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Off to War: Cultural, ethnic differences affect work atmosphere

Michael Wiehagen

Issue date: 10/3/08 Section: Opinion
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The devil worshipper moniker comes from the Yezidi belief in dominant angel figures in the hierarchy to God. One of the prominent angels is Lucifer, but they believe that he is evil just like Christians believe, and they definitely do not worship him. The Yezidis are good interpreters, and my team is fortunate to have them with us.
Shrek Diesel, the lone Arab, is an interesting character and constantly scheming, wheeling, and dealing. One of the Iraqi cultural and economic traits is based off of the skill of haggling, and this characteristic pervades everything Diesel says and does. He is always looking for the next best deal. He is a good soul, but dealing with this cultural piece can be extraordinarily taxing. When it comes down to time off, the man has an uncanny knack for almost getting me to believe that I said something a month ago, when I am sure that I said nothing of the sort. A typical conversation about his leave goes as follows:
"Diesel, are you ready to go for your rotation of leave?" I say.
"But, sir, you said I could have three more days this month. I remember specifically you said this last month, on Aug. 10 at 12:23. I remember Sergeant Pyle was standing right over there," replies Diesel.
[Long pause as I try to think back to over a month ago.]
"Yeah, Diesel, I don't remember saying that at all, or anything even close to that," I say.
"Well, maybe if you could just give me one extra day, that would help the fact that you don't remember," says Diesel as he tries to get just one…more…day.
[Long pause. I'm thinking, 'Well, one day isn't so bad, and it was over a month ago, maybe I did forget.' And at that exact moment, Sergeant Pyle walks by.]
"Hey, Sergeant Pyle, you remember last month about me telling Diesel over here that he'll get three extra days of leave?" I ask.
"Nope, I've never met that guy before in my entire life."
"Diesel, you get the regular amount. Another word and I'll take a day away."
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  • Solid 28-7 win keeps Spartans undefeated
  • Spartan Notebook
  • Spartan Spotlight: Jeff Brown
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