A few years back, an events company invited me to give an origami demonstration in Bermuda at a trade show. Traveling to this island for a purpose other than tourism meant that the company that invited me had to request a special work permit from the authorities in Bermuda.
Just before my trip, I was told that everything regarding this temporary permit was in order.
When I landed at the Bermuda International Airport, the customs officer receiving me was appropriately stern and solemn, exuding all the authority expected of any immigration or customs official.
“Good afternoon. How long are you staying in Bermuda?” he asked in a bureaucratic tone.
“Two days” I replied.
“For business or pleasure?”
“What will you be doing?
“I will be giving an origami demonstration”
“Ori … what?”
“Origami: The art of folding paper.” I clarified for him.
“Who are you working for?”
“I will be working for the new events promotion company.”
“One moment, please. I need to check the list.”
The customs official disappeared behind an office door. Forty-three seconds later he returned, with the same authoritative air of superiority, and no friendly expression.
“I’m sorry,” he said “but origami is not allowed in Bermuda!”
The blood drained from my face, and I froze, stunned.
“Origami is not allowed in Bermuda…?” I repeated.
“That’s right, Origami is not allowed in Bermuda.” He confirmed.
I was silent, looking directly at his eyes.
“Ha! Got you, didn’t I?” said the man with a mischievous and warm islander’s smile.
I breathed a sigh of relief, and smiled back at his devilish prank. He then stamped my passport with an officious thump, and pointed me to the exit.
“Welcome to Bermuda!” he said.