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Old August 22nd, 2006, 12:32 AM
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I read your comments below on "Lagniappe".

When I look at your avatar photo, somehow "Customs Inspector" does not do it for me. That occupation would be down at the bottom of my perception of you, along with other "surly" employment like collections agent, IRS auditor and nightclub bouncer.

Convince me... please?....
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 10:28 PM
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Gosh, CC, you say the sweetest things. Obviously, my avatar photo (I'm the one on the right) doesn't show off my "surly" side. Shucks! I hate it when people think I'm some kind of gentleman. I've got to get rid of the avatar, I guess. I hope Kim doesn't mind. But then, she's never been called "surly" by a guy north of the border (or anyone else, for that matter).

Let me say, in my defense, that I retired from Customs in 1987. They told me, "Sorry, but you're just not surly enough!" Can you believe that? I had tried so hard over the years to acquire "true surliness", but I guess it just wasn't in me. I hate to tell you, CC, but not all customs officials reach the degree of surliness that you associate with bouncers and guys like Saddam Hussein.

Some of us, apparently, were actually kinda "courteous" and "civil" and stuff like that. We're the ones that couldn't make it in the "big time". Take me, for instance. The best I could do was to become Director of Customs Inspection at Kennedy Airport in New York, the biggest and busiest customs operation in the U.S.ofA. Sheesh! If I had been really surly, think of how high I could have gone. But there I was, a failure at the age of 42.

Getting back to your rather somber impression of customs officers and their ilk, I must admit that I myself have met up with some real illigitamus (that's Latin) at some customs stations around the world. At Jakarta Airport, for example, some bozo demanded 50 U.S. bucks if I ever wanted to see my three cats alive when I arrived in Paris. Apparently he mistook my middle digit for the signal that a check would be in the mail, because the felines arrive safe and sound at CDG. Nice guy!

So although I began my career as a surly, contemptible uniformed inspector (with sidearm), I ended my career in total disgrace as a non-surly executive. So you had it right, CC, and you had it wrong as well. I was that sneering Simon Legree-type character in the beginning, but I went downhill (or was it uphill?) from there. Today I'm that decent white-haired guy that you see in the avatar, and s'truth I'm damned ashamed of it!

By the way, I'll be sending your avatar photo to our Customs lads at the airport in Toronto, with instructions to shoot on sight. Think they'll recognize you? Don't worry, I don't think they're allowed to bear arms up there.

Have a ripper day, mate.

Jack 8)
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Old August 22nd, 2006, 11:25 PM
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Jack> Are you guys sensitive to stereotypes or what?

(BTW: I never said you were surly, au contraire (thats French) I implied that you appeared in your photo to be the image of unsurly.... like the guy who runs the local mom & pop store in Anytown USA)

My take on the surly aspect of customs officials is that, as soon as you lose the surliness, you get bumped upstairs, thus leaving only the best and truly surly to man the trenches. You MUST have seen the memo, or even written it?

It's just, like oh, perhaps every single time I cross a border, the guy watching over it is having a really, really bad day..... maybe flowers and chocolate would be apropos next time (or that might just get me a cavity search, I don't know).

Our guys should be packing deadly force by now.... they apparently have rushed through an Act of Parliament.

Maybe it's the pretty lady beside you who "softened you up" so to speak. I have one just like her, and she keeps me in line. It's the little ones you gotta watch out for.....
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 07:39 AM
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You hit it right on the nose, Cynic. Good response! And by the way, thanks for featuring my very favorite cartoon character (Opus) in your avatar. I still haven't figured whether it's Mr. or Ms. Opus, but who cares. I faithfully and laughingly follow the strip every Sunday. Take care.

Jack 8)
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