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Persian warrior
I'm the pride of 2,500 years of history

December 7, 2000
The Iranian

...dude! I just want to get in shape.

My entire life, I have found absolutely no reason to workout or stay in shape since I'm covered with thick black hair. Not even a single muscle on my body is exposed to daylight. I took off my shirt in public once and animal lovers attacked me; they thought I was wearing a fur coat. When I walk into a public pool, wearing my Speedo, people run out screaming with a look of indescribable horror on their faces. I went to the zoo wearing my tank top the other day; the gorilla in the cage got excited and made a pass at me. I was buying a sunscreen at the local drug store -- the counter boy laughed hysterically and thanked me for the entertainment.

I'm also extremely puny and weak. I pulled a back muscle once while picking up my laptop. When it's time for one of my friends to move, I'm the last person they call for help. The elevator at work was out of order last week so I had to take the stairs; after climbing two floors, I collapsed and my co-workers had to perform CPR. I have love handles that make Opera jealous.

Lately I have been seriously considering a membership to my local health club. Every day I look around and all I see are pictures of these guys with big bulging muscles and perfect abs. Every time I turn on the TV, I am exposed to images of beautiful people with perfect bodies and nice curves. Why can't I be like that? How hard can it be?

I shared my revelation with some friends. After a few laughs and sarcastic remarks, my friends suggested this personal trainer who has made a name for himself. The trainer is Iranian and supposedly very good and disciplined. I made an appointment.

I was scheduled for an introductory meeting with my Iranian personal trainer at around noon. I arrived a few minutes early and was led to a small room to wait for him. After about 20 minutes, A big, tall, nasty looking guy walked in. He was wearing dark sunglasses and had his hat on backward; he was bulging with muscles and veins.

"Hi, I'm Siamack. I'm Iranian." I enthusiastically exclaimed.

He checked me out from head to toe and said, "I'm Arash; I'm the descendant of Cyrus and Dorious. I'm the son of Persia. I'm what made Persian Empire mighty. I bench-press 300 pounds and dead-lift 500 pounds. I'm the pride of 2,500 years of history and civilization. I'm the one who stumped Alexander the Great. I'm the one who defeated Arabs and Mongolians. I'm the envy of other civilizations. I put fear in hearts of my enemies. I represent Persian pride and greatness."

Holly shit; this guy was a lunatic. He was flexing so much while giving the pep talk, I thought his veins were going to rupture.

"Weakness does not mesh with being Persian," Arash said. "We Persians are the rulers of the world. We ruled from China to the Mediterranean. Our wrestlers are the greatest. Our weight lifters are the best in the world. We have big shoes to fill. We Persians are masterpieces of genetic perfection. Koroosh is sleeping comfortably in his grave knowing that Persian blood flows in my body."

I interrupted Arash and said, "That's nice. Since I pay you by the hour, can we get started?"

Arash looked around and grabbed a strange looking tool. He announced that he needed to measure my body fat. He asked me to take off my shirt. I told him I was cold. I asked him to do his measurements while I had my shirt on. He gave me a nasty look. I almost wet my pants. I immediately took off my shirt. Arash jumped back with the most surprised look. He tripped over the scale and landed on his ass. He took off his sunglasses. His eyes were wide open. He got up cautiously and said, "Who's monkey did you eat for breakfast this morning? What the heck is this? Look at you for God's sake. You can not be a Persian. A Persian man does not look like this. You are weak, flimsy, and hairy. You are a disgrace to the Persian race. You are a genetic defect."

I didn't know what to say. Isn't this guy supposed to motivate me? What the hell is his problem?

I gathered enough courage and said, "I'm sorry, but not all of us out there are as muscular as you."

"Don't talk to me!" he said, turning away. "Cyrus and Dorious turn in their graves when you tell people you are Persian. You can not be Persian. You must be from some other country. You are an insult to those who built Persepolis with their sweat and muscles. You are an outrage to those who defeated Romans and Greeks with their bare hands. I can see Rostam crying in his death bed thinking about creatures like you who represent the Persian race nowadays. It breaks my heart and aches my eyes just looking at you."

"Take it easy man. Don't you think you're taking this Persian thing a little too far? All I want is to get in shape."

"I'm so emotionally overwhelmed that I can not find the willpower to talk to you."

This is crazy; I couldn't believe this. Who the hell is this muscle head insulting me like this?

"Hold on dude," I said. "You are the biggest idiot I have ever met in my life. First of all, you have all your facts wrong. We did not defeat Alexander the Great, Arabs, or Mongolians. As a matter of fact, anyone who got lost and ended up in so-called Persia kicked our asses. Read your history -- would you. On top of that, we did not defeat Romans or fight Greeks with our bare hands. And this might come as a surprise to you, but Rostam was not a real person. Some poet dude made him up. Also the reason we are so good at jerking weights around or wrestling is because most of us back home do manual labor and we like to settle our differences with a good fight."

Arash looked stunned. He was speechless. He started making strange noises. He was moving slowly toward me looking like a big mighty bear. I faked right and ran to the left. He missed me all together. He turned around and said, "You single handedly destroyed my confidence and self-esteem. You have crushed my ego. I hate you. I have to do at least a hundred push-ups and two hundred pull-ups to get my Persian-warrior mentality back. I never imagined the day that I would be emotionally crushed by one of my own. Get out of this gym or I'm going to break your neck."

He sounded sincere so I ran for my life.

I stopped on the way out and yelled, "Hay Arash, I have a message here for you from Dorious the Great delivered by Western Union. Dorious is having a little get -- together with Koroosh and Cyrus and he wants you to stop by Persepolis on your way home tonight. He said Rostam and Sohrob might even show up."

I saw the Persian warrior charging at me like a runaway train. I ran out and never looked back.

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