To get to Juan Valdez coffee from here I have to walk by the sports complex at the University of Antioquia. It’s a big campus.
Today, there were about 40 kids out on the tennis courts and as I walked by, I looked over and the words flashed across my mind. “That’s got to be tennis as an elective class.”
The keys to spotting tennis as an elective are
- They don’t play across the net, they play perpendicular and hit the ball 20 feet.
- The players put the racket in front of their face and look through it as they’re… well… missing the ball.
- There is a large number of extremely hot girls that are never going to go out with the guys that are looking through their rackets trying to hit the ball.
I took scuba…
as an elective and weight lifting as an elective. In weightlifting, I was graded against guys like Pear-man, Stein Steinstein and Mohammad Zia al Rookie Islamabad Jihad. I could have been in a wheel chair and gotten an A.
Scuba was a bit more interesting. The class was filled with a bunch of guys (idiots) like me who believed we were going to learn how to scuba dive. What we actually learned how to do was go somewhere else to learn how to scuba dive.
My place was Thailand. My instructor was a guy named William Boyd. I remember that because my old PADI card is sitting on my desk. William was a putzy-ass Brit that fashioned himself as a drill instructor in the Royal Marines. The schools no-refund policy gave William (don’t ever call a brit Bill, they totally unravel) a slave holder like control over the class.
My class consisted of about 10 guys and girls. I only remember a few. There was a cute little American named Chrissy that worked in the CIA station in Bangkok. The CIA station was a secret. What that means in American is that everybody on earth knew it was there except American taxpayers.
There was an Aussie
that was a complete drunk. He usually spent his nights getting totally shit faced with me at the Marine bar. (Not Marines but marine as in the bay jutting out over the water.)
There was another American that looked like Michael Phelps. I think he was gay. He never hit on Chrissy. Hell, even the women hit on Chrissy.
We spent the week either swimming laps or watching William pace back and forth barking out orders about how we were all going to die and ending by saying today was the last day he was going to the PK Villa to make up me and the Aussie. (We’d miss the alarm because we’d set it for six and get home at 7.)
We stayed alive…
because my old girlfriend Miko (Who is a character in both the Schneider series as well as Rat Trap) gave us a bottle of these tiny energy pills. Red Bull would be invented decades later. I found that if you combined one pill with 6 prawns and a bag of deep fried crickets, you’d have an energy surge like Roger Ramjet. (For the sake of pure science, I never tried the pill without the deep-fried crickets or the prawns)
But the class really taught me three things. First, trying to pick up a CIA analyst is a waste of time. Second, that I totally hate scuba diving and third, there is really no relationship between scuba and scuba as an elective.
I’m sure that if you go to the Mongolian Steppe…
and walk by the University of Mongolia, you’ll see a bunch of college kids that are taking Buzkashi as an elective. Buzkashi, also known as “dead goat polo” is a sport where Mongolians ride horses and try to toss a dead goat in a net. (In Scotland this is known as dwarf tossing as an elective) They probably use horses heads on a stick because they don’t have horses in a college but they probably DO use a dead goat because that would be on the dinner menu the next day.
I can’t help imagining though that in Antioquia there is a doctor pulling pieces of tennis ball out of a kids nose after a guy going from tennis as an elective goes to to standing in front of a Pete Sampras serve. Or in Mongolia pulling a Mongolian college student out of a dead goat’s ass.
Either way the goal is the same. To graduate with 120 credits with a major that requires only 60 means you have to find another 60. It could be worse. They could be taking political science.
Cool spy novel