January 27, 2008

I'm not losing my mind...its Mad Cow!

Thereís an old saying that "insanity is hereditary Ė you get it from your children", but for expats working in Vietnam, there are many other possible causes to consider and if youíre a club manager the possibilities are truly endless.

For the last few months, my staff has been mentioning that I seem to be forgetting things from time to time, which is highly disturbing as I used to pride myself on having a photographic memory. Ok, granted...sometimes the camera wasnít loaded with film, but nevertheless, I refuse to believe that I am getting forgetful, except when my wife asks me to do something.

That isnít forgetting - itís selective amnesia.

I cannot remember the last time I forgot something...which really isnít saying much at the moment, but the other night I was watching "Boston Legal" which is one of the only TV programs I actually enjoy besides "Mythbusters" (because I know those two pyromaniacs will eventually blow something up) and the lead character in Boston Legal is played by William Shatner, aka Captain Kirk of Star Trek fame.

In the series, he claims that Mad Cow Disease is the reason for his bizarre behaviour.

For some strange reason, that seemed to resonate with me. After all, the name of my parent company is "CUD" and seeing that "cows chew Ďcudí"...bingo and ergo, I am going nuts because of my company.

We have been endlessly reassured by the Vietnamese Government that there is no Mad Cow Disease in Vietnam and only have to concern ourselves with Bird Flu and Blue Ear in pigs and the occasional Cholera outbreak from bad shrimp. I tend to take the government at their word because they donít play games when it comes to national health concerns Ė something that I am terribly proud of as a resident here.

But still, if I am going to blame my supposed deteriorating mental condition on Mad Cow, I need to find a source for it. Maybe it could be from hanging out at the "Spotted Cow" on Hai Ba Trung too often in the old days, or I mightíve got it from eating a rogue hamburger during my overseas travels...yeah, thatís the ticket..overseas travel.

My friends joke that you cannot get Mad Cow in Vietnam, only Mad Buffalo. I regret to say that the only mad bovine that I came across was in 1993 at Kings Island when I tried to ride a wayward buffalo off the newly planted fairways and back across the shallow lake while using his horns like a motorbike handlebars.

The buffalo was not amused and neither was I when realizing I now had to find a way back across the mudflats without destroying a pair of Gucci shoes and a new suit.

Iím sure the buffalo enjoyed that and probably sparked the creation of the now famous "Laughing Cow" brand of cheese spread.

So, where else could I have contracted this condition?

Chances are that I am merely suffering from overwork and in need of a holiday to let my brain rest for a while. Most foreigners work themselves into a nervous breakdown without even noticing it until they start holding conversations with the reflection in the mirror while shaving in the morning.

I hate it when the reflection wins the argument,

On the golf course, you can tell when a person needs a holiday just by watching the changes in their swing rhythm. It tends to get faster and less controlled which results in the ball going where no man has gone before and the generation of curses unheard outside the docks in Wan Chai.

When this happens itís a sure sign to take a holiday.

Playing golf on the weekends is a good way to relive stress, but it doesnít substitute for a real holiday because the same problems you left earlier will be waiting for you the next day. You need to get away from everything for a while and play golf someplace you can decompress.

As for yours truly, I have been having dreams of Hawaii, Phuket and even Phan Thiet or Dalat if wife starts to make the usual "no spend money" noises.

So, my recommendation is "get away once in a while if you can", otherwise consider blaming your mental state on a bad hamburger...

Itís as good an excuse as any.

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