Saturday, September 16, 2006

Simulate Iraq

The most common questions I get asked by friends and family back home are, “How bad is the heat there?” and “What is it like there?” I decided to combine the two questions and run a lab experiment using available household equipment and available US Army issue soldiers.

How bad and how hot is it here? There are two things you need to realize about Iraq before you begin this little experiment. One, you’re always going to be dirty whether it’s a light coat of dust or never showered nasty and two, you’re always going to be sweaty or sweating. For those who can’t stand being either, you’re not going to enjoy this simulation.

*Pick the hottest day on record to do this outside.

Here is what you need to gather for the experiment:

One industrial strength blow dryer
One landscaping leaf blower
One large flat baking pan (like the kind from a chow hall 28” x 32”)
Three pounds each of the following ingredients; corn starch, all purpose flour, and playground sand
One BBQ grill with briquettes already started
One small bowl (cereal size ideal)
One picnic table about 30” tall
One set (top & bottom) of thick long johns
One very baggy denim jacket
One very baggy pair of jeans
All cotton socks
One pair of construction boots

Here’s how it works, put on all the clothes plus goggles, a hat, and gloves to “protect” your skin. Go out and find a pile of dirt and roll in it to put on your base coat. Then, have your friends (a minimum of three) go do the same thing. The way the Army works, misery is funnier when it’s shared.

Now, on the baking pan, combine the corn starch, flour and playground sand. Mix the ingredients well for maximum efficiency. Place the pan with the mix on the picnic table at the end closest to you. At the farther end of the table, place the lit BBQ without a cover. Have one friend work the leaf blower and the other will work the hair dryer and bowl.

The friend with the leaf blower will stand on the furthest end of the experiment just past the BBQ with the blower set at random speeds. He/She will aim the blower so that it launches hot ash and the pan ingredients in you direction. Your second friend with the hair dryer will be approximately three feet from your face with the dryer set on “high” temperature and varying the speed from low to high at random. With the bowl, friend number two will scoop up bowls of pan ingredients to be lightly dumped on your head and in your face. At this point, if you’re really aggravated, sweaty and dirty, you’ve achieved the desired effect and you should look like the illustration below.


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