Intrepid Optimist is the place where I can share my stories; fact, fiction and thoughts from the past and present. It’s Written by myself for people who believe adventure knows no age
Despite my unassuming background and lack of what one would call a good educational background, I’ve rarely feel myself, except for a few occasions, to be lacking in self-esteem. However, there was one man, a South African, who whenever I met and against my will would give me that ghastly feeling of inferiority.
When I first heard about Dr or Col, Raymond Greystan, I was impressed not to say somewhat envious. Here was a man who had lived life to the full. American military service in Vietnam: doctor of psychology; Cordon Bleu chef and among other merits, broker to the elite. If you name it, he had done it and with apparent success. The man managed to do more in his forty years than most of us could even dream of achieving in one-hundred. He even looked and acted his role.
It was at a Chilean embassy reception, during General Augusto Pinochet’s rule that I first met him and I was impressed. His physical appearance and his savoir-faire dominated the occasion and had the immediate infuriating effect of making me feel a lesser being. Perhaps the only fault I could find in him was his apparent necessity to boast. It was not enough to know he had done this and achieved that but there seemed to be this need for him to elaborate, albeit eloquently, on his remarkable and enviable activities.
I was to hear much of him and his back-stage deals over the years and our paths crossed briefly on occasions in Ecuador and Columbia but it was while on a press visit to Venezuela that I was invited to visit him in his office. I found it to be exactly what I would have had expected. Photos of him with presidents and other easily recognizable international dignitaries, numerous degrees, diplomas and acknowledgements, all expensively framed, covered the walls. A large marble bust of some African president, with a brass plaque expressing that personage’s gratitude to the good doctor, held pride of place on his oversized mahogany desk. Although at that time I felt it was all too much, I still left his office feeling second-rate
I was to see no more of Greystan when both of us moved on to different pastures. Later I learned from a reliable source that the man had been exposed as a fraud. He evaded jail by fleeing to Liberia, where he was rumoured to be living in abject poverty. It seemed his references were mostly forgeries, his degrees purchased from Indian universities and his military service record, non-existent. I find it strange that despite his overbearing personality I still liked the man which makes me wonder; was the feeling one of inferiority or just envy?
Bryan R.Thomas Bonn, 23.11.2005
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