"OK, Mr. al-Siddiq – am I pronouncing that correctly? – Sid-eek? – good. I always try to pronounce names right. It shows a lack of respect when you don’t try, don’t you think? Just rest your cane against the edge of my desk – uh, here, to your left, no, the other way. That’s it. No one will disturb it.
"Now. It says here you’re married. Will your wife be joining you? Sorry. I didn’t think. Wives. How many of them are there? Four. Yes, of course, I remember from sensitivity training. Four wives. And your children? In camp in Sudan. Well, will they be coming when camp gets out? Not for seven years. OK we’ll cross – that’s a figurative use of the word – no offense intended – we’ll go over that bridge when we come to it. By the way, how many children do you have? Thirty-seven. Wow! I have trouble keeping three in Nikes.
"But let’s not talk about me. It says here you went to high school in Texas. Did you play football? Yes, that’s a serious question. You’re kind of a big guy, so I thought maybe you played. Of course I understand. You were too busy studying the Koran. Yes, I agree – our young people are too materialistic. Yes, it is a shame. Well, actually I doubt that my boys would be interested in joining, but I could ask. They’d have to grow beards, though, wouldn’t they. You see, in their school they’re not allowed to grow beards until senior year.
"OK. Now. I see you studied nuclear physics at Stanford and aeronautical engineering in Hamburg, Germany. Man, that’s what I call a double major! Do you mind if I ask how your grades were? Wow! I wish I could get Brian, he’s my youngest, to pull a B in math. He doesn’t seem to think it’s important, even though I keep telling him the INS needs young people like him. In fact, just between you and me, Mr. al-Siddiq – do you mind if I call you Mohammed? – if you get a government job in this country you’ve got it made in the shade. That’s just an expression – it means you’re sitting pretty, on Easy Street, uh, you can’t be fired. These days you just can’t take job security for granted. Actually, with your credentials you could get a good government job. We always need engineers and physicists. Do you know computers? Then you really shouldn’t have any trouble at all. And you speak Arabic and English. We need people who speak Arabic and English.
"But we’re getting a little off the subject at hand, aren’t we. Let’s see. After you were deported, did you ever try to come back? – before today, I mean - you know – just sort of sneak back in? No? Walked right past them, did you! I guess in those days security wasn’t what it is now. You mean nobody stopped you? Oh, of course. I hadn’t thought of that. A different name and different hairstyle. You know sometimes when my wife comes back from the hair dresser I don’t recognize her for a week. That’s a joke – I heard it at a nightclub once. But it’s a fact that a different hair style really makes it hard to recognize people. Yes, you do look very different with the beard, but if I can be candid here, I think you look a lot better with just the moustache. You have good cheekbones and – no, I most assuredly am not. One of my hobbies is painting so I notice things like that.
"So you say you’ve been here six times since 1992 and nobody has ever asked you this many questions? Well, that’s because, I hope you don’t mind my mentioning it, some, uh, people crashed a couple of planes into our tallest buildings last September – you must have heard about it - and it seems most of them were here legally, so we’ve toughened up our procedures for letting people into the country.
"Now, let’s get to the matter of what you’ll be doing while you’re here. Cab driving in New York? But, Mr. ah, Mohammed - the dark glasses and the cane…why, yes, we do have such a law, it’s called the Americans with Disabilities Act. Yes, that’s true.
"Well, I see you’re quite knowledgeable about America. It’s been a pleasure talking with you, Mr. al-Siddiq. I’m sure you’ll be a real asset to our country. This young man will help you with your luggage."
Judy Weizner was the author of "Stranger Than Fact", the back page of Heterodoxy Magazine, from 1992 to 2001. Her satires have also appeared in National Review Online and Frontpage Magazine.