Friday, March 07, 2008
You Did WHAT in the Army?
So, what did you do in the army, if it’s not a secret.
I was chatting with my taxi driver and, as per usual, looking for some language practice. Most Russian men have served in the military and that makes for good conversation.
I danced, he answered, glancing in the rearview mirror.
You danced? You danced? Why?
Because I was good at it.
No, I mean, why did you dance as a job in the army?
Because I was good at it. I was in the dance ensemble and we performed for the troops.
Eventually I came to understand that Mr. Driver served in the army not as a pilot, a gunner, a mechanic, a photographer, certainly not as a chaplain – but a dancer. And his dancing was during a time of conflict, during Russia’s war in Afghanistan.
We danced to bring joy to the troops, make them laugh. War is a terrible thing and they needed happiness.
You know, now that I think about it, I believe one of our presidents served in the army as an actor.
That’s right. He played the saxophone.
Well, no, that was someone else. I’m talking President Reagan. He was an actor in the army.
The idea of serving ones country as a dancer was new to me. Of course entertainers such as Bob Hope have always made special tours to encourage the troops. But dancers in the army? This was a paradigm shift.
As the taxi neared my destination, I thought about you, dear blog readers. And thought you might like to meet this nice man. Happened to have my trusty camera along and he happily posed for a photo.
So there he is – Army Dancer, Retired. Oopsie, I didn’t manage to get his name. But chances are that his name would be Sasha (short for Alexander) or Seryozha (short for Sergey) or Vova (short for Volodya) or Zhenya (short for Euvgenie) or Vlad (for Vladimir). Because that’s what maybe 85% of the Russian men are named.
Now it’s your turn: Had an interesting conversation with a driver? How about a surprising job in the military?