Photo: Priscilla Du Preez
My earliest memories of involve lots of books strewn around the house. I suspect that it was my parents’ way of getting me to read. If it was, it definitely worked, and it’s probably the reason why I write for a living today.
Of course, after graduating from Enid Blyton and R.L. Stine, I found myself flipping through the Zig Ziglars, Dale Carnegies, and Napoleon Hills. As a sixteen-year-old, I never could relate to the lessons in those books, so for me, self-improvement was only something I’d read for fun.
But when I found myself alone and crying in Thailand more than a decade later, a snippet from How To Stop Worrying And Start Living popped right up from the recesses of my mind, like a piece of turd that refuses to be flushed down the toilet. It was a father’s letter to his son, and it went something like this:
“I don’t understand why you can’t get a girlfriend,” Craig said.
I looked up from my Word document. “What.”
“Yeah, it’s not like you’re butt-ugly or anything.”
“Thanks… I think.”
“No no no. I didn’t mean it that way. I meant—”
“Haha!” Diane chimed in. “No need to apologise. He is ugly. Maybe not butt-ugly, but regular-ugly.”
So I was at a local food stall with Jo, staring at my glass of water. Deja vu. I knew I’ve lived this moment before but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Finger? Rhymes with anger. Anger makes me want to punch things. Punch? Kickboxing. Thailand. Then I remembered.
I was in Thailand, staring at my glass of water. I looked at the pitcher where it was poured from. Every meal came with a complimentary serving of refillable water. I didn’t get sick drinking the same water for the past few days, so I wasn’t even bothered if it came from the toilet pipe.