Qatar is Meaty and Andrew Jackson Fights Dragons?

A few years ago I had a two-week assignment for work at a military base in Qatar. I'm not in the military. I think I'd be a crappy military guy, because I don't like guns and I'm comfortable talking about my feelings. If I joined the military with these traits, at the very least I'd get locked in a Porta Potty in Alabama. With a wild boar. Another reason I'd wash out of the military is that I'm not from Texas, and I think high school football is a stupid way to spend a Friday night.

Look, I just have to say something, and I'm sorry if you're from Texas, but when an entire state revolves around high school football, that state is not well-positioned to secede. If you want to secede, you need something that can fight back against stuff like Andrew Jackson. And teenagers in jock straps can't take down Andrew Jackson. Bullets can't even take down Andrew Jackson.* The only thing that I think might be able to take down Andrew Jackson is a monstrous flying dragon that emits radiation. With Vesuvius riding on its back, erupting and stuff. So, Texas, high school football sucks, dragons and Italian volcanoes are cool. Capiche?

Cupcakes. Not as good as meat, but close. But, what if... meat cupcakes?
* Andrew Jackson was in a duel once -- at least once -- and I think this particular duel was over a woman. And Jackson is so manly that he lets the other guy take the first shot, which of course hits him. Wounded and bleeding, Jackson then takes his shot and kills the other guy, and lives the rest of his life with that bullet in his shoulder. I hope I have the details right -- I read this in American Lion about three years ago, but I'm too lazy to pull it out to refresh my memory. Either way, Jackson could pulverize any of the sissy candidates we're forced to deal with today. I'm not saying Jackson was great -- most native Americans would probably think he was not -- but I am saying he could beat you up while eating mashed potatoes and gravy with one hand and playing horseshoes with the other.

So I went to Qatar, but I wasn't in the military, because I like hair and I hate socks. And also America only has wars in lame, hot places. I might sign up if we attacked the Seychelles. Qatar was okay. I was there during Ramadan, and I went to an iftar at the Ritz-Carlton. I won't tell you how much it cost, because then you would mug me and think I wear polo shirts. But I don't. I hate them, like I hate dung beetles. It was spendy, but worth it, because I sat in a big tent inside a big hotel, and I ate meat and I watched a whirling dervish and I got dizzy and a little queasy and then I ate more meat. One of the better nights of my life, to tell you the truth.

But what I'm really trying to say about this trip to Qatar is that I'm really glad I went. Not because it was all that cool, but because it seems to always be something I add to conversations, whether or not it really fits. For some reason, my brain always thinks my trip to Qatar is relevant to the matter at hand.

It works with military dudes
Military dude: Dude, I'm in the military.
Me: Oh really? I went to Qatar once.
Military dude: You mean Cutter?
Me: Yeah. I saw a guy with a gun there.
Military dude: Serious?!! That's &!%$ing awesome!!
Me: I know.

It works with white-collar workers talking about work trips
Wussy white-collar guy: I just got back from a work trip to San Diego.
Me: Oh that's neat. What were you doing there?
Wussy white-collar guy: Auditing a company that makes desk legs.
Me: Oh wow that's super lame. Listen, so I went to Qatar once for work.
Wussy white-collar guy: Oh that's neat. Do you still have a job?
Me: No, not really.
Wussy white-collar guy: Oh wow you're pretty pathetic. Listen, I have to go do wussy work and make a whole buttload of money, soooo... catch you later.

It works with academics
Professor guy who is too smart to shower: I know everything about the Middle East.
Me: I went to Qatar once for work.
Smelly professor: What did you think of the culture?
Me: [remembering that glorious night at the Ritz]: I'd say it was... meaty.

And it works with anyone who has ever traveled anywhere I don't really know anything about
Pretentious world traveler: I just got back from a trip to [insert weird and tiny African nation no one has ever heard of that is ruled by a crazy guy who used to eat the flesh of members of opposing tribes back in the dark days when a European colonial power ran things and who still eats the flesh of members of opposing tribes, but only on special occasions].
Me: [to myself] Holy, I've never heard of that place. I'll look like an idiot if I can't think of a good comment about that place I've never heard of. I don't want world-traveler over there to think he's more cultured than me and that he's seen gangs of tweens hopped up on LSD set fire to entire villages and I haven't.
Me: [to pretentious world traveler]: Oh sweet. So, did you have a driver drive you everywhere? Because when I went to Qatar, someone drove me everywhere I wanted to go.
Pretentious world traveler: You mean like a taxi driver?
Me: Sort of. Well, yes. Except they're not called taxis in Qatar.
Pretentious world traveler: Are they called the Arabic word for taxis?
Me: Sort of. Well, yes.

Soooo.... I've been to Qatar. And I went to the mall there. And swam in a pool. And played computer games in my barrack on my day off. Be honest, I'm sounding pretty awesome now, right?