Some Peril

I don’t even know how to put this in words, but the attempt will be made.

-I saw a potential future last night and it scared the shit out of me.

Allow me to explain:

In the international working community, i.e. those that work far from home, there exists, as a natural byproduct of a lack of physical presence around loved ones a metric ton of tragedy. I have seen a good friend of mine cry like a child after finding out that his father had passed away two weeks prior and it had taken that long for the notification to reach him. A man on this job left for rotation and while he was in the air headed home his son had gotten into a fatal car accident, so the only thing that was waiting for him when he finally landed was grief. The list goes on, but it reads like Greek tragedy and is actually pretty horrible to even write about, but it happens none the less. There are also ones that are self-inflicted, a popular one being to whore around in whatever country that you are in only to have the wife find out and be met at your place of residence with an empty house and divorce papers, but I have no sympathy for those people.

This brings me to my point; the abrupt introduction into a potential that even I could experience. I was, as usual, sitting with my mates out at one of the two areas allotted by the company for us to consume alcohol at and honestly having a grand old time. The composition of our little band of merry men was basically Scottish (don’t give me your lip KC!) and one American guy that at first glance was in great shape. Kind of an older crowd, the ages (other than my own) stretching from 45-60, but definitely a good sort of people to assist in taking your mind out of this place for awhile.

Now KC knows as well as I do how the Scots drink. When they consume alcohol it is NEVER in small quantities and is done in the air of sideways mockery and good belly laughs. I have personally put forth the theory that the reasoning behind their comedy is to have you laughing so hard that you never actually realize how much you are consuming until face meets floor, but I can’t prove that there is any co-ordination between them so I will have to keep my theory as just that, a theory. Not to digress too far from the point that is attempting to be made, we sat, lived, laughed, and had a right good time talking about everything and nothing. Hell, one of the top brass joined us for about 20 minutes just to find out, and I quote, ” How the hell people can work in such a shithole and actually laugh as honestly and loud as you idiots are”. It was in all honesty one of the better times that I have had this hitch.

-Enter the time bomb in the form of the other American at the table.

He was enjoying himself just as much as everyone else, telling shit stories and the like… but then he started to fade. He would sit silent for about a minute then suddenly blurt out some inane non-topic comment, or would stand up, look around in an obvious confused state, then slam himself back home into his chair. Now for those out there that have associated with drunkards before these are some of the more common signs that the mind has officially shut down and that person is HAMMERED, thus you kindly and politely respond to the weirdness and continue your conversations.

Then it got crazy.

I guess around the hour 3 mark this guy decides that he is in fact going to solve all of the world’s problems RIGHT THEN and insisted that we listen to his prattle at a fairly high volume, all the while attempting to accentuate his point with broad hand gestures that with each sweep would launch a drink into the air. Lovely, right? The best part was when we attempted to dislodge this man from his rant and put him in his room, as we are cool like that and don’t let a mate fall down too hard. To summarize, he:

1. Took a swing at a couple of us

2. Fell FLAT on his back and turtled for a bit

3. Broke one of the tables

4. Announced to the world (to include the security guards that were circling like vultures) that we could all go get screwed in very graphic ways


Long story short we did finally get him back to his room, but the whole process was just pure trauma. As soon as this moron was deposited back in his receptacle I had a quick cool down conversation (and drink) with one of the guys that assisted me in this endeavor, which was when the revelation came out that this guy is being left by his third wife and it has put his head in a really volatile place, thus his activities were pretty much a reflection of the hurricane of issues that were spinning in his head.

Ding. It all made a sick sort of sense after that, with the primary issue that I had with the whole thing being that…. well, I could actually be that guy.

A 56 year old three time divorcee that is drinking himself to death and only has his job to live for.

The potential of the whole thing was what frightened me.


About Old Iron
I'm just a guy that works overseas alot and likes to play just as hard as I work. Been to a FEW countries, know a shitload of people all over, and generally have a good time wherever I go. -Oh, and I am currently in between girlfriends, and strangely enough and perfectly happy with that status. In the long run hookers are cheaper. Take my word on that.

6 Responses to Some Peril

  1. Buck says:

    “The potential of the whole thing was what frightened me.”

    I relate to this tale more than you’ll ever know, OI. I’ve both seen and experienced (to a much lesser degree) the trauma you describe. But I survived it, without going into any detail at all.

  2. Qwatcher2 says:

    #3? If you continue to do the same thing you have always done, you will continue to get the same thing you always got. Names change situations stay the same if you don’t make a concerted effort to change the circumstances. But then this actually takes some insight and soul searching.

  3. ~KC~ says:

    As we’ve discussed offline, this is a perfect example for you to stop, take stock of your surroundings and use it as a measuring stick for where you are at to where you want to go and become. Although I agree with Qwatcher2 – I do believe from our conversations you have done LOTS soul searching, especially in the last few months.

    You’ve come a long way since we became friends, Old Iron. And I cannot tell you enough how amazed I am with your personal evolution and growth. Shake this off. Take stock of your surroundings and life… and choose what you want for your outcome. And from there, live life accordingly. And no matter what, you have friends out there (and right here) who will be there to support whatever decision you make.

    I have always said (of course, after a very wise First Nations man told me) Drunkeness reveals what sobriety conseals … this point was proven yet again.

    Stay true to you my friend! I am proud of you! (OK I know – ÜBBER sappy – but I am)

  4. Old Iron says:

    It is events like these that keep me on the right track. You go for so long thinking you are doing the right thing, but after a distance in time and a lack of an opposing reference the potential for straying becomes greater and greater. This event actually HELPED a hell of a lot more than it hurt as justification for my current path was provided, yang to my yin.

  5. Gordon says:

    You have to feel for the guy. It reads like a French Foreign Legion tale.

    There’s a lot of that going on, on fishing boats, in oilfields, on far-flung military bases.

  6. Old Iron says:

    You are absolutely right Gordon; I have seen a thousands of variations on this same theme happen on pretty much all of my overseas jobs and it kills me every time. I mean I work out here as a single guy and that is tough enough, let alone having to tell your loved ones that yes I am leaving you people to fend for yourselves for “x” amount of time while I go work. The Phillipinos and the Indians have it down to a science, but us Westerners…

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