200 Weeks ago fearless leader Mindanao Bob asked me if I’d write a weekly article about my life in the Philippines. I thought about for a day or two and agreed to do it. For years I wrote a monthly report about my life in The Navy and Puerto Rico as a night club owner, and sent it out to all my family and friends scattered around the world, when I found that they were passing it on to others.
Then after Hurricane Hugo decided it would be a good time for me to seek new employment, I moved up to the left coast of Florida to the Clearwater/Largo area and settled in Treasure Island Florida, right by Saint Petersburg.
I took a job as an assistant manager for a Bar Liquor Store chain called ABC Liquor, thinking to myself; “What an original name.” Then they made the mistake of promoting me to manager and giving me a one year employee pin. I stopped in every bar in town that night looking at the cheap ass pin thinking, I’m settling into something that I don’t want. This is not the “PAUL” that I grew up with.
The next day I gave them three months notice and went to the Coast Guard Office in Miami and applied for my Merchant Marine Document (Z-Card) and then applied to the Military Sealift Command (Pacific Fleet) for a job. When my ninety days was up the district manager asked me why? I just said: “Ralph, you never should have given me that dumb pin.” I next went out on the Gulf of Mexico as a shrimp fisherman, but found that it stunk; both while there and for a week or two after you got back in port. I was still waiting to hear from San Francisco about that job as a Seaman.
Now I got the call to fly out to San Francisco to be hired and attend schools required for employment, schools such as Lifeboatman, shipboard firefighting, and damage control, and all the same schools that I’d attended while in the Navy. But they were paying for my room at the Holiday Inn, plus $35.00 a day to eat and full salary I shut my mouth and waited the six months out there for my first ship, thinking; “Their paying me to do this?”
Now I’ll fast forward, bypassing many ports of call, meeting and marring Mayang, building the house on the mountain and retiring from that easiest of all jobs that I’d ever had. But remembering all the while any job that you love is really not working. Even after retiring I still kept with my monthly news gram to family and friends. And since I had a computer but no access to that interweb thingy I had to put it on a disk (No USB then) and go to an internet café to print and e-mail it out. My friends here in the Philippines would make copies of my missives and leave them in the local watering holes that we hung around in.
Then the RAO (Retired Affaires Office for retired Military) asked me if they could post my articles on their web site, then I got hooked up to the World Wide Web, and a friend told me to check out LiP, and I found it to be a good thing.
On the LiP forum some guy posted something, which one of my articles pertained to, so I cut and pasted it onto there. I was trying to jack the dudes jaw, but it just made him laugh. It’s hard to stay mad even on line if someone cracks you up.
The next day I received an e-mail from some guy named Bob Martin, asking if I would like to write for his site. Well since I was a reader of Bob’s and noticed that the other writers which I found them all to be talented and thoughtful folks I said to myself: “Self, why the hell not but Bob, are you sure you want this?”
But I made up my mind that anything I wrote will have to had happened to me or my family and friends who live here on these enchanted Isles. And using my odd sense of humor as a gauge, it would have to be funny as I wanted to point that all things can be funny if you just take the time to think about it. Plus if you can laugh at it you won’t go ballistic on innocent local people;
Well in that light, I know I’ve failed, but I promised myself, that just like making love, I’ll keep doing it until I get it right, as both are worthwhile.
So as you groan your way through this my 200th Article, may I point out (Brag about) that not once have I missed submitting an article to my friend Mindanao Bob Martin, (AKA: Fearless Leader) because that my friends, is pure Military training kicking in.
So to our faithful and thoughtful readers of LIP, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support and great comments, for without them we’d be spinning our wheels and that reminds me; ‘No the New Ole Honda is not done.” Did you like the way I snuck that in?
Now to the two or three people who have attempted to FLAME me I can only ask one question; “What the hell were you thinking? And did you like the way I came back and politely told you to pack sand and made you enjoy it? But to all others once again, I send my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you really great folks too whom shall ever forth be known as LIP’ers
And to Mr. Robert Martin; thank you sir, for affording me the privilege of writing for your fine web site!