Sunday, January 28, 2007
When Everything's Made To Be Broken, I Just Want You To Know Who I Am
Firebrand. Upstart. Warlord. Zealot. Killer. Terror-izer.
That's the Muqtada al-Sadr those pimps and jackals over at CNN want you to see. But you know what? That's not the Muqtada al-Sadr I know.
I remember the freshman picnic at the dorms when we were first moving in. Only dude there not eating the barbecue baby-back ribs. I'm all "Hey, man, you gotta hit these," and he's like "No, swine is unclean," and I'm all "Yeah, but pussy ain't exactly kosher neither, but I bet you wouldn't say no to that, would you?"
He might have blushed, but I couldn't tell what with his full beard and elaborate head covering. But hey, I didn't judge. That was part of the reason I was going to college: to meet new people and experience new cultures up close. And to bang sorority girls. And learn stuff (time permitting).
I guess we hit it off OK because as far as I know, I was the only dude on our hall who hadn't been subject to some kind of goddamn fatwa or another. Half the dudes had worked their way all the way up to a full-on jihad, which was awkward as shit in the dining hall. We arranged it so he could be my roommate, which was cool with me because they guy I was originally stuck with--Joseph? Jonah? I forget--spent all his time either talking to his mom on the phone or jerking off, after either of which he would cry. Every time.
We worked a kind of informal cultural exchange, me and Muqtada. It wasn't long until he had shortened his name to "Todd", lost the head-scarf and actually could talk to a girl without reminding her she was a shameless concubine of Satan in a state of undress unfit for public dispay. From him I learned you could totally have a bong in your room if you called it a "hookah" and said it was cultural.
Those were good days, man. Here's a picture of Da Krew back in the day, yo:
That's my boy on the right. I'm not in this one. Someone had to take the picture.
Man, that brings back some memories. I'd forgotten about that sweatshirt. He was way into the Goo Goo Dolls. They played a free show on the lawn behind our dorms one time. He kind of token-protested about music being the way to licentiousness and thus damnation, but he came out anyway. That shit took him by surprise. From then on, every time he would hear "Iris" he would cry. I mean not like misty eyes and a little lip quiver, like full on fucking bawling. Whenever it was his turn to pick on movie night, you could bet your infidel ass it was going to be fucking City of Angels. I swear to you I've seen that shit like 180 times.
Some of the guys gave him shit for being both sensitive and representing interests in direct contravention to those of America's greater foreign policy goals within the Middle East, but I gave him a pass. We had a lot in common. We were hopeless idealists, pursuing our courses of study out of reckless passion, practicality be damned. I majored in history while he majored in Sectarian Partisan Destabilization. I didn't know the school even had a department for that, but apparently not everything Rush Limbaugh says about modern American universities is wrong.
We would make fun of each other. He'd say after graduation I would be able to go on for hours talking about the Reformation in Wales so long as I only had a "Caution: Wet Floor" pylon to talk to all day. And I'd say "Yeah, and you'll be all 'There is no God but God and Muhammed is His messenger! Would you like fries with that?" I'm pretty sure we both thought it was funny, but in retrospect, I guess I laughed a little harder at that then he did.
As graduation got closer, he got a lot more serious. Out of the blue, he hit me up with a proposition to go back to his homeland with him and work for his dad, like he was going to. He said all I'd have to do was some light paperwork, maybe some phones and occasionally stoke the fires of centuries-long ethno-religious hatreds to an outbreak of violence, but that it would be easy because those crazy fuckers were going to try and kill each other anyway, all we had to do was stand back and let 'em. I didn't really get how you made any money at that. Plus I had an interview to set up my dream career of Not Working as a Failed Writer all lined up, so I politely declined. I'm not going to lie, he seemed irked.
We were drifting apart. The institutional bond of college was fading. It's an old story. The last straw was at the graduation party. He got blitzed on half a Near Beer, so me and some of the guys decided to punk him like we saw on collegehumor.com.
Dude did NOT think it was funny when he woke up. He was so pissed we didn't even tell him about the rabbi we paid to "convert" him when he was out. Which sucks because that shit was expensive. But we didn't want to push him. Dude was bent.
I finally got my jihad against me and yeah, I guess I kind of deserved it. It was a dickish thing to do. I mean, the guy was just being himself. It can't have been easy for him in a new country, strange language, strange culture. Plus all the pressure on him to do well. I mean, the guy comes from a place where a whole section of a city is named after his dad. We should have been easier on him, I guess.
Sorry, Todd. I hope all this anger and fomenting of sectarian revenge killing isn't our fault.
We had some good times though, right?
I know you remember this one:
I mean that seriously. Stop killing people and shit.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.4