WTF Is Wrong With People?

I had an awful lot of traffic on a short post not long ago titled A Very Inexpensive Way To Travel , it contains a satirical video from The Onion, about a lady pretending to take holidays around the world, but in reality she just sits in her chair at home imagining holidays in real time with her eyes closed.

The post had over ten thousand visitors in the first week or so,  and I ended up getting swamped in replies containing profanity. I at first could not figure out why, but then to my surprise realized that many people just did not understand it was a joke. The most common reply, of which I left only a few up was “What the fukc is wrong with people ?” I deleted quite a few of them because I did not want so many nasty words on my website. I am not opposed to profanity myself but I would like to keep the PG13 appropriate rating for the website.

After the first few WTF is wrong with people type comments, I typed a long reply to one poster, not realizing at the time I typed it that he just didn’t get the joke.  I later took it down, because after understanding where he was coming from, it no longer seemed appropriate, also,  my reply was a bit too serious and confrontational for what I thought was a hilarious post.

I did not know what to do with my reply,  I had put a lot of thought into it, and as many people tend to say the same thing to me in real life,  I thought I might find another appropriate time to use it, but rather than waiting, I thought I would just paste it below. If you are a regular reader, much of it sounds like other things I have said on the Blog before, like I said, I just didn’t feel like letting the long reply go to waste.

Mikac Isbig asked me:

“What the Fukc is wrong with people?”

So I replied

“I have never had a comment with profanity on my blog before, especially in regards to what is mostly perceived as a hilarious satirical video. I know I shouldn’t probably answer such a question, but I will anyhow.

People have always had a percentage the population who are selfish, greedy, uncaring, and war mongering, the type of people who will take pleasure in others misfortunes. Some people do not even have the ability to recognize that all people are alive and feel, just like they do, over 5% of the world do not recognize the existence of other caring feeling beings on the planet. Many of the bad guys, actually see themselves as the victims.

The silent majority, notice I used the words “silent” and “majority”, are not like that. The bad guys will not only make the most waves in all of our lives, but are also the most memorable. The quiet , nice people who walk around as we all do, trying to avoid the bad guys disturbances, tend to be less memorable.

In the end it comes down to whatever your perception of the world is, why would you expect so much from humanity, when history shows there has always been a dark side? Don’t put too much focus on the bad, loud minority, instead focus on the good, unremarkable silent majority. The news tends to focus on the bad, and even in my writing I complain about the bad more than I mention the good, as the good is just not very interesting or memorable, it is just what I expect from people, and am usually not disappointed.

The world is what you make it, if you are surrounded by bad people that make trouble in your life, sometimes it is best to just let them go, but really the best thing you can do is just lower you expectations, and not expect so much from a civilization that you are part of, you can not judge humanity without judging yourself, often the real problems of the world are just the person’s perceptions of it.

People are often a mirror of you,  smile and the world smiles with you, but if you walk around angry and unhappy, that will be how the world reacts to you.  If you compete and dig at others, than the same will be done to you. As you ask “What the fukc is wrong with people?” people might be asking “What the fukc is wrong with you ?”

I see no problem with humanity, as it is, and has always been, this is the only world I know, and I have found my own loving and caring place in it. I would suggest in the spirit of an old proverb, acceptance of the things you can not change, changing the things you can, and hoping you have the knowledge to know the difference between them.”

I then went back and changed his name from “Mikac Isbig” to Mikac Sotiny, because even though he didn’t notice the subtle joke in my post, I did see the subtle joke in his made up internet name, and sometimes like to change the things I can.

And They Just Keep on Marching

Nobody likes bad people. Society for many thousands of years has tried to use religion to teach us our morals, the right from the wrong, and yet they still exist.

The dislike of nasty people is not confined to just the religious societies though, even in non religious societies evil doers are shunned and punished. Modern society has laws to punish the mean hearted among us. After all, if you let a bad guy run around stealing and hurting people, and you don’t lock them up, it could be you, or someone you care about next.

None of us is a true saint, but the best of us try to keep our bad side in check.

After doing the wrong thing, most people will stop in their tracks, realize what they have done, and turn to apologize or try and lessen their crimes. The worst of society however will commit a vile deed, and are happy about the outcome. They don’t consider or care about the hurt they have caused. They don’t stop to think about the damage they have done, there is no guilt to cause them pause. They hide from the truth and think of defenses if they get caught. Often they will get away with it and be free to march towards their next victim.

To all the uncaring jerks that avoided punishment and were able to march away after screwing others over, fleeing from the truth of their wrongful deeds like the chickens that they are, here is my salute to you:

Just Keep Marching Foul Fowls, One Day You Will Stop In Your Tracks.

I Never Reached Superman

A long time ago, when I was six, I remember fondly walking outside the theatre after seeing the Superman Movie for the first time. I was not just simply walking however, but striding, and jumping. I was convinced that if I could just get it all right, I too would eventually be able to fly.

As many women grow up with the ideals of Barbie in their heads, the pretty blond with the attractive figure, closets full of clothing, cute dog, handsome boyfriend, a house, and the corvette. I grew up with thoughts of being Superman, the honest good looking guy every girl wanted, using his superhuman abilities such as super strength, laser beam eyes, super breath, and virtual indestructibility, to flight the bad guys, and save the world.

That really is a lot to live up to.

Superman Movie Poster 1978

Superman Movie Poster 1978

I am sitting here now thinking of all the things I did to try and be a bit like Superman, the physical training I have put myself through, and the risks I have taken. I am not sure why I did it, if it was for the adrenaline or to prove something to myself, but I did it just the same.

When I was young, I used to like to jump off of things, each time I tried to jump from just a little bit higher than the last time. I would sometimes jump off things while riding other objects such as my bike, skis or skateboard, all in the attempt to just see if I could do it, and feel what it would be like to fly just a little bit. I have still not grown out of this really, just last week, I jumped off the roof of a sixty storey tower on a zip line, it was pretty cool, but Superman would have just leaped over the building in a single bound.

If you want to be a superhero, of course you need to learn to fight. At the age of ten I started to study Karate. I had to postpone my studies at thirteen for a couple of years, as I broke my arm quite badly while testing to see if I was indestructible, I am not. I later continued studying various martial arts formally for about eighteen years. I fought a few times, I even managed to defeat the number four ranked fighter on the Canadian kickboxing team several times. I never fought any higher ranked fighters. I found I did not like hurting people, and didn’t really like getting hurt either.  If  Superman kick boxed,  he would be number one, I don’t think he minds the pain so much, but I know he doesn’t like hurting people either.

I did a fair bit of mountain and rock climbing in my life, but for some reason volcanoes were always the most interesting to me, there is just something about their sheer awesome lava spewing power that I found irresistible, and once you get to the top, you not only get a view, but you also get to look in to their centre. One of the most memorable volcanic experiences I had was in the northern Philippines, after climbing the volcano, my friend and I then climbed for hours through the lava tubes inside it, right into it’s underground river systems. There is nothing quite like squeezing through small limestone holes and dropping ten meters or so through pure darkness into pools of fresh drinking water. Another memorable volcanic occasion was when I had a semi active volcano I was standing on in Indonesia erupt right under my feet, thankfully I survived. I had this picture taken of me, standing right over its billowing molten heart less than a minute before it erupted. I ran away in fear  from the top of the volcano as it exploded, I am pretty sure I freaked out a little bit also. Superman would not have freaked out or ran, he would have kicked that volcano’s ass.

Scott Vs The Volcano - Seconds Before An Eruption

Scott Vs The Volcano - Moments Before An Eruption

 

Large waves are another force I have felt a powerful attraction to. I have learned to swim and surf in some huge waves over the years. One particularly wavy January day in southern India, I chose to ignore the warning siren of the concerned lifeguards in the lighthouse on the point, and the people on the loudspeakers warning us of a dangerous wave coming into the bay. I had seen their “dangerous” waves before, and felt I could handle them. Larger waves break further out, so as everyone else was busy getting out of the water, I swam out into deeper water to get ready to body surf this wave.  After a moment, I found as I looked out past the fairly common five meter wave in front of me, I was able to see a much larger wave towering over that one, I would guess it was seven meters high or so.  Realizing it was breaking too far out for me to ride it, I was forced to swim towards it as fast as I could, so as not to get caught in its dangerous break. Once I reached the top of that wave, which was shockingly high, I could see an even larger wave coming, it was already well over eight meters tall, and still growing fast. I swam towards this truly giant wave as quickly as I could, there was no way to get away from it as it was sucking me towards it as it was building its height. I made my way over it just as it was beginning to fall, I am not sure how high it was exactly, I would guess ten meters or so, I remember looking over at the people on the beach, as I crested it, I was both a long ways from them, and towering over them, as they scattered up the beach, and away from the water. Luckily, I made it over the wave before it broke, because when the enormous wave did fall, it fell right over top of the beach, destroying quite a few things, including some holiday houses, the retreating wave then brought all sorts of things back into the water with it, chairs, tables, doors, glass, dogs and even some other people. The next thing I knew I was being sucked a good kilometer or so, at a very high speed out into the open ocean. It took me an hour or so of hard swimming to finally make it back to the beach. Of course Superman would have just started flying and saved everyone, but for me, my own survival was barely possible.

I have saved four people’s lives, two people were drowning once in Goa, and I swam out with a large log for all of us to grab onto and swim back to shore. One time when I was in Thailand, a lady that could not swim fell into a river in Bangkok, I grabbed her hand as she was going under the water to pull her up. Another time in Indonesia, a group of people were trying to kill my rickshaw driver, something about him picking me up on their turf. One of them smashed a large brick into his head, and I stood up to them all. They decided not to fight us both, my driver was bleeding quite a bit from his head, but he survived because of me. I really am quite proud of actually saving some lives, Superman would have done the same, but of course for each one I saved, he saved a billion.

Although I have a lot of stories about things I have done, I look back and notice a pattern of me putting myself in harms way, in hindsight it seems a little bit stupid,  and when I really think about it, I am a little surprised that I am still alive. I tried hard to do as much as I could, but now as I am nearing forty, my body is in its decline, and my risk taking days have ended, I realize, for all my efforts, not for a moment, did I ever come close to being Superman.

Five For Fighting (John OndrasikOndrasik) Superman – It’s Not Easy Lyrics

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find
The better part of me

I’m more than a bird…i’m more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train
It’s not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd…but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed…but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away…away from me
It’s all right…you can all sleep sound tonight
I’m not crazy…or anything…

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
Men weren’t meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me
Inside of me
Inside me
Yeah, inside me
Inside of me

I’m only a man
In a funny red sheet
I’m only a man
Looking for a dream

I’m only a man
In a funny red sheet
And it’s not easy, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm…

Its not easy to be me

Reverse Millionaire

As I continue to save some of the little money I earn, in the hope of one day becoming a millionaire, I would like to share with you another concept of financial wealth most people have never heard of before, the reverse millionaire.

I had a work mate introduce me to this idea almost a decade ago, he said:

When I die, I hope I owe a million dollars to the bank, because then I will know that I had spent all my money, and had also spent another million dollars along the way.”

What an interesting concept, Here I am approaching middle age, and I don’t know yet if I have even made a million dollars in my life, certainly not after tax.

Having thought about this a bit, I realized the concept of becoming a reverse millionaire is actually easier than you may think.

 

How To Become A Reverse Millionaire:
(Do Not Try This At Home)

 

Step #1 – Borrow a Million Dollars

Option 1 – The Sneaky Borrow

You would need to get a job, preferable a good one, all the while using several credit cards wisely by always paying off the debt. Your responsible use will cause the credit card companies to continually up the credit limits on the cards as you prove yourself to be an upstanding customer. You will find it is not actually that difficult to get the credit limit of a credit card up over $20,000, and with hard work and savings, you could quite possible get them as high as $50,000 – $100,000 each. You should also get lines of credit, and multiple bank accounts with overdrafts at as many banks as possible.

Several high limit credit cards from several banks, as well as your lines of credit and bank accounts overdrafts all cashed out on a single day, could quite easily, and quickly get you the million dollars in cash you are looking for.

Legality = Questionable

I wonder if this is legal. If it is, and too many people try it I am sure there would soon be some sort of “Reverse Millionaire Law”, maybe you could get away with it, but you might want to consult a lawyer first.

Option 2 – The Hard Work And Saving Method

This is the way your parents and school teachers probably told you was the way to get rich, and in the end would lead to the biggest pile of cash.

Go to College, get a steady job, work hard, invest wisely, and save enough money that the bank doesn’t mind you borrowing another million dollars.

Legality = Legal

This will probably never happen to me, though I have gone to college, and do save, but the getting a steady job part unfortunately is my fall down. I just can’t stand “Working for the Man” more than a few years in a row.

Option 3 – The High Interest Method
Reverse Millionaire Compound Interest Graph

Rather than doing the hard work yourself, you can simply let the magic of compound interest do the work for you, by my calculations if you can get enough credit at the age of 25 to borrow just $6,500 at your average credit card rate of 20.5%, with no additional work needed, you will become a reverse millionaire by the age of 50.

Legality = Legal

Hmmmm, I don’t think this was exactly what my work friend meant by this. I think what he was talking about was actually spending an additional million dollars before he died, this is more about the man sticking it to you rather than you “sticking it to the man”. Though definitely not the method of choice, it is something to consider.

Step #2  – Going Beyond Broke

Assuming you did not pick Option #3 above, you now have one million dollars of the banks money, as well as a bunch of your own, this does not yet make you a Reverse Millionaire. To become a true Reverse Millionaire, you must liquidate any assets you have, and spend all of it before the bank takes it away from you.

For myself I am pretty sure I would want to get out of whatever country I did this in as fast as possible, so I would probably spend a large chunk of money initially on something like a yacht, to carry myself, my money and possible a couple of supermodels somewhere beyond the banks reach. The yacht would then be liquidated as quickly as possible into cash or crypto, before the bank put a lien on it. I could then commence my decade or so of endless partying somewhere in the tropics until finally becoming a Reverse Millionaire.

Reverse-Millionaire-Success

Different Priorities

Almost two decades ago, I veered sharply away from the track that hosts the rat race, and started to cut my own paths. Nobody really understood why I did it, and some people feel they can no longer relate to me because of it.

Back in 1994, when I was 22 years old, my financial life was going pretty well, I already owned most of my fully furnished 1200 sq foot, 8th floor condo overlooking both a National Park, and the city of Calgary. I had just become the corporate sales trainer for an international electronics company, a job which included the responsibility of hiring, firing, and training about 150 people at any one time.  I was on track for a $60,000 income that year already, but on a recent business trip to Los Angeles, stock options had just been offered to me, as well as a substantial raise. The real serious money was about to come rolling in.

The beginning of my corporate life was like sitting down to play the first two levels of a video game I had been anticipating for quite some time, only to discover it was just too easy for me to invest any more of my time in. As far as I was concerned at that moment, I had already proven to myself that I was going to win the game. The constant business trips eventually became boring to me. Though the meetings were all in different restaurants and cities, I was always meeting with the same people usually we would order the same things, talk about the same business, and have the same discussions after too many of the same drinks.

I decided it was time for me to step out of the rat race for a bit, and try and live a more interesting life than I was living. Making money, talking about how to make more money, training people, and in general just getting the business done was pretty boring after a while. My father had worked very hard until the day he died, and I did not want this to happen to me.

Before I could quit my job, I decided I should sell all my stuff, so I proceeded to sell my condo and car, big screen TVs, my CD and movie collection, my couch, my stereo systems, my dresser, microwave, coffee machine, waffle maker, dinner table, pots, pans, plates, knives, forks, spoons, phones, my bed, bedsheets, and even my towels.

With everything I had accumulated with my five years of productive work since I had left my childhood home turned into cash I was able to buy my backpack, quit my job, and begin my travels.

I bought a one way ticket to India. Why India? you might ask. A very well travelled friend who had hired me at the electronics firm originally had recommended it to me, of course by this time he had actually become one of my employees, but he was still a friend, and wasn’t resentful of me moving up so fast.

One night in a restaurant as we discussed my trip to India over steak and beer, some woman at another table, chose to interrupt us just to tell us that India was a horrible place and asked us why would we go there. We asked her if she had been and she said “No”. I chose to ignore her.

Kovalam India 94

Kovalam Beach In India

India was amazing, I could type story after story here about things that I saw in India, did in India, and experienced in India that are probably well beyond most peoples imagination. So I will skip that for now, but will give a few reasons why India was the best place I have ever been, of course I could also give you the same amount of reasons why it was the worst, but here I will just add the best.

I love beaches, I love waves, and surfing, I love snorkeling and scuba diving and India has the longest coastline in the world, the beaches are incredibly beautiful and usually almost completely unspoilt. It has the oldest cities in the world, with the oldest temples in the world in it. It of course has jungles, deserts, and the Himalayas are the highest mountain range in the world. An amazing history of being the birthplace of most of the major religion in the world. The first churches and temples of every major religion, always seem to be in India. Every jungle topped hill you can climb in India, has a view of ancient temples, stupas, churches, mosques, castles and fortresses, most of which are older than Western written history. It was a fantastic trip, I was present at many astounding parties with thousands of westerners in some amazing places, no one could ever understand without going there.

Hampi India 95

Hampi India in 1995

Ten months into my first trip, I returned to my home country of Canada for my brothers wedding, I had suffered a nasty parasitic infection called giardia in India that nearly killed me, I lost a third of my body mass, and looked almost like a walking skeleton, my short business haircut had grown ungroomed and uncut for almost a year. I tried to tame the hair for my brothers wedding, which had caused it to look really horrible. I guess I didn’t look as much like a winner as I did before I went traveling to at least some people. At the wedding one of my brothers friends came up to me, and said, “Why did you leave it all man? You had everything? ”

“Why did you leave it all man? You had everything? “

I didn’t know what to say to him, he had just finished university studying commerce, and I guess to him I was on a path to having everything he wanted before I left, namely Money.

I said “Everything man? I had nothing.”

I didn’t know what else I could have said, where would I start to explain to him that a life of working under fluorescent lights, and having only slight variations of the same experiences every day was not a life at all. Without the freedom to do what I wanted and go where I wanted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is just an existence.

I could not write a book about the life I used to have, but the life I have now I could.

Obviously my money could not last me forever, so I often need to work, I returned to my home country in Canada to make a living two times. Although I was able to make good money again, I was not really able to adapt back into life under fluorescent lights. I preferred working in Japan, Korea, and Thailand, although the lighting is pretty much the same, being a stranger in a strange land is always exciting.

I am blessed that I can now work on this website and write for this blog for a living. I enjoy it. I am happy. The best thing about my current job, even though I am not writing about where I am, this particular article has been written during my travels to three different countries, I have been sitting in Kuala Lumpur for part of it, another part I was on a white sandy beach on Ko Samet Island in Thailand with my son, and part of it was written on the edge of the Mekong river in Lao where I sat and enjoyed a meal as the sun set over lush green tropical Asia.

I don’t make a lot of money doing this, I have to take the second class train, and buses where ever I go, but at least I am going somewhere. This to me is more important that being some rich corporate big wig.

I mentioned to a good friend of mine what my brother’s friend had asked me about “Giving it all up”, and he said to me something that seemed to explain the situation completely.

He said “You and him just have different priorities, that’s all.”

Maybe he was right, maybe that is all it is, just different priorities.

I have traveled a lot since then, seen a lot of things, and taken a lot of pictures, these are two of my favorites.

Mentawin People of Siberute 1995

Mentawin of Siberute

Khmer Jungle Temple Angkor Cambodia 1995

Khmer Jungle Temple Angkor Cambodia

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