the diaper-laden beaches of Tonga. I mean, think about it, why do we put up with all this crap when we could run away, find a local girl, hook up and drop out?

Well…I’ll tell you why. We (I’m speaking of white Anglo Saxon males and most white Anglo Saxon females) aren’t programmed that way. We are hard wired to work. That’s how we came to own the islands that we visit when we are wrinkly and liver spotted. It’s how we came to build an economy that is capable of borrowing more money than most nations ever hoped to spend. It’s the reason so many of us drop dead in our 60’s, having never left our desks except to sneak a glance at the new intern, the one in the split skirt and translucent halter top, in the cubicle just two rows over.

Don’t you think that with our collective white-assed intelligence we could have come up with a better way to spend our days? Couldn’t we have realized when the first English ship hit the shore of Tahiti that there was a good reason the men jumped ship?

Why did Captain Cook return to the sordid dank alleyways of less-than-jolly old England? The simple answer is: he couldn’t help it. It sucks, being Anglo. Why couldn’t we have all been born Polynesian, wallowing carelessly about a tropical beach with little regard for taboo or custom?

Alas, we (white-assed Anglos) were destined from birth to wander this world finding more efficient ways to dispense a pina colada, build an atomic weapon or make money selling the unsuspecting public a television show in which they watch other people living their real lives while we put ours on hold.

I realize I’m ranting, but it’s because, in truth, I never made it to the white sandy beaches of southern Thailand. I couldn’t afford it this year. I never left the Baja. I have been hunkered down on the outskirts of Sedona, avoiding the reality that another year is approaching and the journey I set out on 20 years ago left the tracks shortly after Slick Willie left office—about the time the Arabs laid siege on the underbelly of the planet.

I can still hear the cur dogs howl late into the night while the girls in their Mercedes get older, wrinklier and covered in more liver spots with each passing day. And the bill for all this…well, I’m sure you don’t have to have it explained.

Happy holidays from the Pink Nectar. It’s not as bad as it sounds.

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