Based on many trips over the U.S.-Canada border in the past weeks and months, I’d like to suggest the top ten things not to say to a U.S. Customs agent (or border guard):
10. “Want to bet that I make more than you do?”
9. “So an Iranian, a Cuban and a North Korean walk into a bar…”
8. “Does this look infected?”
7. “Where am I going? To heaven. In fact, the Bible says…”
6. “I’ll take a large fry, a Coke and some chicken nuggets.”
5. “That gun belt sure makes your hips look big.”
4. “This job must be da bomb, man! Da bomb!”
3. “So I guess you couldn’t make it as a cop, huh?”
2. “Do you pronounce it new-clear or new-cu-ler?”
1. “I’ll tell you where I’m from if you tell me where you’re from!”
Okay, so that wasn’t as funny as I had hoped. But here is something that really is funny. At the Ligonier Conference, during a question and answer session, R.C. Sproul told a variation of the following joke:
After getting nailed by a Daisy Cutter, Osama made his way to the pearly gates. There, he is greeted by George Washington. “How dare you attack the nation I helped conceive!” yells Mr. Washington, slapping Osama in the face.
Patrick Henry comes up from behind. “You wanted to end the Americans’ liberty, so they gave you death!” Henry punches Osama on the nose.
James Madison comes up next and says, “This is why I allowed the Federal government to provide for the common defense!” He delivers a kick to Osama’s knee.
The punishment continues as person after person beats on Osama. As he writhes on the ground, Thomas Jefferson picks him up and hurls him back toward the gate where he is to be judged. As Osama awaits his journey to his final destination, he screams, “This is not what I was promised! Where are my 70 virgins?”
“Ooohhhhhh!” replies St. Peter. “You got that all wrong! It’s 70 Virginians!”
I’m still laughing at that one.
Moving on to more serious matters, I am going to have to sign off quickly today as my book deadline is looming, now just a week away. I have had several friends send me their feedback and critiques on the book and this has been both educational and humbling. One thing it has made clear to me is just how important it is to be encouraging even during times of critique (and even when a person has specifically requested critique). Page after page of critique can begin to crush the spirit, but it takes only a few encouragements of “Good!” or “Excellent point!” or “Well done!” to restore hope. Without these, the editorial process would seem hopeless. This is something for me to remember in my relationships with others, in the times that I am asked to critique another person’s work, and so on.
I’d ask your continued prayers through this week as I finalize the manuscript and prepare it for the publisher.