What they don’t tell you about the job requirements for being a border control officer is that you have to have a tattoo. The US officer that admitted me back into the U.S. side of Niagara Falls had more tats on his right arm than any random sampling of six hipsters combined.
“Are you a citizen of this country?” he asked me in a gruff voice.
Long pause. “‘Yessir’ is not a country.”
It was then that I realized that he asked me which country I was a citizen of, not “Are you a citizen of this country?”
He also asked me, “What were you doing in Canada?”
I almost said, “None of your business”, but he seemed strong enough to decapitate me with one karate chop, so I told him that I just wanted to walk over to the Canadian side to see Niagara Falls because everyone told me that the Canadian side was nicer than the American side. I’ll bet he’s never heard that before.
After being re-admitted to the greatest country on Earth (“‘Murica!”), I decided to leave it again and return to Canada, this time via car.
The Canadian border patrol agent also had more tattoos than any six hipsters combined. I wonder if he was in a bet with the American agent to see how many tattoos they could both have by the end of this year?
He also decided to ask a bunch more questions than the American agent did. Gosh, in the movies they only ask you, “Business or pleasure?” but I guess in real life they also want to know where you were three months ago and what your five-year plan is.
“Are you sure you don’t have a gun?” he asked me. “Because you paused when I asked you the first time.”
I paused because I didn’t rehearse my answers to the twenty questions you asked me already. But instead, I said, “Only these two” and flashed my bare arms. He didn’t find that funny. Probably because I wasn’t part of the local tattoo club.
He made me put my car off to the side and asked a few officers to search my vehicle. I was really hoping they weren’t going to confiscate my girl scout cookies and praise the Lord the officers ignored them. “You’re all good to go!” one of the officers told me after they profusely apologized for any inconvenience about my five-minute wait. It’s true what they say about Canadians: they really are polite. I bet if they decided to arrest me they would have still said, “Sorry, is there anything I can get you while you’re in this holding cell? There’s a Starbucks down the street. On me!”
So the moral of the story is: don’t crack jokes when you try to cross into another country.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Niagara Falls is really a beautiful natural wonder.
But if you ever get tired of seeing God’s beautiful creation, take a walk downtown on the Canadian side to see all of the bright lights and flashy materialism that only mankind can create.
I kid you not, I must’ve seen a half-dozen haunted houses, a half-dozen odd museums (there’s a Guinness Book of World Records museum and a Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum), and a dozen or so gift shops.
I was initially disappointed at the food choices. I mean, is that the best you’ve got, Canada?
But then a little down the street, there’s none other than ice cream straight from Heaven!
Don’t ask me if that ice cream was any good. I actually got an Orange Julius at a Dairy Queen further down.
All that to say, Canada has been a wonderful country so far. If you need to reach me, just give me a call on what I am sure is North America’s last operating phone booth.