Once upon a time in a land far away, a hard-working ex-NCO fond of enjoying his gin neat, very glad to still be in one piece after two years and a red baptism in Afghanistan, found himself being offered a job. Being on vacation in the tropics, this was the last thing he expected. But vacations have a way of disintegrating when one cannot sleep, and work keeps away many of the most pernicious evils human beings face such as thinking. Teaching in Thailand offered a perfect solution. Also, our hero had responsibilities such as scraping together a dowry to win over the affections of a certain young lady's sceptical mother. This mother would then give most of the money to her father; religiously bringing him chicken on a bamboo stick was not going to be enough to win his love. Our hero did not mind being part of a strange familial mafia with its pay offs, odd duties, and misplaced gestures. But he did notice that the small foodstuffs put outside for the gods to eat were merely consumed by insects. Anyway, by working he could give more money to his charming helpmeet, this being an important feature of making a Thai woman happy, even ecstatic. Standing there on vacation on that fateful day, a day on which there must have been a solar eclipse, an unknown professional-looking lady approached our hero as if he were a movie star and she wanted an autograph. She said, “I want you to teach at my university.” Our hero, I blush to say it, was amazingly blind to the ways of the world. Waking up that morning terrorized in a pool of sweat after the usual three hours and fifteen minutes of sleep he said, “Yes.” About nine months passed. Then late one night he sat at his desk mulling over the past perfect. The professional-looking lady, now his boss, came into his office. She, with clever and searching eyes, wondered why our hero was not at home with his lucky better half. He answered that he enjoyed working—Americans have a different culture. She then spoke of loneliness and past lives in which certain people had previously been married. Our hero quickly drew the implication: previous marriages trump current ones. In fact, our hero and the professional lady had already been on the most intimate terms, according to her. She also spoke of religious mysteries, violent events, and jealousies in prior existences. She even spoke of decapitation. Our hero looked around the room, his office, with its lurid green paint. She asked our hero if he thought such things were possible. He, being diplomatic, responded, “Anything is possible.” Later that night, sitting in an aging local hotel's restaurant, he reflected on these events over three large Carlsbergs. A young lady with stunning charms was about to sing. She was wearing a bikini which struggled to contain her ample plastic breasts. Also, this amazing garment had small bells that rang with a scathing cynicism as she moved. She did a little dance while she sang. The bells swang: tinkle, tinkle. When she began her dance this somehow clarified our hero's life to himself. She sang “My First Love” after emerging from behind a computer screen and a tall chair where she had perched herself like a bird of prey. She jiggled her hips and our hero's new life was born. Our hero then divided his life into two parts. There was the first part, prior to the science project stunning model singing about love, and then there was the second part, after having experienced enlightenment. Soon after, back at the educational factory, our hero had one more surprise. His boss, again with her clever manner and not without her subtle appeal, asked if he could do overtime for 50 Baht per hour instead of the promised 400. He said “yes” again. But he had discovered the obvious thing that is so difficult to see, that love is what gives human life its dignity, and he still had a chance to really live.