It’s the spring of 2018, and former NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar enters the immigration hall at Washington Dulles Airport after two weeks of cooking classes in Tuscany. In line, he strikes up conversation with Dr. Oz, the famous TV doctor, who was returning from an extended yoga and health-training seminar in Tiber. Waiting in line, they notice a large portrait of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, on the wall. Dr. Oz said, “His color is returning to normal since the campaign. The orange made me think he was eating too many carrots.”

When it’s his turn, Mr. Abdul-Jabbar steps up to the immigration officer.

“What’s your name?” the immigration officer asks.

“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.”

“Do you speak English, sir?”

“Yes, I graduated from UCLA.”

“In LA?”

“Yes, sir, that’s what UCLA stands for.”

“No wonder. I hear there are a lot of camel jockeys in LA.”

“I wouldn’t know, sir.”

“Take these forms and go to the special window over there.”

“Why?”

“Because you have one of those Middle Eastern names. If you had a real American name, like Lew Alcindor, you would stay in this line.”

“What will they do to me over there?”

“Ask you questions to determine if you’re Muslim.”

“But I am Muslim, sir.”

“Then it will be a quick interview, and they’ll put you on a plane back home. President Trump’s orders.”

“Oh, no problem, sir.”

“I must say, you’re taking this better than most, Mr. Abdul-Jabbar.”

“I’m heading home to LA anyway after a couple weeks in Italy.”

“No dice. LA may be full of Mexicans, but it’s still part of the U.S. NEXT!”

Kareem leaves for the Muslim questioning window. Dr. Oz handed his passport, which showed his given name of Mehmet Öz, to the immigration agent.

The agent looked up and said, “Mehmet Öz?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What kind of name is Öz?”

“Turkish.”

“How’d you learn to speak English, Mr. Öz?”

“I went to college at Harvard and medical school at Penn, followed by an MBA at Penn also. I’ve lived and worked in the U.S. all my life.”

“Do you have any proof of that?”

Looking in his wallet, Dr. Oz said, “I don’t carry my diplomas with me, but here is my Denny’s card.”

“Sorry, but we’ll need more than that. If you’re American, as you say, where do you go to church?”

“Church?”

“Yep. President Trump ordered us to ask it. It’s not that tough of a question, sir.”

“But I don’t go to church; I’m a Muslim.”

“That’s why we ask. Please step to the line over there.”

 

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