Before Mr. Martin asked me to write a weekly article here on LiP, I had posted a monthly article on the (Military) Retired Affairs Office Web Site here in Subic Bay Area. The downside was there was no feedback or interaction with the readers. Well sometimes I’d be sitting in a beer joint and introduce myself, and one or two people would ask if I was that Paul Thompson? I wrote about the problems a retiree would encounter living here, but I was talking to readers who had for the most part spent considerable time visiting or living here in the Philippines.
The other side to that was that I could refer to military slang and the occasional “Sea Story” which everyone easily understood. Prior to that when I was sailing on the ships I’d send out a monthly newsletter to all my friends and family (plus an abridged copy to my Mother) every month. To my surprise I found that my Father gave his copy to the editor of his small town (Fish Wrapper) newspaper there on Cape Cod and it was read by the entire population, which was I think was seven or eight people aside from the fish.
The editor, who also was the only reporter, the publisher, advertising editor and delivery boy, but not the printer. The printer was a grisly old coot who had two ship’s shot out from under him as a young Merchant Seaman in WWII. Oh the stories he could tell, and believe me anytime I was in town, I’d seek him out just to hear them.
Then a couple of years ago Bob Martin asked if I would write for LiP? I said yes and found a diverse group of great readers and fellow contributors on Bob’s site and took pleasure reading the feedback and comments every week. (I still do!) I’ve encountered many good writers with many different points of view and subject matter but all very interesting.
I pick subjects that have happened to me during my time on this archipelago called The Republic of the Philippines. I have survived 22 years in the U.S. Navy, 10 years as a bar owner in Puerto Rico, 10 years as a Merchant Seaman, and 11 years living here as a retiree. (I’ve lived here longer but I would leave to catch ships and then return) The way I’ve chosen to view life and deal with it was through humor. As I had found as a young man that no matter how bleak any situation seems, if you looked hard enough you’ll see that there is always a funny side to it. I’ll be the first to admit sometimes it’s hard to find, but I’ll promise you it’s there.
The point of this missive is that for the first time I have hit the wall, total brain fart, no subject came to mind this week. It’s Friday morning and tomorrow (Saturday) I have to send these blank pages to Bob. Woe is me, what shall I do?
The light bulb over my head came on and I said to myself: “Self, explain why you had no subject to write about. Face the truth and admit that you put it off until the last minute. Tell the folks and Bob that you’ve procrastinated until the very last minute, and then tried to fill a page with dribble. Paul you won’t get away with it, you are doomed to fail, stand by to accept the slings and arrows soon to be hurled at you.”
But then I remembered a tried and true old Navy adage: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, try to baffle them with “Bull S–t” But it didn’t work did it? I’ll start earlier next week, I hope!