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it could have been worse
By Dennis Batchelder 1 April 1998

maybe it could have been worse. i have my doubts, though.

what a lousy day for us here in singapore! it started out this morning; neither latif nor i slept very well last night, and that caused us to wake up late. which forced us to rush like mad to get to the show before it started. well, we made it, but just barely - we had 15 minutes to spare.

or so we thought. what we didn't realize was that the show had started the evening before, and while we were gallavanting around Malaysia with naked mannikins, people (including the press) were coming to our booth, leaving us messages. the worst thing was that the electricians had shut off the power and hung a sign stating that we were in violation of singapore electrical codes (we had "borrowed" a plug from the next booth over, and i guess they complained).

all right. we got that all fixed, set up, and were ready for the morning crowd. but then came the next emergency: montezuma's revenge with a chinese accent. this kept latif and i playing tag team with the asian toilets in the floor. ugh! i'd be in the middle of talking to a customer, and have to excuse myself and run. the worst times were when latif was already in the bathroom, and i had to wait. and answer people's questions. and bend over and get the demo disks. i thought the day would never end!

even that we survived. we started taking immodium a.d. at noon, and things improved tremendously by the end of the day. we were so happy to get out of the exhibition hall, but when we were on the sidewalk, latif remembered that he had forgotten to lock the counter (this is how the computers in london were stolen, so he was a bit sensitive about it). then he couldn't find his exhibitor's badge to get back in, so he starting emptying out his pockets. eventually, he found the badge, and picked everything up.

so there i was, waiting for latif on the sidewalk, getting hotter and hotter. my arthritis is hurting, my butt is sore, and my stomach hurts. FINALLY he comes back, and tells me that in fact he had locked the cabinet, and sorry for making wait so long; he had to stop in the restroom again.

it gets worse. as we're crossing the street, someone whistles and yells at us to stop. we thought he was talking to someone else, so we kept going. then two cops appeared with guns in their hands, and told us to lie face down on the sidewalk.

it seems that when latif was looking for his badge, the immodium a.d. wrapper fell out onto the sidewalk. that's littering, and in singapore, that's a fine of $50. but because we didn't stop when whistled and yelled at, the "crime" became avoiding a law enforcement official, which i guess is a felony here.

latif played dumb. he said the wrapper wasn't his, and even worse, he said that i had dropped it! which caused us to start bickering with each other as to whose it really was.

the Snare Networks partnership was in jeopardy. we were both so mad at each other. neither of us wanted to get jailed (or God forbid, caned), especially because we were both convinced that the other had dropped it. a crowd began to gather around us - mostly americans; i guess the local people keep away from the cops.

all of a sudden, latif sat up, and said to the cop that he admitted it; he did drop the wrapper, and he was truly sorry. finally! the cops let us get up, lectured us on the dangers of littering and resisting arrest, and then made us pick up the wrapper, plus led us in an inspection of the whole block-length of the sidewalk. fortunately, it was clean, because i think they would have made us pick up any other trash we found.

how embarrassing! we looked up, and saw that the press from the show was there, and had taken our pictures. naturally, we were still in our Snare shirts. who knows? maybe we'll be on television tonight.

hopefully, tomorrow will be better. i'm going to bed now (it's 8:00; we're skipping supper). just remember us in your prayers, ok?


btw: here is a picture latif took of the world's biggest fountain. it's located outside of our hotel window. we couldn't think of a story to write about it, so instead we decided to tell you this april fool's story! hope you liked it! (the show started this morning, we were on time, we had a great turnout, and there was a lot of interest. no trash problems. no immodium. no tag teams. no cops.)

2 April 1998

hey you all:

the april fools message was just that - an april fools joke.

here's some of the comments latif and i got back:

from arlene: Funny thing about that story - I really believe it could happen to you two... I am remembering the caving experience in New Zealand!

from eliza: Truly great story, but the littering fine is $1000.

from atoosa: You guys had quite an adventure! I hope everything is ok now

from becky: Great story! You had me goin' there for a while--I was there, I could see it all. I was feeling your pain right down to your burning butthole. Great imagry!!

from kristin: Take care and don't let Latif litter anymore. I don't want to have to explain to my Warden that my brother and his business partner were arrested in some foreign country for littering and resisting arrest or whatever !!

from pam: I'm glad that you guys are OK. Traveling in a different country is not always fun I guess. Now you know not to litter. I'll be praying for you.

from marty: I liked the story. After the second paragraph, I realized it was bullsh*t!

from mureed's brother (a doctor, who heard from latif's wife): I am concerned about your health. I called Ruby and found out about your Gastro intestinal ailments, Are you guys OK? Let me know. If i could be of any help?

from dennis and latif: APRIL FOOLS!

it could have been worse - singapore