Maxed Out 

Bordercross Games


There probably isn’t a premier in all of Canada happier than our very own Gordon Campbell that the wonders of technology have allowed us to teleconference without ever leaving the comfort and security of our offices. Oh sure, unless you have your very own personal supercomputer and blindingly high-speed connection, the whole teleconferencing thing is a bit balky, all herky-jerky motion and dialogue reminiscent of watching a poorly-dubbed, post-war Japanese radiation monster B movie. But it’ll do the job if you happen to be one of those people who won’t, or can’t, travel easily.

Gordo may be one of those people.

Many more of us may also be as the future brave new world unfolds, or, more accurately, gets further interconnected.

Once merely diligent about keeping the threat of homosexual erotica and heavy metal headbangers out of the True North, our historically accommodating border guards have widened their scope and definition of undesirables. I don’t know if they’ve reached the fever pitch of their U.S. counterparts — who have seemingly stretched the profile of terrorist and homeland security threat to include middle-aged blond ski bums with an attitude about taking their shoes off in airports — but they seem to be getting there.

Crossing the border has always been one part terror, one part amusement. When I first “moved” to Canada in 1979, I had to cross the border a lot. I wasn’t really living in Canada. I wasn’t really living in Vermont either. I would have lived in Vermont but I couldn’t fit inside the post office box I’d rented in Burlington, an address of convenience. I was living in Montreal but I was persona non grata , a status I got so used to I listed it on my resume for a number of years and lied about it being an obscure fraternity.

Crossing the border weekly for most of that first year, I managed to become a person known to the border guards. Not known well enough to avoid their questions or have them ask me in for a cup of coffee, but known well enough to arouse their suspicions. At least on the American side.

The U.S. border guards seemed to take it personally that I was spending so much time in Canada… in the winter, not that Montreal’s winter is measurably more severe than Burlington’s but most of the border guards seemed to be from places other than Vermont and, in all probability, hated the fact they were posted on the U.S.-Canadian border instead of the U.S.-Mexican border where the chance to draw their weapon was much higher. No one was sneaking across the border from Canada. All the Canadians were trying to sneak back into Canada with their treasure of contraband dairy, cheap smokes and cheaper liquor.

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