Life of Hardin in Paraguay

Laugh as you travel through life with Josh Hardin.

Location: Spring Hill, TN, United States

Josh Hardin began writing in high school and published his first novel when he was twenty-two. He won an EPPIE award for his mystery novel "The Pride of Peacock." His non-fiction work includes "The Prayer of Faith", a book aimed at making personal prayers both powerful and effective. He has traveled widely and taught a summer philosophy course at the International University in Vienna. Hardin grew up in Tennessee and moved to Paraguay in 2006. He moved back to Tennessee in 2008.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Life of Hardin Vol. III, No. 15

Paraguay: The Friendly Country

Paraguayans are some of the friendliest people you are ever likely to meet. They will without fail bid you good day on the street, sometimes even if you do not bid them good day first. They will ask you about your health, and truly be interested. They will tell you that you are fat, and mean no evil by it. They simply wish to spur you to exercise. They will tell you that you are thin, and mean no good by it. They simply want you to have sufficient insulation against the cold. The fruit vendor will quote you a price for a watermelon or a sack of lemons, then only charge you the friend rate. He has such a spirit of charity that he will proceed to make friends with the rest of his customers as well. The average man on the street will stop to help direct your car into a tight parking slot, and will not mind a bit if you tap the other car just slightly. He is perfectly happy so long as he could be of service.

Bear in mind, this is not simply for close friends or relatives. They take such an interest in the lives of others that this applies to all. They take being their brother’s keeper seriously, and everyone is their brother so long as they can keep him by heaping advice on his head.

I give this example.

I went to the supermarket the other day. I pulled in and bumped a rebar tower with the front bumper. No damage. But one of the bag boys was outside. He thought it was funny.

“Do it harder,” he said.

“I don’t want to do it harder,” I said as I backed up and straightened the car.

“Okay, I’ll help! Closer! Closer! Why’d you stop? There’s still room left.”

“That’s good enough,” I said.

“You scared now?”

“That’s right, I’m scared.”

“Ha! He’s scared now!”

I got out.

“So what you gonna get?” he asked.

“A Sprite Zero.”

“That all? You need to get a bunch of stuff.”

“I don’t need a bunch of stuff. I just need a Sprite for supper.”

“What you gonna get? A liter and half?”


“You gonna get the double pack?”

“No, just the one?”

“What!? Why not the double?”

“I don’t need the double! I just need one.”

“Ok, just get one then. That’s okay.”

So I went in. I got my Sprite and came back out. He was picking up trash in the parking lot. I said, “What’s your name?”


“Here.” I flipped him a coin. I really did flip it so I could feel like a big shot.

He is now my friend forever. He would stick his arm in fire up to here for me, I have no doubt.

But he did not call me fat. I don’t care how friendly he was, had he done that, he would have received no tip.