Over the years as I've raked up the travel miles I sometimes (a BIG SOMETIMES) try to pack according to the political and cultural nature of each country I visit. Don't wear red or yellow clothes at least for this year in Thailand, don't forget that the Philippine plug adapter and the Indonesian version dont fit into each other's sockets, don't bring fake dvd's in luggage if you're driving across the border to Singapore, etc.
Yesterday morning as I hurriedly packed my bags for a day trip to Jakarta I found myself contemplating the book I'm currently reading. It's called the Plunging Point by Lawrence Collins and Warren Read about the world of intelligence from an Australian perspective. With a mixed bag and sometimes strained relationships between the Aussies and the Indonesians I caught myself over thinking the situation. Well, my version of overthinking is,
"fukman,they'vegotstuffaboutheIndonesianshavingdoubleagentsinJakartaandthecrapfestthat wasEastTimorfuk(mental image of getting stopped at customs go tru mind for one half second), OKOKineedanotherbookfuk2hour flight....."
Yeah my over thinking is 2 seconds and a half.
I go over to my book shelf, a towerring celebration of the worlds greatest authors and thinkers and reach out instinctively for World Wrestling Entertainment's Hardcore legend Mick Foley's The Hardcore Dairies nestled between Marvel Comics Secret Wars compilation and Tucker Max's I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (which I need to return to LCB).
Which immigration or home ministry officer would not be taken by the literary charm of Mrs Foleys boy? That and also that wrestling has a somewhat decent following in Indonesia (where at one time it was not called wrestling or WWE but instead 'smackdown' after the TV program title).
This trip I decided to chill it. No more rushing from airports to meetings. I got in early in the morning , went into a J Co donut shop, ordered up a peanut butter something and a blackberry something else with a latte. Pulled out Mick with the hot coffee enveloping me with warm fuzziness in the early morning air conditioning.
And I started to read. What can I say? It brought back memories. I had worked with Mick Foley once when he toured Asia. More on that in another post. I had loved the business of the WWE and respected the talent there. The book reminded me of what I've lost - belief and hope based on ideals and to make a simple yet meaningful life from what we've got. A Mick Foley book tells of one fat schmuck who got by by accepting his limitations and playing to his strentghs while never losing his love for his family or his craft.
Foley took chair shots for a living. He set himself on fire, got thrown off 20 foot steel cages, got hit by barb wired baseball bats, choke slammed on thumb tacks, etc BECAUSE he just wasn't talented enough. His only talent was absorbing huge amounts of pain and thus Foley and his various incarnations of Cactus Jack, Dude Love and Mankind went out there to make OTHER wrestlers look good.
BECAUSE I worked with the WWE for a while, his thoughts were my thoughts. References to events, people and mile stones were shared between the pages, myself and the two donuts on the table. Oh yeah, that latte too (dont want it to feel left out)
So I decided to smell some roses yesterday in Jakarta. I didn't rush for my meeting. I was early anyway. I went into the mall, found a toy shop, bought the Ice Dragon from McFarlane's collection, decided against buying the Warrior dragon as I would not be able to hide THAT when i get into the meeting. One just can't get a CEO to take one seriously with TWO plastic dragons peeping out from one's backpack.
Just before I board my flight, as i sit in the the chair getting a foot massage while playing sms ping-pong with the Tree Hugger and the Princess, I just realised that it was in Jakarta that I first met Mick Foley.
The first time a kind giant made me realise that sometimes we are lucky to choose to do something we love and get paid for it and it can only be ourselves that dictate our fates. That means we really can't blame anyone for the shit we may sometimes find ourselves wading through.