‘Stop that man! He’s smuggling an orange’

BOB BOSSIN February 1 1970

‘Stop that man! He’s smuggling an orange’

BOB BOSSIN February 1 1970

‘Stop that man! He’s smuggling an orange’




JIM KUNEN HAS a droopy mustache, round steel glasses and frizzy hair. He and Laura Jacknick are friends from Columbia University. They flew to Canada recently for a conference on student revolt called The Year of the Barricade and, when they got to Toronto airport, they were taken into separate rooms for about an hour.

Jim said, “It was a bore-them-untilthey-break routine. They asked me everything imaginable. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Are you aware of an international conspiracy to overthrow the Canadian and American system? Actually, it was very good because it clarified my thinking on a lot of things.”

Laura tried to turn her questioners on to women’s liberation.

Both felt a bit flattered by the experience. “At first,” Jim said, “it made me feel very formidable. Ultimately, though, I returned to my previous self-image, and I decided I really was quite benign and innocuous.”

That’s the way it goes at the border.

WE BROUGHT UP Jerry Rubin, the Yippie, to speak at the University of Toronto. They took him into the little room at the airport and took off all his clothes. Including his headband. Now admittedly. Rubin does look like a pusher, although more like an undercover narcotics agent. (I can just see it: “Omigod, Smith, this man has a maple leaf branded on his left flank. Sorry, officer, loved you at the musical ride.”)

The thing is, if Rubin looks like a pusher, I look like a pusher, or at least a student, or invariably like a

young person. In times like these that is enough. Lately, I’ve taken to hitchhiking with a sign that says JUNIOR EXECUTIVE.

THE BORDER USED to be fairly easy. I’d cross into Canada with a simple, “No, I didn’t buy anything. Nice to be back.” Going south, I would use a respectful up-state taciturnity.

Not any more.

“Pull over and step inside.”

I pulled over, stepped inside, and answered the usual where-were-youborn, how-long-are-you-staying questions, and started to go. Not so fast.

“Why are you entering the United States?”

Oh, it’s the cooking, sir, nothing like a good ol’ Howard Johnson threeflavored . . .

“In order to see my girl friend.”


That was a rough one. Because she just missed her . . . um, uh . . . and she’s terribly worried, and I thought I would just go down and reassure her that it could be any number of .. . “Because she lives down here.” “Bringing anything?”

“A change of clothes. My guitar. A typewriter.”

Pause. He leaned forward over the counter and looked me right in the eyes.

“Why the typewriter?”

I concentrated both my hazel eyes just over his left shoulder. “I thought I would type some notes.”

“Notes about what?” (I’ve got you now, you shifty, undraftable Communist of the North.)

“School notes. Both my girl friend

and I are very

continued on page 16

BOB BOSSIN continued

conscientious” (I regretted the word immediately) “about our classes.”

This insanity went on for about an hour, but the Dustin Hoffman, letterfrom - Vietnam approach ultimately won him over.

On the way back the Canadian guard, true to the tribe, didn’t ask me anything. He just went through every article of clothing in my bag, especially the underwear, the most obvious place to hide a kilo of marijuana. Or maybe he was looking for cleverly disguised deposits of hashish, or maybe he just liked underwear.

THE NEXT TIME I crossed I was with a bus of kids going to Harvard. They had us empty the bus — suitcases, people, coats, gloves, everything. They searched our bags thoroughly but uneventfully. The Man asked me why I was bringing the typewriter.

“Both my girl friend and I are very . . . serious about our classes,” I said.

He didn’t know what to do with the guy behind me. Right at the top of his bag was a box of contraceptives. He really wanted to look inside. I mean, a guy could smuggle one hell of a lot of LSD in one of those. But the next two people in line were girls, and Mom’s apple pie finally won out. He stuffed the contraceptives back in the suitcase, and went on to the underwear.

Then the other Man came in from searching the bus and, very menacingly, he announced, “All right, which one of you left this on the bus?”

Hail Mary, mother of God, this isn’t really going to happen. Please make this a dream.

Everybody is silent. We all turn.

He is holding up an orange.

“Yoq can’t bring citrus fruit into the United States. You ought to know better than to try a thing like that.”

What followed was a customsinspector’s field day. They found no fewer than a dozen other oranges concealed about the group. Only one guy got to bring his through. California orange.

AT A HOWARD JOHNSON’S, on the way back, we picked up a hitchhiker, a quiet, slight, pimply kid, 16 or 17, very short hair, and a hip, beaten-up Salvation Army felt hat. He was going to Toronto, didn’t have much money, and could he crash at Rochdale? Yes, he was okay with the draft because he was qnder 18. He didn’t say much else, just sang with us a bit.

At the Canadian border they yanked him off. He wasn’t part of the group, eh? A hitchhiker, hmmm? Then they

AISLIN’S PERSPECTIVE: The Maple Leaf, not quite for ever

called in the bus driver and threatened to report him for picking up a hitchhiker. The student who had chartered the bus said that he had invited the kid to join us. They threatened to charge him with transporting an alien across the border. (Were they lying, or are there really laws like that?)

They kept the kid and sent us on. He didn’t have a letter from his parent or guardian giving him permission to go to Canada. It was after midnight, so nearly everything in Buffalo was closed. No, he didn’t know anyone in Buffalo, didn’t have quite enough money for a hotel. That’s tough, kid, think about it next time before you decide to visit Canada.

SOMETIMES I just wish all the border guards, traffic cops, the narks, the magistrates, soldiers, laws, cabinet ministers would all just stop and treat people like people.

But then I remember that it’s not them, that they went through the schools, that their fathers maybe told them how you get ahead in this world, that you don’t rock the boat, just do your job or get fired, and then who would support the family (good point), and how would you buy the products that make us all happy, and then I really start to think that maybe an international conspiracy to overthrow the Canadian and American system is not a bad idea at all. □

Now you almost see it, now you don’t

Another Crash ? Shhh !

I PROTEST Alexander Ross’s The '29 Crash: Could It Happen Again? Anything written about depression or recession that can plant a seed of thought in this direction is not good for our economy. Pessimism breeds depression.


>k Investment analyst Norman Short says: “ . . . Both governments are probably hoping for a light recession next year, which would marginally increase unemployment and induce those who remain employed to be less aggressive in wage demands, so that in the next economic move forward the cost of producten will be lower.” I cannot imagine a more fatuous expectation. Why shouldn’t labor ask for more wages when big business is bringing out balance sheets showing increased net profits and larger interest rates for shareholders? Surely, since it is labor that produces the wherewithal to increase net profits and interest, it is entitled to a greater share of them?


Mothers: relax & listen

I believe that in Supermother you have described most mothers in the category you label The Smothering Mother. They try too hard. My advice is: relax, listen to what your children have to say. Listen to them more and they’re more apt to listen to your advice and guidance.


ík I seriously doubt the credentials of any child expert who expects a 20month-old baby to indulge in “role-playing.” There is no mention in the article of physical activity, which surely must

be considered as one of the most vital needs of a healthy toddler. I found the categories of motherhood contrived, hence invalid; as indeed, it must be concluded, was the entire experiment.


Black, white & blues

I found it curious that in Why Do Kids Dig Rock? none of the people you asked to write were prominent black musicians or critics. After all, most popular music today is derived basically from the blues. Jazzman Moe Koffman missed the whole point. Granted, jazz is musicianship, technique and a loving knowledge of your instrument. But rock is much more than musicianship and technique; it’s love, feeling and, above all, it’s necessary for young people.


* Koffman only shows his ignorance of rock. If he thinks that everybody at rock festivals is high on drugs, he has yet to attend one; if he thinks that anything the Beatles have done lately is “just about the simplest music in the world,” he has yet to listen to them.


>k If you really want to know why kids dig rock, why don’t you ask us? Don’t ask me, though. I won’t tell.


The beautiful headhunters

1 must tell you how much 1 enjoyed How To Enjoy A Holiday With The Headhunters, by Michael Hastings. This was so interesting and well-written that I reread it anT told all my friends about it. This type of adventure story is just too beautiful.


Indians: a free ride?

Re your article on Indian leader Harold Cardinal, What The Canadian Indian Wants From You: I was raised with the Indians, and have lived with them all my life. I do not speak from experience gained from reading the poetic claptrap about the “noble redman” peddled by our garbage - brained intelligentsia. No two ways about it, Cardinal is one damn good politician and a very smart cookie. The Crees are the smartest of the Indian people. There’s an old saying: “If you are saphead enough to do business with a Cree, you wind up not only minus your shirt, but likely minus shirt, pants, boots and all.” It was Indian spokesman Walter Deiter who put it plainest when he said, “We want everything the white

LETTERS continued_

man has, but we are not going to pay for it.” It’s just that dumb jackass whitey who must pull the carriage on which our Herrenvolk ride for free.


* It is too late in the day to theorize on how congenial it could be if only we had never discriminated against these fine people and had built a Canada together as one. I am proud to be a Canadian when I read of outstanding fellow countrymen such as Harold Cardinal.


Our hypothetical man in Paris

On page 39 of Should We Haul Down The Flag In Addis Ababa? there appeared an illustrative statement to show what it would cost “to send a middleranking diplomat to Paris for a year.” The lead-in paragraph went on to say that this hypothetical man was a “First Secretary” in the Paris Embassy, with a wife and two children. A minor error which crept into the introduction to this statement should be corrected. What my Department was, in fact, asked by Maclean s was the cost of sending to Paris a certain officer who was personally known to the author, Walter Stewart, on the basis of salary and allowance scales in effect on October 1, 1969. What was not realized was that Mr. Stewart remembered this “hypothetical man” from an earlier time when he was a First Secretary, but did not know that he had subsequently been promoted. Lest Maclean’s readers be misled about the salaries paid to First Secretaries, as determined by the collective bargaining process, which range from $13,497 to $16,142, I should be grateful if you would publish this letter to correct the record. The “hypothetical man” was, in fact, a senior officer of the Department being paid a salary at the third step of the Foreign Service Officer Grade 6 salary range which runs from $20,377 to $22,627 a year. The sequence of diplomatic rank is this: Third Secretary, Second Secretary, First Secretary, Counsellor, Minister - Counsellor, Minister, Ambassador.


Ummm . . .

Okay, so now that I’ve finished reading about Florida’s Bargain Basement (a truly fascinating facet of Florida), by Keitha McLean, what answer does one give a teenage daughter when she says: “Keitha McLean went away with her boyfriend for a few weeks, why can’t I?”

MRS. R. G. BUCKINGHAM, KINCARDINE, ONT. Keitha McLean is 28 years old.

Oh ho!

It was my understanding that the entries to Contest No. 43 were to be original palindromes of the reader’s composition. I was, therefore, quite surprised to see a prize awarded to the time-honored “Pa’s a sap.” This was published in

Dmitri A. Borgmann’s Language On Vacation (Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1965) as part of a collection of the best palindromes known, and without any suggestion that it was new even then.


The poor: fight back

Discriminatory practices of some staff members of public welfare departments were well described in 1 Canadian In 5 Is Poor, Mad — And Getting Madder (Canada Report, November). Too often, attempts by social workers to bring about improvements in the welfare system have been restricted to the “proper channels” and dissipated through professional journals and conferences. We are sure that many social workers will welcome the emergence of welfare-rights groups, which, not having access to these channels, will not be constrained by them. - JEAN JONES, KARL KINANEN, HARRY L. PENNY, BRIAN WHARF, FACULTY, SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK, MCMASTER UNIVERSITY, HAMILTON

* A sentence in your report reads: “A 64-year-old lady was threatened with being sent back to Saskatchewan.” Do you really believe that’s the worst thing that could happen to a 64-year-old lady? We really like it here.


Canada: a one-party state?

I was tremendously impressed by the fantastic human resources available to the Trudeau government (The 30 Men Trudeau Trusts). This is an ominous and imposing force for the Opposition to handle, and my question is simply: can it? Has the Opposition sufficient human and financial resources available to maintain a truly parliamentary system — or is Canada in effect a one-party


* I wish to dissociate myself from the letter signed “Mrs. J. Cavers, Ottawa” (Talkback, December). I voted for Mr. Trudeau and do not share the sentiments expressed in that letter.


Why all the fuss?

I see this alleged massacre of civilians in Vietnam by U.S. soldiers as nothing but more Communist propaganda and part of a conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government. While I do not condone the U.S. actions if they are true, still I cannot understand what all the commotion is about. This is a war that is going on in Vietnam, and I cannot believe that the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong have committed no atrocities . . . Let’s not be carried away by this incident and unwittingly assist the Communists in their acts of subversion.

—Rev. M. A. Swaren, Peterborough, Ont.

(From a letter published in the

Toronto Telegram)