June 12, 2003

Kamikaze Redux

I was hurting for a newspaper column this week, so I ended up mining this blog for something, ANYTHING, to send out so my consecutive streak of weekly columns would not be broken. I ended up recycling something I wrote a long time ago about a kamikaze instructor. Soooooooooooo:

"How Does One Train a Kamikaze Pilot?" c. Ryan Rhodes, June 11, 2003

This week, we travel back in time to 2002. You may remember that bygone year as the one when Enron discovered it had no money, a pair of snipers prowled the Washington D.C. Beltway, and a young columnist by the name of Ryan Rhodes continued his insistence that he was, in fact, a smoking hot specimen of male hunkiness.

Also, in October 2002, according to a Reuters new report out of London, "a man who had once trained Japanese kamikaze pilots had a friendly meeting with some of their former targets."

"Hichiro Naemura, who volunteered to be a kamikaze bomber pilot, but was ordered to train others before carrying out his own suicide mission, visited London's Imperial War Museum to help present a book in which he served as a source."

Now, here's a head-scratcher of a question for you: How does one train a kamikaze pilot? To me, this seems like an academic discipline that would be extremely difficult to excel in. Imagine you're a 17-year-old Japanese student, unsure of your future direction. So, you drop by the school guidance counselor for some advice. He tells you that you may have a bright future as a kamikaze instructor.

"Oh. Okay. I'll have think about that one for awhile. Thanks."

Just by virtue of the fact that the teacher was alive, that would seem to indicate that he was, at the very least, a failed, or substandard, kamikaze pilot, not the type of guy you want teaching a class filled with aspiring kamikazes.

Granted, it's probably much easier to learn kamikaze techniques from a living teacher than a corpse, but I'd prefer to learn from the best rather than some joker who didn't even have the common decency to fly an explosive-laden airplane into the broadside of a battleship himself. I can just imagine a classroom full of incredulous students, unwilling to listen to an instructor who had no firsthand experience as a kamikaze.

And, really, as a kamikaze instructor, what kind of disciplinary action would be at your disposal for dealing with rowdy students? How can you come up with a bigger punishment than successful completion of the class? Do you threaten to graduate them a month or two early? Let's imagine a hypothetical kamikaze class, shall we?

KAMIKAZE INSTRUCTOR: Now, pay attention class and open your kamikaze manuals to page 36. Read your books carefully because this knowledge could very well save your life one day. . .er. . . I mean. . .on second thought, let's put our books down and I'll write on the board.

KAMIKAZE STUDENT #1 *whispering to neighbor*: This guy doesn't know what he's talking about. Look at him up there, breathing air, with a pulse. He's no kamikaze pilot.

KAMIKAZE STUDENT #2: I know what you mean. My four brothers all died gloriously last week. Each one of them had more kamikaze knowledge in their little fingers than this guy will ever have.

KAMIKAZE INSTRUCTOR: Is there a problem back there? Maybe you'd like to come up here and teach the class. No? Then I suggest you pay attention. Now, as I was saying, the landing gear must be in a locked position prior to landing and. . . you know what? Now that I think about it, the landing gear really doesn't apply to this class.

KAMIKAZE STUDENT #1: Man, I can't stand this guy. I'd plunge a blade into my abdomen and sever my own internal organs right now if it were up to me. Just get me up in the air so I can crash and explode already. This class is so pointless.

KAMIKAZE STUDENT #2: I know, I know. Can't we just die for our emperor already?

KAMIKAZE INSTRUCTOR: Okay, I've had just about enough of your talking back there. There are some students in this class who really want to learn how to die properly, but you're disrupting everything with all your talk. Maybe you're telling me you want to take a test. Is that it? Well, I can certainly accommodate you.


Posted by Ryan at June 12, 2003 10:06 AM
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