Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Ambassador of Fun - by Christopher

The Dallas Stars hockey team had a radio promotion a couple of years back where Brett Hull would enthusiastically hype the upcoming game. He would introduce himself at the beginning of the spot as “the ambassador of fun.”

Maybe it stuck in my head all this time so that when I meet US Ambassador James Jeffrey today I can shake his hand and introduce myself as Chris Wehkamp, “the ambassador of fun.”

That little joke might take some of the edge off of this forced encounter. Not that I’m terribly disinclined to meet the ambassador. I think I suggested to Sarah a few times over the last several months that we make a trip to the U.S. embassy. You know, take the tour and admire the sniper towers and all that.

No, I’m just miffed at the occurrence of yet another poorly planned, spur-of-the-moment meeting. With no clear purpose. With mandatory attendance.

Ambassador Jeffrey was either invited by our administration to descend upon our campus or invited himself, I don’t know which. All that has been made clear to us, the staff of the school, is that our presence is requested before His Grace at 3pm, and don’t be late. And screw you if you had other things planned for 3pm.

An email announcing this meet-and-greet went out yesterday, the day before the event. That’s pretty poor planning on somebody’s part to announce a mandatory meeting for all American staff and students the day before the event. Especially one scheduled for the end of the day when most staff either have periods to teach or other, marginally less pointless meetings.

Really, what sort of event could be more pointless than the one we are tasked with attending today? I didn’t travel six thousand miles away from America to listen to one of her mouthpieces crack wise. Or pontificate. Or to subject myself to beaurocratic glad-handing. And what else besides these three things could an ambassador do with me?

Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Turkish elementary schools have been stable for decades, so he can’t be planning to stage peace talks with us. Maybe he’ll offer us an olive branch anyway? I’ve always wanted to be offered an olive branch; maybe today’s finally the day.

I just can’t imagine what in Batman’s Batboat this guy could possibly have to say to me that would be worth listening to. Besides maybe, “Yep, we all came to Ankara. What the hell were we thinking, am I right?”

But even that wouldn’t be worth rearranging my afternoon on a day’s notice.

I’m actually really sorry for the guy. Not one person I’ve spoken with wants to go to this meeting today. But if we’d been told a week before-hand, and been given the choice to go, I’m sure he’d be greeted today by an enthusiastic group who actually wants to be in attendance. Maybe Sarah and I would even be in that group.

Oh, well. He’ll have to show his antique toy train collection to a crowd of grumps instead, or whatever he’s going to do. Shake our hands and smile in our faces is probably all.

I hope he doesn’t enact crippling trade sanctions against our school cafeteria when we fail to register shock and awe.

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