"Sometimes you might be walking around lucky and not even know it." -Jay Trotter, in the film Let It Ride
I actually WON this weekend by taking a bad beat. I didn't lose $120 on the $420 I planned on wagering in Canada.
That's because Canada doesn't want me anymore. I was refused entry and politely asked never to return.
I've always had a tricky time with my trips to the great white north. I had Blue Jays tickets for a couple years (post 9/11) and always seemed to get detained for some reason. I just summed it up to the fact I was usually traveling solo, and thus more likely fitting some profile.
What I didn't realize until this past weekend is I fit the perfect profile of a really bad dude.
I have the bad luck of having a very common name. I have the REALLY bad luck of having the same name and birth date of a person that has committed multiple felonies.
I want to be very clear here - that person is not me.
So sitting in immigration on Saturday, waiting for this mistaken identity to sort itself out, I get asked, "Have you ever been arrested?"
(Sigh.) "Yes, I have. I was arrested about 15 years ago on a traffic stop. Although I have never been convicted of a crime."
Another 20 minutes pass. I get summoned to the counter:
"The good news John is you're not the John we originally thought you were. The bad news is your FBI file shows you convicted of a crime. Therefore you are barred from entering Canada for life, pending a criminal rehabilitation."
I was told if I ever tried to enter Canada again I would be arrested. Then I was escorted back the the US entry point.
The rest of my day I walked around dumbfounded. There is an FBI file on me. It says I was convicted of a crime, when I was not. And the the Canadian government also considers me a criminal.
Now I readily admit to being arrested when I was younger. Thanks to circumstances and a great lawyer I got off with a moving violation. But I can honestly say under penalty of perjury that I have never been convicted of a crime.
The funny part is all of this happened because I went there to bet on football LEGALLY. If I use an online book or a local bookie, I'm breaking the law.
I guess if I turn my back toward Canada, that means I'm facing in the direction of Las Vegas.