Despondent Guy Joins Foreign Legion by Byron Siemsen

Monday, March 16,2001 -- Ivory Coast (AP)

New Foreign Legion recruits eager to leave the past behind, in many cases, criminal records, showed up to the annual Foreign Legion Career Fair today. Amongst the scar faced recruits a young and clean-shaven boy with BIOLA emblazoned across his pullover stands out. His nose is not askew from some brawl in the King's Head Pub back home. Instead, the fresh smell of Aqua Velva on his person suggests someone with an innocence more than his ale-breathed compatriots. Still, there is something so much more sad about this boy than the others. A story more tragic etched on his face. A forlorn tale kept tight behind trembling lips. A puzzle piece on his elbow.

His name was Dandy and his tale, I was soon to discover, is not unlike the others in this sandy, arid hell of a home. How paradoxically cruel that this imprisoning, exiling hell would be the closest to paradise some of these young lads would ever come. Only those who have gone through their own hell can call this prison release.

Dandy was a chain letter victim, a trampled on, beaten black and blue, dyn-O-mite white man out of a funky groove, a relic of a more innocent time. Casually ignoring off the a chain letter started by a twelve year old girl in Surrey he became a victim of the tragic effects of breaking a chain letter:

1. General chafing of the elbows.

2. A lack of desire to do unpleasant jobs.

3. Walking around with one's fly wide open.

4. Reruns of "Small Wonder".

"Perhaps I was wrong to not forward on the chain letter. How was I to know that the threat of a little girl from Surrey would ruin my life. What type of sicko would do that to me man!!??!? Give me answers man!", Dandy pleaded in anguish.

"I don't know. I really don't know," I weakly responded. But then the insight came. I added, " She's like a pizza woman at a dog show." I didn't know where that one came from. As far as insights go, it was pretty weak.

To my surprise he agreed and took comfort in my words.

"Yeah, yeah, bro'. She is."

I opened my arms and he cried on my chest. And so we sat there, Dandy and I. Two men who had bridged the emotional gap that separates so many men. Then the other foreign legion guys saw us and beat us up.