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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Border Fences

I grew up in a country where every house had a fence of some kind surrounding it. Some were elaborate structures complete with hideous gargoyles placed at regular intervals, and presumably designed to keep the kids next door next door. I know a thing a thing or two about fences having leapt a few low ones in my youth, so it seems most natural that I would be drawn to the government’s proposal to build a fence along our southern border.

This is going to be a massive undertaking, what with a border 1450 miles long, spanning miles of physically hostile territory. Any such construction will, of necessity, require structural soundness and proven longevity. It will be handy to afford space for troops or border guards to patrol not only from behind the wall, but also on top, the better to detect any attempts at tunneling. Such a wall would be mighty indeed and shall go down in history as a great wall.

And by happy coincidence, I have been able to locate just such an item that we could probably have for a fair price. And what’s more, it has been lightly used and has a reputation for longevity. My only worry is that the transportation costs may be daunting, as the wall I’m thinking of is 4,500 miles long. However, all is not lost. In the true spirit of entrepreneurship, I would suggest we use 1,450 miles for ourselves and sell the remainder to the country that has long wanted to keep Americans out of their territory, those pesky northerners in Canada. Of course there’d be a shipping and handling fee and some other related charges but I’m sure we’d be able to cut a deal.

Naturally, there’s some assembly required. Actually, there is a lot of assembly required. My first thought was to outsource the assembly work for the northern wall to workers from Berlin as they have some experience with these matters. Then I realized those other pesky northerners in Detroit would have none of it. What with several auto manufacturers shedding workers faster than a lizard changing its skin, there are thousands of skilled laborers who would be thrilled to go back to work assembling anything. Few would be able to tell the difference between stone works and a Dodge Caliber anyway, by virtue of their amazing similarities.

Those of you capable of doing the math are thinking the left over wall from our great southern project wouldn’t be enough to span the Canadian border, but I assure you, Canada has little to fear from Washington state, home of some of the best marijuana grown anywhere in the world. Montana, meanwhile, doesn’t have enough population to fill a Wal-Mart, so they could stop building at North Dakota and fudge the rest.

The southern wall will be a lot more difficult to erect. At the best of times it is piping hot in Texas, Arizona and most other places with tumbleweed. No self-respecting American would be caught dead erecting anything in 100 degree weather unless it’s a tent, and then only in the Middle East. I’m afraid we’ll have to import the labor on this one me hearties. And to those wags suggesting we use illegal immigrants from southern North America, I would respond that such a plan would be the moral equivalent of asking the Trojans to build you a horse.

In the true spirit of entrepreneurship, that leaves us with no recourse but to ask…the Chinese.

Mike McFarlane


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