Meet Mike: I originally met Mike back in Saigon eating some pho and he happened to be staying in my dorm that night. He was challenged that evening by a Scottish bloke to a drinking contest and although I can’t say who won, I can say that Mike passed out on the streets of Saigon only to wake up noticing the cash in his pants were gone and his cards on the street.
I ran into Mike again later in my trip in Dalat, Hoi An, Phong Nha, and lastly Hanoi. We grew close each time we met.
It’s safe to say our friendship grew more once we got to Hanoi. Why? Because Mike did something I never once imagined anybody would do…get a Sheldon tattoo! I would love to say it’s because Sheldon made such an impact on travellers throughout Vietnam, because he has, but it wasn’t that…let me explain what made Mike go and get Sheldon tattooed onto his body. Oh, did I mention Mike had no prior tattoos? This is his first tattoo!!
In Britain there’s this game they play called “Odds-on”. I met an Aussie who says they do it there too but in England, they take this game very seriously. Here is how it works:
You challenge someone to do something, much like a dare. The “challengee” would agree but only to a game of odds – “okay odds on, 10 to 1” they would say. Then you get a 3rd party person to count down 3-2-1…and then the challenger and challengee would say a number between 1 and 10. If both people say the same number, the challengee must do the dare. And as I mentioned earlier, the Brits take this very seriously. It’s actually quite comical the shit I’ve seen they had to do.
So going back to Mike and his tattoo…we were sitting at the hostel bar drinking some beers when Omar initially said he’d get a tattoo of Sheldon. After a few more drinks Omar managed to somehow back out of this which lead to our mate Aron challenging Omar to a game of odds getting a tattoo. To Omar’s relief, they said different numbers. Now the attention shifted to Mike…Omar challenges Mike to the dare and Mike says “okay 15 to 1”. FIFTEEN!! Fuck, I know it’s still rare but to put it in perspective not even I would agree to 50 to 1. My dad would absolutely kill me if I came back with a tattoo, let alone it being a Sheldon tattoo. So Aron starts the countdown…3-2-1…and by the luck of the gods both Omar and Mike say SEVEN. We all got up, spilling our beer bottles, yelling and cellying hard whereas Mike bent down in shock. In my head I’m thinking surely he must not go through with it. This kid has no tattoos at all and getting your first tattoo of a dinosaur would be ridiculous! Initially Aron and I accompanied Mike to witness this but the tattoo parlour was busy that day so he had to come in the next day. Unfortunately Aron, Omar, and I had booked our cocktail cruise tour through Halong Bay and Cat Ba islands! Very unfortunate as I would’ve loved to have been there to take pictures as it was happening. But I got to give it to Mike…he went through with it. Sheldon has made his way onto somebody’s body and sticking around for life. Unbelievable. And as for Mike, he truly is a friend for life. As the Brits would say…he is a sound geezer. A proper geezer.