The Good Life Begins in Warsaw

I finished the academy with a degree as a sports trainer. Now I start the good life: I start working for Army, they pay me every month, and everyone wants to be on the team.  Service in the army was required for two years.  So many parents tried to contact us to get their son on the team.  As an athlete, they were saved from two years of living in dirt, in the rain and going to shooting exercises.  They were very pleased to be there and tried very hard.  Their families were very grateful and proud to have their sons taken from the south of Poland to be with athletes. 

The army wanted very much to have good sports teams, to show the people how good communism is, so we are treated well. The athletes stayed in a hotel near a big stadium and swimming pool (Henry says ‘hotel’ – but it sounds like the equivalent of an American college dormitory), four guys to a room.  There were about 20 rooms in the hotel. All the famous names in Polish sports were there.  On my left is famous soccer player next to me, on my right another Olympian.
We had a good pool, 50 meters with large diving platform next to big Olympic sports stadium.  I like this coaching job, because you just talk and they work, “go again, go again.”
Every morning we had to go to mandatory news and politics at 8 a.m.  They’d ask us ‘Who read the paper today?” It was bullshit because none of us read it – we are athletes, not politicians. But I would read the headlines and then twisted the story around how I hate them! – meaning hate the French, hate the Germans, hate the English.
But we didn’t like the Russian regime either. We had different private jokes about these meetings.  
We used to joke “Who invented the lamp?  Mr. Lampo, famous Russian inventor.  
Who invented the toilette?  Mr. Toiletto, famous Russian inventor.”  
All the inventors were ‘famous Russians’ of course. – Henry Zguda
Note – One of Henry’s dog-eared books he had kept for years was a journal of 400 jokes he liked.  It’s no wonder he could remember so many. The jokes were all in Polish of course.  He tried a couple of them on me – either they didn’t translate well, or they were better for guys.  The book has long since disappeared.  

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