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.