Monday, January 31, 2011

Pistol whipping and Carabao

"Matt, Matt," he said followed by several sharp raps on the door. I had been dozing lightly. "Go jogging na, jogging."

I got out of the bed and put in my contacts. I ran some toothpaste over my teeth to freshen my breath. My toothbrush was back in Bangkok, 95 kilometers away, about 60 miles. I opened the door to my shared bedroom. My roommate is a tall skinny Japanese guy that stayed up late last night and got drunk, oh those Japanese!

A small brown table sits right in front of the door for the Thais and the farang to eat at. A few feet further in front is the ring, and to the left are the heavy bags. It is a simple gym, and has the usual Thai glamour to it.

I slipped on my shoes and stretched waiting for the critical mass of folks to start jogging. Today the run was mainly myself, a 15 year old named Tam who led the way, a russian boy and his father. We ran down the streets of Kanchanburi province, mainly along a khlong. The view was uninspiring and mainly composed of roadside buffalo shit, the passing motorbike, and a heap of destroyed spirit houses. After we had ran 5 kilometers we returned to the gym, another 5 kilometers. Then it was the glorious living of Muay Thai.

On my way out to the gym in the mini van from Victory Monument to Thamaka I finished reading Ernest Hemingway's "Across the River and Into the Trees." Hemingway in his usual terseness tells the story of an aged colonel who falls in love with a young woman while in Venice, or some fancy European city. The book opens up with the colonel doing what men do, hunt. The former soldier takes exacting shots at ducks while in some sort of contraption called a blind. When he is not shooting he is drinking gin. Eventually pleased, at least to some degree, with his day of sport he returns to the city where he speaks an endless amount of lovesick babble to his sweetheart. Their conversations are ridiculous and when they are not, they are boring prattles about food.

"Excuse me," he said. "Be comfortable, honey dog, please. You asked me to tell you. (she wanted him to talk about the war.)"
"I'm not your honey dog. That must be someone else."
"Correct. You're my last and true and only love (vomit). Is that correct? But you asked me to tell you."
"Please tell me," the girl said. "I'd like to be your honey dog if I knew how to do it. But I am only a girl from this town that loves you (gag)."
"We'll operate on that," the Colonel said. "And I love you (barf). I probably picked up that phrase in the Philippines."

There are some redeeming aspects to their affair of the heart. He teaches her how to pistol whip a fool!

"Incidentally, Daughter, the weapon, not the old pistol, the real pistol, has missed more people in combat than probably any weapon in the world. Don't ever let anyone give you one unless you want to hit people on the head with it at Harry's bar. ...hit him with the barrel, not with the butt. The butt is awfully slow, and it misses and if it lands you get blood on your hands when you put the gun away." p.184

Sage words Hemingway.

Along with learning how to pistol whip I've also been studying my Thai. Next week I hope to have this song by Carabao memorized as all the trainers have asked me, repeatedly to sing it. Next week I said I would do so.

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