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I Which I Discuss The Smuggling of Bees

April 1, 2009

I went to University in Canada, just near the border of two provinces. As my university town was quite small, we lacked any large department store. Well, we lacked most things to be honest, though we did have a grand total of eight bars within a five-minute walk from campus. What can I say, turns out Canadians like to drink.

My friends and I would drive ten minutes across the border to a neighboring province to go to Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire (think Home Depot), etc. Often we would make the trek to Dairy Queen, simply to do something different.

The drives were never long, and never that interesting (especially after the 100th visit to Dairy Queen). But there was one sign that always, always cracked up.

“Honey bee importation prohibited”.

Now, before I get into it, I’m sure there was a very, very good reason for the provincial government banning the importation of honeybees into its province.

(I actually spelled importation as “importantation” just now. Sometime I think my English B.A. was an administrative error).

But the idea seems fucking hilarious.

“Does anyone have any honeybees?” someone would invariably ask.

“Shit!” came the reply. “I left some in my bag!”

The whole car would erupt into laughter.

Sadly, I just realized how unfunny that story was, and I apologize for that. But the point really is that we always expected to see some kind of checkpoint to check for bees. Ideally it would be painted in black and white stripes (antenna on the roof would be a bonus). Maybe if you were caught with bees they could sting you with giant replica stingers as punishment. But would the officer stinging you then die? It depends how seriously they took their job, I suppose.

I do have great respect for bees though. They work as a total community for the good of the hive. They’re thoroughly unselfish. They’re so selfless, in fact, that when a bee stings you it dies! The stinger has a barb that hooks into its opponent and pulls out the bee’s guts when it tries to fly away. Man, talk about bravery. Wish I had guts like that. As long as they stayed in me when I sting people, of course. 

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