A while back I served as guarantor of my dear friend Shannon Henderson’s (pseudonym!) passport application, and they called me to verify details. In the morning. I don’t do mornings. This is, more or less, a transcript of the phone call.
G: [coughs] Yeah? The fuck is it?
Official: Is this Graeme Koffman? I’m calling you from Passport Canada. We’re phoning with respect to your endorsement as guarantor of the passport application made by Sharon Henderson. No, sorry, that’s “Shannon”, with two “n”s.
G: What? You’re who now? [coughs]
Official: This is the Passport Canada – the Canadian Passport Office. We’re calling you with respect to –
G: What time is it?
Official: It’s 11 o’clock, sir.
G: Morning or night?
Official: It’s 11 in the morning, sir.
Official: Now about Ms. Henderson; we need you to verify that –
Official: Shannon Hen –
G: Oh, yeah, Shannon, right. Nobody calls her that.
Official: I’m sorry?
G: Nobody calls her that, not after that thing on the El Al flight to Tel Aviv…
Official: I’m sorry?
G: …yeah, that was a real mess. Godawful mess. Reporters wouldn’t stop calling after that, so she’s unofficially Delores Frum these days. That’s probably what she wants on the passport, right?
G: I told her when she got back – they held her for months, we were beginning to think she might not be coming home – anyway, “Delores”, I said, “you’re lucky we aren’t doing business with those black ops guys in Thailand these days, it could have been one of those ‘extraordinary rendition’ deals”. And she looked at me kind of confused, like, she didn’t see why, as if everybody tries to get on airplanes with two frickin hand grenades in their frickin carry-ons.
Official: I’m sorry, sir, are you alleging –
G: You’ll land your ass in Gitmo that way. That’s what I told her.
Official: Our background checks didn’t reveal –
G: Wait – who the fuck is this again?
Official: Passport Canada. You’re talking to an employee of the Federal Government sir, and you’re making some rather troubling assertions that I’m going to need you to explain.
G: Assertions? About what?
Official: About passport applicant Shannon Henderson. Now –
G: Do you guys care about the drugs? I mean, some of that stuff’ll be legal by the time Justin is through.