Thursday, June 29, 2006
Jamal comes up to the Afghan-Pakistan border on a bicycle. He's got two large bags over his shoulders. The guard stops him and says, "What's in thebags?""Sand," answers Jamal.The guard says, "We'll just see about that ~ get off the bike." The guard takes the bags and rips them apart; he empties them out and finds nothing in them but sand. He detains Jamal overnight and has the sand analyzed,only to discover that there is nothing but pure sand in the bags.The guard releases Jamal, puts the sand into new bags, hefts them onto the man's shoulders, and lets him cross the border. A week later, the same thing happens. The guard asks, "What have you got?""Sand," says Jamal.The guard does his thorough examination and discovers that the bags contain nothing but sand. He gives the sand back to Jamal, who crosses the border on his bicycle.This sequence of events if repeated every week for three years. Finally,Jamal doesn't show up one day and the guard meets him in a restaurant in Afghanistan."Hey, Jamal," says the guard, "I know you are smuggling something. It's driving me crazy. It's all I think about. I can't sleep. Just between you and me, what are you smuggling?"Jamal sips his chai and says, "Bicycles."