Sunday, December 24, 2006

Swimming Academy

I dreamed that I joined a military swimming academy, perhaps something like the Navy SEALS. My sergeant was Tom Cruise, who I do think is a great filmmaker by the way, in spite of the wide contempt in which the public seems to hold him. But come on, you've got to admit that Vanilla Sky, Collateral and War of the Worlds were great pictures. And even his earlier films, like Jerrry McGuire and Rainman had value, portraying these arrogant, shallow characters who go through some transformative experience and are forced to become more humble.

Back to the swimming academy. The first day my sergeant (Tom) harangued me and singled me out for abuse because for some reason I did not have the proper haircut, and I did not have the sheet of instructions all the other recruits had. I was behind in my training and had not yet swum a single lap. I asked my bunkmate for help and he said, "Why should I help you, what do we have in common?"

"I don't know," I said, "Where are you from."


"Oh," I said, "I have a good friend in Cincinnatti." Which is not exactly true. Dr. Sayed's son Ayman was relocated to Cincinnatti by the company he works for, The Gap, and I have known him since he was a baby but we are not exactly friends.

I decided to forget all other considerations for now and just start swimming, but I discovered to my horror that I had not brought any swimming trunks. I went to find Tom Cruise. I said, "Sir, I know this is going to sound idiotic, but I don't have any trunks. Can I go buy a pair?" He shook his head and laughed and muttered something under his breath, then said, "Go ahead."

I figured I'd go by Supercuts to get the right haircut while I was at it, then maybe Taco Bell. I hurried to the barracks to get my wallet. When I opened my bag I spotted a pair of pink swimming trunks, that I now rememered bringing. I said to my bunkmate, "My swimming trunks are back!"

"Oh yeah," he said, "The captain borrowed a bunch of stuff for a skit. Your pink trunks were a riot."

What was I thinking, bringing pink trunks? I'd never hear the end of it. I'd better buy a new pair anyway.

Just then the barracks phone rang. "Hey recruit," someone shouted at me. "It's for you."

I picked up the receiver. A woman's voice declared, "I saw your website on TV."

"Who is this?" I said. "Someone of the female persuasion clearly, but I don't recognize your voice."

"Maymuna, of course," she replied. Which was odd since I have not seen her since she was six years old. "I've been watching this current events roundup show on cable, and your website was mentioned three times."

"Yes," I said. "They have software that does that now."

"You know," she said. "Ismail is waiting for you to take him camping."


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