Friday, September 23, 2005

True story: when I was a graduate student in the 1980s, I was invited by an Arab student group at the University of Kansas to give a talk. The leader of the group was a Syrian student by the name of Tha'ir Lahham. He picked me up from the airport, and takes me for tea at his place. In his apartment, I see a huge poster for the Syrian comedian, Durayd Lahham. I looked, and asked my host: "Do you like him"? He said: "yes, very much. What about you?" I said: "I used to like him when he was a silly clown, but find him very obnoxious and annoying when he started to take himself too seriously, wanting to be a "moviestar." He should just go back to his clowning days, and forget about these boringly serious movie roles." He listened but did not react. Later, after my talk, the Arab students invited me to dinner. During dinner, as we were joking, Tha'ir was laughing. I looked at him and said: "I can't believe this. You laugh like Durayd Lahham." He said:" He is my dad."