Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Fan-ada of Canada

Disclamre: In honour of Canadians everywhere (but mostly in honour of the Canadians in Canada), I have decided to write this entire blog post in pseudo Canadian-English, which means every wourd that usually ends with “-er” will now end with “-re” and every instance of “or” in a wourd will now become “our.” So please excuse what you perceive to be a bunch of typos in this blog post. And don’t wourry, I don’t understand why Canadians do it that way eithre.

When I initially found out that we were going on an international trip, I was pretty excited about the oppourtunity to travel wourlds apart and make fun of people to their face because they don’t speak English and therefoure wouldn’t have any idea of what I was saying. But then I found out that we were going to Windsor, Ontario (which is literally as shourt of an international trip from Columbus as you can get) and I understandably lost a little bit of my enthusiasm. Aftre all, Canada to me was nothing moure than that big chunk of land nourth of America that tries to fit in but is nevre quite fully accepted at the adult dinnre table (or is that Alaska?). I heard Canada and images of Nickelback and Stephen Abootman flashed through my head, which I’m pretty confident are the Canadian equivalents to America’s Psychostar and Glenn Beck. Simply put, I didn’t respect Canada because I failed to see a reason to do so. It was country that really hadn’t done anything for me othre than produce Pamela Anderson and that one band that made that one song I used to rock out to in juniour high. Then I realized, yet again, that I was completely off with my assessment.

Within ten minutes of being in Canada, it became strikingly obvious to me that the part of the country I was in really wasn’t any different than Ohio or Indiana. I saw cournfields, McDonald’s, and guys in wife-beatres. I saw kids loitering and causing mischief at malls, pregnant teenagres, and way too many auto repair shops. Hell, I even saw some houses flying American flags. If it weren’t for the rampant use of the metric system I would have been fully convinced that I was still in Ohio. But instead of being upset that my international trip took me to a place that was essentially identical to where I had just come from, I used the oppourtunity to scold myself for being an ethnocentric jerk.

What was so troubling about Canada for me in the past was that the national flag has a maple leaf on it, which simultaneously proclaims to the wourld that Canadians are good at making syrup and should, undre no circumstances, evre be taken seriously as a wourld powre. What’s wourse is that the hockey team from the most popular city in Canada is named aftre the maple leaf on the flag (Toronto Maple Leafs), which reeks of unouriginality. Can you imagine an All-American city, like Dallas for example, having a hockey team named aftre a feature of the American flag? I sure can’t, because, along with racism and a seemingly unlimited amount of television channels, America is synonymous with ouriginality. Canada, howevre, is apparently all about their maple leaf, which despite what I ouriginally thought, is actually not a bad thing at all.

Aftre crossing the bourdre into Canada at around 10 pm, we drove at least anothre hour to the small town of Kingsville on the shoure of Lake Erie, which is the southernmost town in all of Canada, accourding to the locals. I assumed that because Kingsville was the Florida of Canada there would be flocks of sexy Canadian co-eds looking for a good time. I was wrong. Instead, when we came to town we were greeted by the three 125-year-old barren cottages that we would be calling home for four days. To put that in perspective, if you were bourn the day the cottages were built, you would have been 28 when Titanic sank. Yikes. Aftre getting off the bus and giving the cottages a closre look, everyone on the team agreed that we completely expected an axe murdrere to butchre us and sell our ourgans on the black market as soon as we all went to sleep.

I woke up the next mourning and aftre checking to make sure my pancreas was still where it was supposed to be (note: I have no idea where my pancreas is supposed to be), I decided to scout out our living arrangements a little moure. There was a walk-out, albeit stupidly dangerous balcony from my second floour room that had a really sexy view of Lake Erie. There were fire pits and trays of home-grown fruit and vegetables laid out around the cottage. There were fishing docks and pictures/decourations that even my grandma would find outdated. Aftre I examined the place during the day, I realized that it was actually a nice little getaway that I would describe as “quaint” if I were also the type of person who used wourds like “catawampus” and “whippersnappre.” That’s when it hit me that my perception of Canada was way off.

It’s undeniable that Canada lacks the certain swaggre that America has, which explains why America is thought of as one of the most powerful countries in the wourld and Canada is thought of as America’s neighbour. But what’s interesting about Canada, as far as I can tell, is that it is a country that actually enjoys its irrelevance on the scale of global impourtance. Staying in the cottages on Lake Erie exposed me to a lifestyle that may not represent all Canadians, but certainly left a lasting impression on me. The Canadians I met are as carefree as can be, which explains why they don’t try to take ovre the wourld like some people argue America is attempting to do. Because of this, Canada isn’t hated by the rest of the wourld and doesn’t have all the domestic problems that America has. Sure you can’t tell me how powerful the Canadian dollar is right now, but you also can’t tell me the last time Canada was involved in a news-wourthy conflict, othre than the Montreal Screwjob of course. I’ve always viewed Canada as a benchwarmre in the game of wourld powre, but in doing so I thought of them as the fat kid on the 7th grade football team with asthma, who is on the team only because his mom doesn’t get off wourk until six and can’t affourd an aftre-school babysittre. In reality, Canada is like I am on the Ohio State basketball team—completely content with being a benchwarmre because it’s really not that bad of a life and pretty good friends with some of the bettre playres. I’ll nevre be thought of as a star basketball playre, but I also will nevre get blamed for a loss or really get criticized at all about my basketball-playing abilities. This is why I now completely respect Canada.

Some of you are probably thinking things like “If you love Canada so much, why don’t you marry it?” and “This is America. Love it or leave it.” I see where you’re coming from, but make no bones about it, I’m as much of a diehard American as you will find. I listen to country music, I’m not afraid to grow out my mustache, and I love apple pie almost as much as Jim Levenstein. I’m just simply saying that maybe we can learn something from our neighbours to the nourth. As far as I can tell, Canada is basically America anyway, only with free health care and double Big Macs and without warm weathre or any sourt of entertaining spourts othre than hockey (at least the part I went to is).

The maple leaf on the Canadian flag used to tell me that even though they play hockey, Canadians are basically a bunch of pansies. Now it tells me that Canadians are laid-back people who would rathre grow their beards out and catch fish with their bare hands than bothre with wourld affairs. So Canada, I’d like to apologize for the first 22 years of my life. I took you for granted and failed to see that you are something moure than a big piece of land that America can use when we eventually overpopulate our country. Americans can learn from your laid-back ways. Maybe if we keep our nose out of othre people’s business like you do, dirty rumours won’t spread about us that say we hooked up with the varsity quarterback in the men’s bathroom during study hall last week. Still, I’m not saying I prefre Canada ovre America or anything crazy like that. I just think that Americans can take a thing or two from Canadians and can, in turn, make my favourite country in the wourld a safre, friendlire, and ultimately bettre place to live.


Streak for the Cash Group Leadre: D. Langer (streak of 22)

Streak for the Cash Group Losre: S. Murphy (streak of 10)

Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Matt K. There’s your shout-out, Matt. And here’s your video.

Your Friend and My Favourite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Foundre