Monday, May 22, 2006


I recently had a visitor from America.

Listen to this: I hadn’t seen this guy for 60 years! We had been classmates at Portola Junior High School in San Francisco for three years. (He graduated, I got left back.)

The last time I saw him (at Balboa High School) he was counseling me, in a very reserved way, to improve my behavior. I was nearing my 16th birthday, had never gotten a grade above an F in high school, and was generally despised by the faculty. Expulsion was in my future.

But here we were, 60 years later, dining at a lakeside restaurant in Bangkok with my Thai family.

I had never talked so much in my life. We exchanged story after story (he had led a colorful life).

I told him that besides my 3 (sometimes 4) kids, the neighborhood women often gathered in our patio in the evening. I told him I enjoyed having a lot of people around.

“But you said none of them speak English,” he reminded me.

“I like to have them around,” I said. “I don’t want to interact with them.”

Psychologists probably have a label for this. Who cares?

In exchanging stories, the subject came up of ladies wearing long sleeves to cover up things.

I dated this lady one time. She was wearing sleeves down below her wrists but I gave it no thought. We had a great time. She seemed a perfect fit for me. I must interject that, at the time, I had little or no experience with American women.

When I took her home, she invited me in, but started complaining of a severe headache.

I’m thinking I should go but she insists I sit down and wait while she gets an aspirin.

She comes back out in a negligee, complaining that the aspirin did no good, the headache is worse and she’s starting to feel sick.

That did it for me. I started to bail, saying I’d call her tomorrow. She follows me to the door and gives me the wettest kiss I’d had to that time. That, I figure, gives me leave to feel her ass good before leaving, which I did. And I’m out of there.

I’m thinking we had something good going there. If it weren’t for her getting sick, we might have got something on. I got aroused there and even thinking about it later.

So I call her the next day and everything is changed. She’s cold as hell. She’s not interested in seeing me again. She complains that I’m too sober, or words to that effect.

I was disappointed because I thought we had really hit it off.
But I saw her often after that. I started dating her best friend so we met often on social occasions and even double dated occasionally. She got this European guy. I forget exactly where he was from, but even I have to admit he was a great looking guy, and charming too.

My girlfriend, her best friend, started telling me stories in our bed. Seems that, for some reason, he can’t get it up for her. Lady Longsleeves loves him so much she cries on his chest all night. He cries too.

I can imagine what she says to comfort him. “You poor, poor man. You don’t have to prove yourself to me. I know you’re a real man.”

I’d be in tears too.

“What’s with the long sleeves,” I ask my girlfriend. “Why does she wear them all the time?”

“Didn’t you know? She’s hiding scars on her wrists. She’s tried suicide twice.”


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