A True Bromance

There are two kinds of people in the world: men and women. Vast complexities are known to develop in any relationship between a man and a woman. This relationship has been examined by thinkers and artists with a type of movie called a "romantic comedy." Similarly, there are films known as a "chick flicks" which attempt to navigate the inner workings of the mysterious bonds between women. Now, thanks to the work of a brave and wonderful visionary, there is now a new genre that deals solely with the rapport shared by two men. This movie is called a "bromance." The name most closely associated with the term bromance (a portmanteau of the words brother and romance) is Judd Apatow, a director/producer famous for making films that deal well with the potentially awkward subjects of films like the 40 Year-Old Virgin , Pineapple Express , and Superbad . These types of films have caught on in recent years, and the bromance phenomenon has become something of a movement. As it turns out, Ames High has its very own bromance brewing across the main hall. For those of you who have never experienced the camaraderie between teachers Tim Mooney and Chad Zmolek, you are missing the very definition of the word friendship. "We’re not friends," Zmolek said. "I deny all allegations here and now." While this comment is clearly a guise, designed to hide the deep affections Zmolek feels for his friend, it is true that these feelings were not always what they are today. " [Mooney] coaches cross country, which I despise," Zmolek said. "I see no reason to run just to run. And so really, anyone who would coach that in other people . . . I kinda thought he was an idiot. But then I kinda bit the bullet and said ‘I’m going to accept him for his flaws and maybe I can change him. Little did I know that, throughout our relationship, I think I changed the most." This is probably true. Mooney wields a considerable amount of influence among the students and faculty of Ames High. His charming personality and winning smile are the stuff of legend. But Mooney has shown a rare glimmer of interest and respect toward his younger colleague. From the first days of Zmolek’s time here, Mooney has noticed him. "He was student teaching for sociology, and of course a student teacher who gets students’ attention is always the craze because he’s new and he’s fresh and ‘wow he’s handsome,’" Mooney said. "Well Z was doing a unit, I think it was related to the soc project on how you’re perceived, but he had grown a beard, a real mountain man beard and had been dressing like we now dress, real casual, with really long hair. Then he came in the next day. He had shaved, he had cut his hair, and he had a suit on. I was like, ‘That guy looks like a pimp!’ He was just strutting down the halls; he looked like an IBM executive. It was just such a brilliant way to communicate those concepts." From there, Zmolek went on to teach for a stint in the science department. A few years passed before he and Mooney could realize the potential of their brosome bond. It wasn’t until Zmolek joined Mooney on the 2005 Uganda project that they really came to know one another in any deeper sense of the word. "I’ve gone four summers in a row," Zmolek said. "We stayed longer than everyone else, so we were actually there over a month a couple of those times, at least five or six weeks. There’s not much else on your mind so you can talk about anything. We talked about a number of mutual experiences and learned from each other. I really just took notes, because he’s a lot older than me." "That year, the first year we rafted the Nile together, that was a spectacular event," Mooney said. "It’s never been like that since. The river was high; it was dangerous." "I enjoyed seeing Mooney out of his comfort zone," Zmolek said. "He had fear, but then there was just this absolute joy. He looked like a little child in this raft. Well, I looked over and there was this huge rapid they were about to hit. Then they went through it and I just remember him popping up at the end, [he] was the only one who stood up, and [he] just went, ‘Ruah!’ That’s just Mooney in a nutshell." Ever since their time spent in Uganda, Mooney and Zmolek have been the best of friends. Together, they enjoy working on various construction projects, watching football, doing Uganda related activities, reading various works of literature and philosophy and, according to Zmolek, just being alive.