We thrive, we survive and we Dive
Social Status explained as Peacock, Chameleon, Cockroach, and the Bull Ape for fun.
The story of your life can be read in books, seen in movies, and recreated as a fantasy on the Internet. The best selling movies and books are about the about the unconquerable human spirit, which refuses to take a dive.
The lifestyle of world is graded on curve. We enjoy saying we have a nice home, our social status is achieved because others are envious and jealous.
The last 15 years of my life was lived in Hotels, as a perpetual travel of the world. I experienced business; I lived the life of the hospitality business.
1. There are Hotels that are thriving.
2. There are Hotels that are just surviving.
3. There are Hotels that are taking a dive.
There has been a book title meandering around in my brain since age 23, and I take a muse about writing it, the name of the book would be:
“When the Strong Man Stumbles.”
It would be story about how friends and family thrive and enjoy it when the strong man takes a dive.
1. There are times in my life when I “Peacocked.”
(I thrived; everyone wanted to be my friend.)
2. There are times when I “Chameleoned.”
(I survive, I agreed with people, I blended in with my environment, and I wanted everyone to be my friend.)
3. There are times when I “Cockroaches.”
(I took a dive for cover, I took dive because of need, and I took a dive because I had no choice, nobody was interested in my stories.)
Movies and good novels are about the Chameleons and Cockroaches that learn to Peacock, or refused to dive. Maybe after a great dive, they rose to become wonderful Peacocks, the dream of every Cockroach.
At age 23, I had everything, girls, money, friends and I was at Indiana University the land of Peter Pan. I was receiving my heaven on earth. Then a drunk driver hit me on a motorcycle, 10 days in intensive care, a fatty embolism, heart problems, a broken femur, arm, and my life took a dive,
One day I was King of the world, then I stumbled, the Peacock became a Cockroach; it is when the strong man stumbles, that he or she takes a dive.
One day I was a somebody, the next day a nobody; it was the best teaching experience of my life, and something I would not wish on my worst enemy.
The story, the book,
“When the Strong Man Stumbles,” is about vengeance, I wanted revenge. Yep, for over 30 years of my life, I have been seeking revenge, and the only way to get revenge is to turn all my enemies into cockroaches, and make them dive for cover. This is only possible if I thrive 10 times better than them, it is the comparison, the grading on curve I craved.
When I stumbled, when I got hit on the motorcycle, and became physically weak, disable, and was in a wheelchair, then on crutches, at the end, I had on of the aluminum frames that are on legs, with a shoe attached, you lock the leg support and it allows you to walk on your hip.
“People kicked me when I was down.”
Cockroaches have pride; they are not going to tell the Peacocks they are taking a dive. The reason is simple, this just makes the problems worst, the Peacocks start to glow; they shine and bask in misery of others. The station is life is more secure, when the Cockroach admits defeat.
The great motivator on the planet is jealousy, couple with greed, and the desire of a nerd to become a Peacock.
At age 57, I still want revenge against the human race, it will never pass, I now accept my mind was damaged, I have to watch for the triggers, avoid the temptation, the places where arrogant Peacocks parade their feathers.
When another human does good, I champion their success, when they rub into my face, trying to make me feel less than, I start thinking premeditatedly, I plot, I plan, I become a predator and,
I WALK AWAY.
The motorcycle accident was trivial compared to emotional damage received by cruel people who thrived by making me aware I was now less than them. I was no longer a Peacock, they wanted to step on me, make me their pet cockroach, and give up all pride. Strange as it seems, nobody can take away your pride, you must give it away, abandon it to the Peacock, with this he or she thrives.
I must live with the rage; I am in constant fear of stepping on people who are bullies. Many readers make insanely stupid comments, mean spirited, down right nasty and cruel. If for one second, I admit I am having a bad day here in Africa, they want me to Cockroach, and run for cover. They even are so arrogant as to get outrageously angry when I refuse to accept their abuses in words, nobody, not a Cockroach, a Chameleon, or a Peacock needs to accept intention insults, whether direct, or the underlying theme. Only by giving away pride, does this “Cockroach striving to a Peacock,” thrive
I love to ban them from making comments, it makes my day, it is revenge against the bullies who kicked me when I stumbled and fell.
I want everyone, whether wise, or naïve to feel free to make comments without worry.
Writing is confusion, it is not clarity, it is churning the water, making it cloudy, and full of debris. Scrambling all the eggs, then throwing in extra ingredients the reader never understands, and never aware of, but feels them, and knows something is wrong. Then at the last moment, in the conclusion, writing the one sentence that brings relief, the provocation has ended, and peace has been restored. Writing is making people feel, think, and sometimes change, hopefully for the better.
Novelist are lucky, they can create a fantasy, where the strong man stumbles, gets up, and conquers, and poetic justice is achieve, the Knight in shining armor saves the damsel in distress. The Novelist gets to blame all the bad deeds, the racial insults, even his or her true beliefs on the villains of the story.
I have traveled now for 15 years, as if March 1, 2013, and to the readers of my Travel Blog this is unreal, all readers are waiting… The readers want one of these four things to happen in the end, but will there be an end to my travels?
1. One reader wants me to give up and go home. When a person has actually traveled, the often want me to give up, fail, and go home, and do the same as they did. Although they did not fail, we are all in some fantasy belief that we need to thrive, survive or dive.
2. One reader wants me to find a new Shangri-La, and tell them where it is so they can go there, this is envy, a good thing, and they want to share with me my victories. In my ways, I must move to Paradise, and stop traveling, and when I leave exceptionally great places, they are frustrated, often extremely angry. How can you leave paradise?
3. One reader is jealous, and wants to kick me, push me, and tell me why they know, and I do not. This reader needs to go find a new place to read, and for sure, I relish banning them, when they become obnoxious. The bullies are thriving on the Internet, it is a place where a true Cockroach can pretend to be a Peacock, without absolutely any merit in his or her actions, only the power to degrade and be a bully. I see Michael Moore as a bully, he only thrives at the expense of others, he tries to destroy reputations so he can appears a somebody, and I see him as a Peacock who needs stepped on.
4. Most readers just want entertained, they want to read of romanticized paradise, full of swimming pools, the Eiffel Tower and Machu Picchu, they want to believe the world is all good, and would never give them a bad memory. They dream that poor people are noble, nice, and given the chance, they would stop being cockroaches, and be generous and magnanimous.
Often they are trying to plan a vacation, and they want validation that they will be spending their money correctly. They become very, I mean extremely angry when I write the honest truth about places they want to visit, they want the romance story, not the real story. And, 99 percent of Travel Writers are really in the business of writing paid to live for free commercials, so they get want they wanted.
The movie “Rocky,” was one of the all time best kick me when I am down, and get revenge by succeeding movies.
The “Shawshank Redemption,” is considered the top, if not one of the best movies of all time. A man is put in prison for 20 plus years, and he escapes, he was kicked, and he was punished, and the warden tries to keep him down, but in the end, he is redeemed, he gets his revenge. It is by hard work, thinking, and diligence, a celebration of the American Dream.
I have been wandering slowly through West Africa, today I the city of Natitingou, Benin, and hope to soon enter the country of Nigeria.
Now, I have been to Iraq, Haiti, and I took that horrible 27 hour trip from Ethiopia to Kenya in the back of a grain truck. Three 35 hour bus trips in South America, and a 12 day trip on the Amazon River.
The Travelers Rites of Passage
I suppose, the DRC, Nigeria and Somalia scares me, for sure Haiti was a joke, one of the safest countries I have entered. Iraq was more about overcoming my own fears, the people of Iraq were very nice, gentle people, but the fear of the unknown was always there.
The Amazon River and the truck trip for 27 hours from Ethiopia to Kenya anyone can do, you sign up, and once you are on the trip, you have no choice, you will arrive. Signing up is the problem child, why do what we can avoid?
I am going onto Nigeria, and I will survive, who knows if I will thrive, and for sure I hope I do not take a dive.
My conclusion in a way…
All of life is like a Hotel; we want to talk about the Hotel that are thriving, the Five Star Hotel full of happy people. We want to tell others about this Hotel, we can be the Peacock.”
The good, practical, nice room Hotel is for the Chameleons. The price is right; it was a good decision, what is truly a good decision. You read all the reviews, nobody is going to make fun of you for living in that Hotel, and nobody will kick you, and say,
“You made a bad decision.”
You can fit in, change your colors as needed, and hide as the Chameleon.
You can live in a Hotel that is a dive…
“Wrong, nobody lives in a dive, they move.”
“We all move from dive Hotel, if we can, if we have the money, the time, and the will.”
Choosing a Hotel is like life, generally the mass of humanity survive, they fit in, and they are Chameleons. All wanting to be Peacocks, they go on vacation to be a Peacock, while at home, they are Chameleons but on Holiday they thrive, they live a dream, or at least when they return home, that is the story they tell.
And, if the story as bad, it was a great adventure, paying bribes at the border, of having guns pointed at them, and getting robbed.
Many people who are Cockroaches in the USA, volunteer, become missionaries, Chameleons and Cockroaches that travel to poor countries where they can be Peacocks.
They live in a hotel as a sacrifice, as if the did the Cockroaches a favor by coming to save them. An apology, and helping others is how Cockroaches become Peacocks, it is how the small prove they are big.
I am in the Taneka; Hotel in Natitingou, Benin and last night there was a bat in my room. I opened the door, and it started flying around, it seemed like a snake skinned rat with wings, truly creepy. I went out of the room, hoping it would fly out, and it never did. The manager of the Hotel came and wanted me to ignore it.
“How can one ignore a vampire?”
I have no idea where the bat went; there are at least 4-5 small crevices, places for it to hide. And, if I shut off the light, maybe it would starts to fly, I could feel the thing in my mind landing on my bare chest.
How would readers react to me writing about this?
1. One reader says,
“Andy you are an idiot, you chose the wrong hotel.”
2. One reader says,
“Andy, Africa is all bad, you need to give up and go home.”
3. One reader says,
“Please write about the Bat, make it fun and entertaining and leave out the moralizing, I am at work.”
“Did you get any photos, can you make a video?”
--- This is in a way, a good reader.
4. Another reader is quiet, says nothing, but thinks.
“Andy, c’est la vie, this is life.”
Sometimes you make the best decision, and shit happens, you will move on, and forget about it. Thanks for sharing; it was fun to read about.
I can be a Chameleon, and try to fit in; I could be a Tortoise and hide the story about the Bat in my Hotel room. I can be the Peacock, and scream to readers,
“You are too weak to handle Africa.”
In the end, the story is this, c’est la vie is correct, this is just a story. After I stop writing, I must live here, what you think, feel, or comment is irrelevant in just a few seconds from now.
There is no reward here, all my best friends, people I love, and people I hate are thousands of miles away. It is just me here, nobody care if I am a Peacock, Chameleon, Tortoise or a Cockroach.
My social status does not improve by telling this story; I am still just another foreigner, a white guy in Benin, West Africa.
I live my life, I write about my life, the same as I choose a Hotel. I want my Hotel to be a Peacock so I can thrive, I do not care if it is a Chameleon as long as I survive , and if the best decision is a Cockroach, then I take the dive, accept the decision, then try to find a better hotel.
But being a Tortoise, hiding my real life will never allow me to look in the mirror and see the Bull Ape.
I love Africa, it is humorous, and the African people truly respect power. I can swing my backpack at a Taxi driver, and he does not get angry, he thinks,
“Wow, a powerful Bull Ape has come into my presence.”
Have fun, and always choose the proper animal for today, because in the end, nobody will care but you.
I am much more tempted to step on Peacocks, then on Cockroaches, but try to keep from jumping up and down my D.
Soon I go to Nigeria, this in only for me, not for you, not to earn money, and really it is the country in the way, it between me and Cameroon, where I truly want to see and be.
One reader is highly confused, and another sees a new path, c’est la vie. Strange to me, but I believe writing is absolutely not caring about the readers, just telling a story that needs told.
Real story are full of inconsistent, in congruencies, life with all it’s confusion, I am not going to write a travel blog like a novel, where the ending is predictable, life is not cliché, poetic justice travel blogs are lies.
Poor people normally are poor for good reasons, and bums are bums, they do not need my help, but they do not need kicked.
In the end the Cockroaches always can become Peacocks, when he or she refuses to give away pride by accepting the charity of other Cockroaches disguised as Peacocks.
(Missionaries, NGO’s, ONG’s, etc.)
Lifestyles are graded on curve, but you can just quit the game, and make your own rules of life, and like a big Bull Ape, just grunt when people give you their unwanted opinions. Please remember, I did not force you to read this today!
I moved Hotels, the Hotel Taneka OK, the manager needed to be upgraded. A great Hotel has friendly staff; it is the most important ingredient, the smile of the receptionist with the knowledge that he or she is going to solve problems.
What is lacking in 99 percent of Hotels is the maintenance man. I would love to enter a Hotel, and be introduced to the Maintenance man, that is my dream. All Hotel problems at the end are mechanical in nature; the Bat entered my room because of maintenance problems. If the hotel is rude, loud, of tour bus just pulled in, then I move my life without reservations.
Andy Lee Graham
Natitingou, Benin West Africa
Bill99 from has written 135 comments
One of your best posts Andy. I relate to much of this in a different way of course. I have had 4 or 5 up and down periods in a long life. In the end, right now, I am a survivor who has learned the best revenge is to live well. Not rich but comfortable, not worrying about stupid things you can't control, being able to come and go as you wish and when older basically being in good health (I beat cancer 5 years ago).
I have met people who just give up and I make certain I do not stay close to them. I have met important people, Senators, Generals and CEOs, some are worthwhile and some you wonder how the hell they got where they are.
I went to a special week long Fed Gov workshop, about 120 some Fed employees from all over, at Indiana U back in 1974 right at Graduation time. Did we have fun, all kinds of great grad parties going on.
More posts like these Andy. Thank you.
Asirik from has written 2 comments
Andy, I told you this morning that it is not easy to travel into Northern Nigeria.
Ma son is always accompanied by an armed military. The islamists are killing at random who ever is coming into their way.
I am moving from Uruguay to the Philippines - looking for a place to live soon....
Phil J from has written 120 comments
Great post Andy. Lots of thought and insight in it. A man wanted to go to the Philippines and I answered some of his questions. He was quite excited and then when I told him about the negative things he became very hostile and angry. I did not understand.
He said, "I only want to hear about the good times and nice things. I do not want to hear about the not so good. Amuse me. Excite me. I want to be amused and excited. That is your job." I was slack jawed in amazement. I could not imagine a grown man making such a statement. But then again he had been a failure at everything in life he tried. As a father, his children could not stand him, as a salesman, never made it big, as a husband, he was divorced. He did not want to hear the truth. He was looking for Shangri-La. I am sure he never found it in the Philippines.
Places I like are like candles in a cave. They stand out. The north end of Waikiki Beach, Panajachel, some parts of the Philippines, some cruise ships. But I am a traveler at heart. I laugh when you say someone tells you to give up and go home. People tell me that also. Why do they not understand that you and I have no home to go home to. We abandoned home long ago and it has changed so radically that there is no return. You cannot go Back to the Future.
I read an article about the Irish miners who settled in Montana to work in the mines. They always wanted to make enough money to go back to Ireland. The reality was that they had lost so much contact with Ireland that they tried going home and hated it. So they moved back to Butte Montana and settled down again minus one dream.
Life can be sad but I think the good times out number the bad. And every day I learn something. I have no regrets and never try to rewrite history. I plan on dying with no regrets.