As so often happens this time of year, the call of the open road beckoned and I found myself sailing the asphalt seas to the northern territorial waters of Canada in the good ship 944. Despite the deep suspicion I apparently aroused at Niagara Falls concerning the purchase of a “stout wooden barrel of ample proportions and adequate fastening,” the voyage proved most rewarding. So after a week of cow-tipping and sightseeing we made our way back to the American border after a dubious and lengthy romp through the duty-free shop.
As I approached the checkpoint I could see that our presence was creating something of a stir, as the border guards began gesturing toward my car in a menacing manner clearly calculated to cause me to ruin my leather seat. I thought of that extra bottle or two of single-malt scotch carefully tucked into my fuming luggage, and wondered if learning a new skill set such as license plate fabrication would look good on my resume in three to five years, assuming good behavior.
“We are going to have to deduct 50 points for that non-Porsche radiator cap you have installed... And there’s enough grime in that engine compartment to constitute a fire hazard.”
They quickly gathered around my car and began scrutinizing it with a diligence I would have thought impossible of government employees, making notes on their clipboards and clearly unimpressed with what they were seeing. One of them sternly ordered me to pop the hood and I heard a collective gasp as they went from examining my engine compartment to examining me—with clear disgust on their official faces. One of the guards came over to my window, frowning. “We are going to have to deduct 50 points for that non-Porsche radiator cap you have installed,” he said. “And there’s enough grime in that engine compartment to constitute a fire hazard,” he added while checking some boxes on his clipboard.
Now I was really worried. If a non-stock radiator cap was worth 50 points, what would my illicit bottles of single-malt cost me? I looked over at my traveling companion, Dr. Linda, and she seemed to instinctively sense my desperate thoughts. “Don’t even think about trying to pin this one on me, Jughead. And since you’re in the mood for creative thinking, why do you suppose they are counting points?”
I was still scratching my head when the guard returned and said, “My boys and I have tallied 22 dead bugs on the front of your car—and a particularly gory one on your windshield—three stone chips on the front valance, and four of the filthiest Fuchs wheels we’ve ever seen. I’m sorry sir, but we require a minimum of 200 points to enter the United States in a Porsche, and you have only 198.”
Now, my dear Hanzy, I’m not sure if I was more astonished to learn that customs conducts a concours d’elegance as a condition of admission, or to discover that my beloved and antique 944 no longer cut the Yankee mustard. I felt indignant that my car could be insulted so freely, so openly. I imprudently forgot all about that tasty contraband carefully stashed with my moldering skivvies as my blood pressure whacked the rev limiter. I burbled to the guard, “A hundred and ninety-eight points, huh, huh? You were still suckling at your momma’s teat when this car was 10 years out of warranty!”
He clicked his pen and made another notation. “Did I say 198?” he petulantly replied. “I think it’s more like 195. I hope you can develop a fondness for the Toronto Blue Jays, sir.”
“OK,” I said, turning to the Canadian official at his side. “But I have to tell you, my knees are killing me and I have very bad teeth. I’m not really sure what’s going on back there. And my back is ailing me too, real bad, and I used to be an inch taller. Any idea where, as a new citizen of Canada, I can sign up for some basic health care?”
He stared at me for a long moment as I fixed him with my best deadpan. With a grin he motioned to one of his underlings, who held a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels, and in a moment my windshield was free of its gore.
“All right,” the American said, clicking his pen. “You have 201. You’re free to go.”