Sunday, November 16, 2008

Subject: American in Lithuania…

When speaking about the former Soviet Union, and especially when looking at things from the perspective of people who live here, one cannot go so many days without the word exploitation coming into the conversation. Avoiding one sided, money siphoning business arrangements with the west has been a staple of the president's rhetoric since day one and of course, the country's main political position in the United Nations is that it wishes to be in the forefront in the fight against human trafficking. The point of both of these arguments is that the country simply does not wish to be used and discarded simply because it is not financially independent. Yes, we can argue that losing that prime deal to manufacture Russian oil created the necessity to open the doors to the EU and American investors and we can say that this is the way the world is. The strong survive and the weak fade away; this is Darwin, the law of the land and the American way.

But what about all of those people who do get used and exploited because they come from a disadvantaged place? Of course we can say that the cream always rises to the top and best people will always find their way, regardless of how difficult their road. We have been taught this by Hollywood and republican types for years and years. But what about the little people who do have to make incredibly difficult life decisions simply because they come from disadvantaged social and economic decisions? Who is there to protect them from being used and abused by those who simple come from a different social and economic climate? And remember, we are speaking about a social climate which allows for a better and more reasonable lifestyle even for people without admirable character than would be possible for genuine competence or even genius here.

So this being said, over the last couple of days I have been trading letters with an American who has had a falling out with his Lithuanian wife. He wrote me because he had a problem and thought I might have some answer for him. I gave him my opinion and basically, he didn't like what I had to say. But in any case I thought the point had some relevance and so I decided to print the letters here. I'll let the text speak for itself and you can fill in any blanks you want and decide who's right and wrong. But to me, the point of all of this is how obviously right the Belarusian arguments have been concerning exploitation, usury and trafficking. I am sorry, but whether or not Lukashenko is a dictator hasn't a damned thing to do with whether or not Belarus really must sell itself on the cheap simply because they have been hung out to dry by the USSR and Gaprom. To me, the law of the jungle is simply the polar opposite of civilization. Civilized means reasonable and any reasonable civilization would not allow for unlawful and exploitative practices against its members. I think the following is a good example for this argument.

I am in big trouble in Lithuania. My wife took off and left me alone and broke. I can use your advice.

I am all ears. What can I do for you?

It is a long story, but I married a Lith girl 8 years ago, have a 2 yr old and 4 yr old girls. I have no family so I thought it would be best to come here so the kids would have some family to share their life with. Big mistake. My wife's family is crazy and 7 months ago, she just packed up and left me for dead. I guess she married an American to live in America, and when we came here she did not need me anymore. Since she left my life has been hell. I am lucky to have made it this far alone. I have been in a depression that can't even be described. For a while I could not get out of bed, see children, shower, eat, shave. I am totally broke, behind on the rent, and want to kill myself. The embassy offered me a free ticket back to Boston, but I would be literally on the streets. It is not an option. I got a job teaching English recently, but I am so depressed, so behind on rent, it is impossible. I do not have money to rent a new place. People tell me to take the free ticket and leave. I can't go back to live like that. I do not know what to do?

Very bad, S. Very, very bad.

OK. First of all, we have to deal with issues separately. That you are having emotional problems is one thing but the financial problems are another.

You must understand that you do have a right to see your children. This is a fact. You may not have a right to live with your ex as you did in the past because she might not want you to, so, you must come to grips with this fact. But there are always legal remedies for all things and Lithuania has a court system just like any other place in the world. Now, this system might work differently than the one you are used to (this also apples to her family seeming crazy to you) but there is a system and you do have rights. About how to go about getting legal permission for this, you need to go to the proper local organs and ask. Maybe you need a lawyer's help or perhaps just ask a friend, they'll tell you.

But about the moral issue insofar as exactly how unfair life really is, well, I guess I should say something which according to your letter, the locals seem completely to understand:

Women do marry for money.

Now S, this is not only true in poor countries where people had to live on only $100 a month for a decade, but also in America as well; women marry for money.

If this wife of yours, a lady who agreed to have two children with you, went with you because you were an American and had potential access to larger sums of money, well, this is all pretty realistic if you ask me. Why the hell not? And really, the children need to eat, wear clothes, live in a nice house and maybe, G-d forbid, have some European style things sometimes; you know, some extra space and better texture now and then. So of course we are speaking of having enough money to take care of the kids for 18 years or so and most probably, weddings and housing after. Is this so strange? To me, this would be true anywhere in the world. And frankly, if you have failed to be the sort of person who can do these things for her and her kids, well, if this was a business and not family, I would say that you got fired for incompetence. Maybe this is not the case, but I would bet dollars to doughnuts that this is how she sees things. Think about it.

Now, as concerns their crazy family: It is possible that they are nuts but then again craziness is a product of nature and nurture. Yes, they might be bipolar and schizophrenic and manic depressive (just like everyone) but also remember that they are a product of that inelegant financial situation, which, when mixed in with years of communist philosophy, would probably and logically create a situation which to your eyes might seem a little on the rough side. Come on S, they didn't have anything that you did growing up. They didn't have even an inch of room financially to play. Everything hurts. You know this. You knew this going in.

So probably what happened was that you didn't have enough money and she ran home to mom. Sexually, she probably just didn't want to have any more children to have to feed because the ones she had didn't look like they were going to be fed. Or this is how it seems from what you have said. I think a lot of people would say that this would be a pretty normal reaction for any woman: She had a financial catastrophe on her hands (two kids to feed and not enough money) and made a choice from all the possibilities that she knew of in her life.

Does this sound reasonable to you? Again, I don't know everything, but from your letter, this is what it seems like to me.

So, all of this being said S, this is my advice for you: If you love her and wish to share in the joys of parenting, an activity I would highly, highly, highly recommend, you need to contact her and present yourself to her as the greatest possible husband and father and a man who is prepared to live and die for his family. You need to show her that you are willing to spend the rest of your days trying to give this family of yours everything they need for the present and for the future. You also need to tell this woman that you love, need and respect her and need her to give you some love, time, attention and affection in order to go on in life- How's that for romance? Well, you need to want this within reason of course because you know she has a lot to do as well, what with the raising of the kids, the bills to pay and all of the energy she spends cursing her deadbeat husband. Anyway, you get the picture.

Now, let's say you go this rout. First of all, she might not say yes at first and, there is a chance she might never say yes to anything you offer except money. This is and has always been the woman's prerogative. But perhaps somewhere down the line you might find some satisfaction in having done a good job of being a dad to children you saw fit to bring into the world and maybe, she might even kiss you on the cheek some day and say thank you. Who knows, anything is possible.

So, assuming you are buying into what I am saying, the next question would be: How to go about being this guy?

If we are talking about making America your choice, well, I don't know you and I don't know your past, but most probably everyone around you understands that there are far better chances to make better money there than here. This is not fantasy, this is reality. But the truth is you are on your ass here as well. It is nice that you are doing some teaching. Teaching is a wonderful profession; pays some money, has a long vacation and has lots of potential satisfactions. If you don't want to go home though, and this IS YOUR prerogative, trying to be the best teacher for your students is a very reasonable option. And if you do go with this, by all means do use your American mind to try to expand on the possibilities. Who knows, maybe this will work out for you.

But in any case, I think what we are really speaking about is your perception of whether or not you are accepted by the world, your wife, your community and by yourself as a man. Please S, do try and see the picture from a reasonable perspective. Let's say you are the boss of a company and two workers come to you for a job. The first one is on time, ready to work and seems ready to give his all for the project. The second is depressed, disheveled, behind on his rent and reeks of incompetence. Really S, who gets the job? And of course, doesn't this also apply to matters of love sex and family as well? Isn't the whole point of everything that the best man wins? Ok, ok, in the times of communism everyone was the same and even losers got their pay check. But I've got to tell you the truth, as much as you or I might want to wallow in nostalgia over the demise of the USSR (and they did that here for a long, long, long time, didn't they?), they just aren't doing that here any more. And really S, you simply are not living in the Soviet Union; you are living in the European Union. Lithuania is a European country and has been for several years now. You are not the Soviet Man, you are the Schengen zone.

So like the Godfather taught us: What can you do? You can act like a man!! Do you see your family? No man can be a real man unless he spends time with his family. Go do your job and if this job doesn't cut it, go find one that does. Put your nose in the book and read the words. Put your ass on the saddle and start peddling. No pain no gain, nothing to it but to do it and of course, nobody knows what a lesson in life is supposed to cost, but if you don't learn it the first time, you pay and pay and pay and pay.

Cheers to you and good luck on your road. I hope some of this was reasonably helpful to you. Let me know how things are going. And of course, I hope you will be ok if I use this material on the blog for others to think about as well.

Good luck from Pinsk,



Your advice is totally off the mark. It actually made me feel worse like the perpetrator instead of the victim.
I do not want my email on the blog, I wrote you because you have had a hard time as well.

Sorry. But you know, life is really hard and there aren't so many safety nets. You have got two kids: If they are not the first and only thing on your mind, you're not thinking straight. No matter what you say and no matter how you feel, you either provide for your family or you are a bum. You want them, go show her you love her and them and get your shit together. Maybe you need a lawyer. But in any case and especially if you have to go to court, you better be prepared to show you can handle the financial and emotional burden of caring for your children. This, my friend, is a fact of life.

How about without your name or e-mail? Yours is a universal deal. And I think my advice is reasonable. would that be ok?

Best of luck.

If your wife took off and left you alone there, you would be screwed just like me. Imagine trying to survive alone in a country where you do not speak the language, are alone, and isolated. If she wanted to have a decent life we both could have worked to provide for the kids. Just like everybody does. If I am A bum, it is because I have no chance to survive here, and I can not go back to America. How can I provide for my kids, when I can't provide for myself?

I am sorry S.
You have been there for eight years and you can't speak the language? You don't understand the system? You have never tried? If you can't speak the language, go back to America. If you cannot survive, you cannot afford a family. If you need a doctor, go to a clinic and ask for help. We have many homeless people in the world and many, many people who receive government assistance. I don't know what this woman did for you while you were together, but to me it sounds like she did most of the work and you got used to it. Sorry buddy, this is enough for me.

You have some hard decisions to make and I suggest you make them using a pen and paper and any family and any trusted friends you might have. But in any case you need to pull yourself together and try and do the right thing. The only thing I can suggest to you is that you consider that your main job in the world is to look after your children. If you can't find it in yourself to remember that you have two small, helpless and uneducated people who cannot at all survive with out competent, loving, strong, smart and responsible people helping them along, then you are one crazy stupid son of a bitch. Pull yourself together and get the hell back in the game and be a proper father. And if you can't, please get the hell out of the way and stop bothering people when they are trying to do their job.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will try to put this as nice as I can. I did not write you to have you exploit my situation for you personal gain.
You twisted the facts to suit your own needs. You have a lot of balls preaching to me about my having to support my children or I am a bum, while you in fact are the one who brought a child into this world being broke yourself.
I do not rely on a scam website to survive, nor do I need paypal to do so.
Here is your warning... Take that story of your site, or I will personally contact the government in which you live, and make your life a living hell. Should not be hard given the reputation of that country.
You have been warned, you have 24 hours.

Saturday, November 22, 2008  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Have fun. But it is surprising that you have energy to try and fuck me but not enough to get a job.

Now firstly, I live in Belarus and I don't make any money from this site, so if you are thinking of suing me, you are barking up the wrong tree. Basically, I just keep it up to remind Poland I am still around. I support my kid and my wife's kid with the work of my own hands. I also help quite a few people get where they want to go and have a pretty reasonable reputation here in Belarus and so, from this and how you cannot even figure out the rules in a country where your two children are growing up without knowing their deadbeat father, I'd be kinda shocked to see if you could figure something out here. But like I say, knock yourself out.

But then again, do you really want people to know who you are? I mean, I never used your name or address, for all anyone knows I wrote those letters myself. Maybe I did? I don't remember. But in my scenario, that guy took my advise, shook off his problems and pulled himself up by the bootstraps and became father of the year. It's an elegant story and a much better one than yours which says that the woman was right in leaving because her worthless bum husband was also a dangerous psycho who needed to be left behind for the sake of the kids.

YOU'RE gonna contact Belarus for help?!?!? Hey buddy, YOU are the guy they're fighting against.

And really, how could I twist your words when I printed your letters verbatim?

Best of luck and give my best to the wife and kids. xoxo

Saturday, November 22, 2008  
Anonymous Lee said...

Sounds like a nut case

Sunday, November 23, 2008  
Anonymous Steve said...

I really want to thank you for printing that letter from S. I think there are a lot of people in the world who have failed to understand the problems encountered by Eastern European women who have had to make relationship choices based upon their poor economic circumstances. I completely agree with you that this S character is a loser and probably the wife left him in fear. And now he's latching onto you just like he latched onto his poor wife. Really, why is he bothering you now? Get a life S!

Sunday, November 23, 2008  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Thanks Steve. I jut got nother letter from him. Now he wants my Pay Pal! Wow, six years of work all shot to hell because a manic depressive bum without a home, a job or even a reason to be has decided that hurting me for sharing my opinion is his new reason to live. Sigh.

Sunday, November 23, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Adam I agree with you. I just read the threat this guy left you. He's a control freak and a manipulator. 8 years and can't speak the language? I've been going to that part of the world for a long time and never had the time to really learn Russian/Belorussian but over the years have picked up a lot of it just by being there.
And "S" this is just an internet blog. You are anonymous, you need help. Get a grip.

Sunday, December 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds more like he got a mail order bride 8 years ago.

She was obviously doing it as a way to get out of Lith and away from her crazy family.

So he decides to take her back there, and she leaves back to America, I'm shocked. A real rocket scientist we have there.

Friday, January 30, 2009  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

I could not agree with you more. I have not heard from him in a while so I assume he has decided to go on with his life. I am not a forum for misfits when all is said and done but I do get my share. This guy was one of my more interesting admirers. I have to write more for this blog. It has gotten sick and tired without any attention.

Friday, January 30, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being Had, I had been reading your website thinking you were an interesting, intelligent person. And then I come across this exchange, which makes you look like a total asshole with far too much time on your hands to kick people when they are down. And then you make it public to boot. And now I guess I can expect a snotty and righteous reply.

I do hope that poor Polish lad in the car is okay.

Friday, February 27, 2009  

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