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O Canada

July 3, 2014

Canada’s Independence Day was July 1st.  I missed it.  Sorry.

I find it confusing, though.  They’re independent.  But their Monarch is Queen Elizabeth.  Of England.  Something doesn’t add up.

The Canadian people are really wonderful.  So quiet and nice, we forget they’re up there.  There’s this giant country right above us and Americans are like, “What? Who? Where?”  They must be nice; we’ve only gone to war with them once and most of us have totally forgotten it.  War of 1812.  Canada was in that, sort of.  They even won, sort of.  I think it’s because the president and generals got together and said, “Wait, do we really want Canada?” and lost interest.  I think England, the other combatant lost interest.  We’ve forgotten it, but Canadians haven’t.  They celebrate the war of 1812, but they call it something different.  I forget what.

Growing up in Seattle, I was an hour-and-a-half from the border.  Going to school in Bellingham, I was twenty minutes from the border.  We would go up there on weekends to make fun of their nine-pin bowling with cannonballs and their decades out-of-date graphic design and branding.  It was like stepping back into the fifties.  Those people can take care of gardens, though.  Their side of the border is beautiful, just amazing.  Our side looks like my yard, neglected and ratty.  I called the government about this once and asked why we keep our side of the border in such terrible shape.

“The northern border?” they said.

“Yes,” I said.

“Oh, nobody goes up there,” they said.

“We do.”

“What for?”

“To visit Canada.”

“Is that your grandmother?”

“No, that’s the country to the north of us.”

“Oh, those guys.  Is anyone still there?  It’s pretty quiet, I think they’ve all gone.”

“No, there are people up there.”

“Hmm. ‘s cold up there.”  CLICK

Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about Canadians is that while we know next to nothing about them, they know everything about us.  They even understand our politics (want to get a sweet-natured Canadian mad or at least bewildered?  Get him on the topic of our politics). But their politics?  Between their monarch, governor general and prime minister, I’m lost.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire Canada.  We treated the Indians horribly, first by calling them Indians, then, you know, the smallpox and death march stuff.  Canadians call their aborigines “aborigines” and “First Nation” and “Eskimo.”  Oh wait, that last one was us.  They call them “Inuits” which is funny because only a few of the Inuits call themselves that, since Inuit is one of several tribes.  They all got along.  The Inuits didn’t want Canada either.

We used to make fun of their multi-color Monopoly money, but it seems we’re going that direction now, so keep those guffaws to yourself.

Perhaps their greatest contribution to the world, besides the electron microscope and the paint roller, is their TV shows.  We’re kind of hooked.  Shows are populated by smart adults, sharp writing and strong plotting.  You’ll also like how familiar their actors are because so many come down here to get warm and do a few US shows and movies while they’re at it.  Where would Star Trek be without Shatner and Doohan, 24 without Sutherland, comedy without Ackroyd and Short, soft porn without Anderson?  And let’s not forget Dudley Do-right of the Royal Mounted Mounty people.

Also of note are their much laxer pharmaceutical laws.  Codeine is over-the-counter in Tylenol 3, the happiest painkiller out there.  Yes, in those college years, we’d stock up on T3, sounding like a mariachi band every time we hit a bump.  And the Canadian Border Patrol?  What nice guys.  Ours are grumpy, “what’re you going up there for, punk?”  “The cold.” “Whatever, don’t bring their drugs back, or else!”  The Canadians?  “Hello, sir, I hope you enjoyed your trip to the pharmacy.  Have a good day!”

We would not have survived Charli’s infant years without Gripe Water and its inactive alcohol ingredient (it was the dill that did it, the alcohol was just to keep Americans from helping their kids.  Canadian Pharma companies are the ultimate in passive aggressive).

Canadians do have a certain moral superiority owing to their universal healthcare and free icepacks.  Also that, other than us in a fit of boredom, no one has invaded them.  They were even given sovereignty over the Arctic.  That sums things up right there, doesn’t it?  Let’s give a chuck of ice nobody wants to the country nobody wants.

Nice flag, though.  Their alternative symbol was an Aunt Jemima bottle.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 5, 2014 5:36 pm

    I love your conversation with the government.

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