“An interview with the shoe thrower.”

By Melvin Durai

His name is Muntazer al-Zaidi and he's the toast of the Middle East and many other parts of the world. Never before has anyone achieved so much acclaim for throwing a pair of shoes. He threw them at President Bush, of course, an act that he's somewhat embarrassed about, as I learned during an exclusive telephone interview.



Me: "Muntazer, thank you for taking my call."

Muntazer: "I did not know I could take calls. How much are you paying the prison warden?"

Me: "I'm giving him a pair of shoes."

Muntazer: "You can send them to me. I will deliver them for you."

Me: "No, thanks. I saw your last delivery."

Muntazer: "You are right, my friend. It was a bad delivery. A very bad delivery. I'm embarrassed about it."

Me: "People say you are a hero. Do you consider yourself a hero?"

Muntazer: "No, I am not a hero. I missed the target. It was a bad delivery. I should have thrown harder and lower. I did not practice enough."

Me: "You mean you practiced for this?"

Muntazer: "Of course I practiced. I spent many hours at the shoeing range."

Me: "Shoeing range? You mean there's a special place where you can practice throwing shoes?"

Muntazer: "Yes, we have many shoeing ranges here. They provide us with hundreds of shoes, as well as cardboard cutouts of President Bush."

Me: "So throwing shoes at President Bush is a national sport in Iraq?"

Muntazer: "Yes, it is a very popular sport. We have many competitions. But we do it in secret places. We don't want the American soldiers to find out."

Me: "You are afraid of getting into trouble?"

Muntazer: "No, we are afraid of having too many players. The lines are too long already."



Me: "There are lines? People stand in lines to throw shoes at cutouts of President Bush?"

Muntazer: "Yes, the lines are very long. But it is good for the people. It is a form of therapy."

Me: "Was it therapeutic for you to throw shoes at the actual president?"

Muntazer: "Yes, it was. And then they arrested me and brought me to prison."

Me: "So it's not therapeutic anymore?"

Muntazer: "No, it is very untherapeutic."

Me: "What do you think of the president's reflexes?"

Muntazer: "He moved like a man who is used to having shoes thrown at him."

Me: "Are you sorry about what you did?"

Muntazer: "Yes, I am sorry. I am sorry that I missed."

Me: "You are extremely popular in the Arab World. I heard that an Egyptian man has even offered his 20-year-old daughter in marriage to you. How do you feel about that?"

Muntazer: "I feel like throwing more shoes."

Me: "I heard that the Pittsburgh Pirates want to sign you to a pitching contract. Is that true?"

Muntazer: "Yes, they made inquiries about my availability. But I am considering a more lucrative job offer."

Me: "A more lucrative job offer?"

Muntazer: "Yes, Madonna has offered me a job. She wants me to throw shoes at her ex-husband."

Me: "Which one?"

Muntazer: "I'm not sure. We are still negotiating the details."

BYLINE:

Melvin Durai is a Manitoba-based writer and humorist. A native of India, he grew up in Zambia and has lived in North America since the early 1980s. Read his humor blog at http://www.Nshima.com Write to him at comments@melvindurai.com.

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