K U WA I T I S E E K E R  19 It was on this honest basis that our continued friendship began. We both faced contrasts to our prior lives. Adam, with his religious upbringing, and I, with my displacement from the cer- tainty of Islam, looked together at how we would integrate with our surroundings. The timing was propitious. One June 5, during a Milton Berle variety show, Elvis Presley introduced “Hound Dog” into the me- dium of evening television. I had not seen television previously, and never had I seen such a vulgar performance. Why would one keep a dog, a creature considered filthy to me as an Arab? And what did Presley’s hip movements, movements that should only occur between man and wife, have to do with the dog? I could only speculate. One June 23, I picked up the London Times. On the other side of the world near Kuwait, Gamel Abdul Nasser was elected presi- dent of Egypt. Nasser dreamed of Arab unity and hoped to co- alesce the spirit of the Arab people in a way that had not come about for 1000 years. I had read earlier of Nasser’s narcissistic views. As all former and subsequent Arab statists, Nasser viewed himself as the next Saladin, the honorable foe of Richard the Li- onhearted during the third crusade. I understood Nasser. Such were the contrasts into which I proceeded. The world I found outside Kuwait was baffling as the variety of courses open to me was puzzling. I had not previously been offered choices. I thumbed through the pages of the course cata- log wondering at the immense variety of topics and disciplines. Only my gift for languages preserved my marks. My English had been unparalleled among the students in Kuwait, but now ex- cellence in English was the norm. Moreover, the lack of require- ment for rote memorization left a vacuum in my study schedule, which I could now devote to thoughts and speculations rather than the words of others.