Saturday, April 22, 2006

One Down, Way Too Many To Go

I have a list of things I hope to accomplish while I’m in Iraq:

1. Stop all the bad guys.
2. Save all the good guys.
3. Develop some reliable way to tell the good guys from the bad guys.
4. Find WMDs so I can stop feeling used by the Bush administration.
5. Discover a new oil field that the U.S. can secretly tap. I figure the sooner G.W. gets what he wants, the sooner I can go home.
6. Catch Osama Bin Laden. I've heard some rumors about this and I might actually have to leave Iraq for that one.
7. Run a satellite version of the Boston Marathon in the ancient city of Ur.

I’m happy to report that I was able to cross one off the list. Last week I finished the Iraq Boston Marathon in an Army base in southern Iraq. The Boston Athletic Association set it up in conjunction with the Army and it was a lot of fun. The route ran up to the famous Ziggurat of Ur, a massive terraced pyramid in Abraham’s old hometown.

Note that I said I “finished” the marathon, instead of saying I “ran” the marathon. Somewhere between mile 14 and mile 16 my body crapped out on me in the 107-degree heat. This was my first marathon and I only had a month to train. It wasn’t an ideal situation but it was probably the only one of my goals that I, or anybody else, would be able to accomplish while in Iraq.

Marathons are cliché to use as analogies for life, and as I limped the last few miles to the finish line it was all I could do not to think of comparisons. Oh please tell me that our stay in Iraq will not be like a marathon. If it is, I’m about ready to wave for the first aid car to pick me up, stick an IV in my arm and drive me home.

In the mean time, I’ll keep my mind off the analogy by concentrating on my other goals. I think Bin Laden might be hanging out in the movie theater on Camp Anaconda, it’s always the last place you check.

photos: (top) The Ziggurat of Ur. (bottom) I'm standing on the steps of the ziggurat. Photos by Traci Varrasso, international recording artist (who, by the way, is not brainwashed)


Blogger esposito's box said...

Congrats on finishing the marathon, very impressive; I'd say downright biblical. I love the pictures. I hope your compiling all this Iraq stuff, it'll make a astounding memoir someday soon. I've been rereading Catch 22, and I cannot begin to tell you how the this-and-that of your blog posts and emails bears shocking similarities.

Oh, I almost forgot, I saw your house in Athens about a month ago. It was very pretty. Some dude was living there though so I let the air out of his tires. You can get him good when you get back.

1:45 AM  

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