Woman Detained at Border for Baffling Silliness

Posted: October 9, 2008 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives

On October 4, PressRepublican.com filed a story about Jerilea Zempel, a resident of northern New York, who was detained by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official while returning from a trip to Canada. The charge: suspicion of copyright infringement. The cause: this doodle…

Any sense whatsoever

Not pictured: Any sense whatsoever

Zempel is an artist, and had been attending the Cultural Capital Festival in Sackville, New Brunswick, where she submitted her idea to cover a Hyundai Santa Fe with a crocheted cozy. That’s what you’re looking at above. That’s an SUV covered in a giant cozy. And in the corner, that’s a note that says, “mirrors = ears,” lest that vital point be forgotten.

The work was intended to be “a statement against America’s dependence on oil and love for big vehicles,” according to the article.

After more than an hour of detention, Zempel was finally released when she was able to prove to the official that she was a professor at Fordham University in New York City, because, apparently, one more non sequitur couldn’t hurt.

All dangerous looking...

The culprit: All dangerous looking...

In the end, it’s hard to say what the most baffling part of this story is: the very idea of covering a car in a crocheted cozy; that the artist would have to draw the above sketch to remember the idea; that the sketch would include “ears” (Human ears? Animal ears? Car ears?); or that the customs official thought the drawing might constitute copyright infringement. Judging by her reaction, one can only assume that the official was carrying this sketch in her back pocket:

Whack-Ass Honorable Mentions:

Man Arrested for Riding Tricycle Drunk


“The man stopped quickly when approached and did not prolong the chase, to the disappointment of all.”

“Lion Rides Horse”


 Guy 1: “Wait…wait…Dude…follow me here…what if we have the lion ride the horse?”

Guy 2: “I say, Guy 1, that’s the best idea you’ve had since pissing off those octopuses.”

~Kyle Adams


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