The first year at the university we had a big fire for Chaharshanbeh Soori, without ever bothering to ask for anyone’s permission.  I mean the fire wasn’t  just a dinky little Duraflame Firelog.  We brought pieces of discarded lumber, plywood, cardboard, and anything else that would burn without overly blackening the sky above us, and this event went on without a glitch.  Then the next year we told someone at the university and they didn’t care either way, as long as things didn’t get out of hand.  And so, we did it again without anyone from the university checking on the situation, but this time there was a large crowd and things got out of hand a bit.  So when the next year came and we asked the university people for permission to have another Chaharshanbeh Soori, we were told we couldn’t have it; unless we got permission from the fire department.  So, we put in charge one of the students who spoke perfect English to go after getting the permission from the fire department.

Our Guy: Helloo, yes maam.  I vant fire burning in deh university.

Fire Department:  What!  What do you want!

Our Guy:  I vant to estart a fire en deh university.

Fire Department:  Why do you want to do that, sir?

Our Guy:  Et brings us happiness.

Fire Department:  You want to burn the university down because it makes you happy?

Our Guy:  Aaaakh nah.  Ve vant to have a burn fire in deh university for celibration.  En our culture ve burn fire at night Tuesday night before Wednesday.  Ve vood like to have burn fire in deh university.

Fire Department:  Ok, sir.  Can you speak more clearly, and to begin with, can you tell me your name; and where are you from?

Our Guy:  Yes, yes.  My name is Ahmad Jazaei, and I am from Eeraan.  Ve vent to deh university and told dem ve vant to burn fire, but university dean told us to tell deh fire department, so I am telling you now.  Ve are going to make a big fire.

Fire Department:  You are Eyeranian and you want to set the university on fire?

Our Guy:  Ve vant to have burn fire in deh university for Tuesday night before Wednesday.

Fire Department:  Ok, Okay.  Spell your name for me, please.

Our Guy:  Ay, Ech, Em, Ay, Dee.  Jay, Ay, Zee, Ay, Eee, Eye.

Fire Department:  And, when do you want to set the university on fire?

Our Guy:  Tree veeks from now.  Dees gives you plentee of time to give to us permission to make fire.

Fire Department:  On Tuesday night?

Our Guy:  Yes.  Tuesday night before last Wednesday.

Fire Department:  Before last Wednesday!  Are you the one who started a trash fire at the East Campus Tuesday night?

Our Guy:  Yes, Tuesday night last year.  Ve estarted a fire without permission.  Dees year ve vant to do et weet permission.  University told us ve have to ask fire department for permission first, den get permission from university.

Fire Department:  Okay sir.  Give me your address and we’ll send someone over to hand deliver the permit, and please speak clearly.

Our Guy:  Yes, yes.  It ez nice of you to give permission.  My address is… 


Footnote:  Names, places, and Nationalities in this true story have been changed to protect the identities of the people involved, for example there was nobody by the name of Ahmad Jazaei, and he wasn’t even Iranian, and he didn’t go to any universities either.