It’s interesting to be Canadian. As a nation, we’re generally regarded as the polite, low-key, boring neighbours of the superpower south of us. We tend to define ourselves by what we’re not, instead of by what we are, and we may get quite impassioned about the whole thing. Especially if beer is involved.
We’ve got a lot going for us. We’re superpowers in hockey and curling. Our military, while pathetically undermanned, is generally respected. We are usually laid-back and polite. Until you get to know us. Then we’re potty-mouths (language warning on this link).
Despite (or perhaps because of) the abundance of off-colour jokes about our national animal the beaver, we are actually quite attached to the furry buck-toothed rodent. And every now and then, the beaver gets revenge on its detractors, though this may only happen in beer commercials.
And speaking of beer, despite my high regard for our neighbours to the south, our beer is generally much better than theirs. I have a sneaking suspicion that most U.S. beer is just Canadian beer that’s been warm-filtered through a kidney.
We’re a nation of oddballs who are perfectly capable of starting a violently destructive riot over a hockey game, and then getting sidetracked partway through:
After all, which is more important, a hockey game or getting lucky? (Note: If you are a Canadian male, this question will cause intense indecision.)
You know you’re Canadian when you put on your parka and go out to buy a Slurpee in -30 degree weather. (If you’re not from around here, a Slurpee is a slushy drink composed of crushed ice and a soft drink). Winter is a great time to drink Slurpees, because they don’t melt and dilute the flavouring, and your hands don’t get cold while you hold the cup because you’re already wearing mittens.
Maybe because we spend a lot of time sitting inside to avoid the cold, we’ve also contributed quite a few useful things to the world. We’ve offered up handy-dandy stuff like insulin to treat diabetes (Banting & Best, 1922), basketball (Naismith, 1891), and the Canadarm for the space shuttle (SPAR Aerospace, 1981).
There are many reasons why I’m glad I’m Canadian, but a couple of weeks ago, we scored another notable achievement. A Canadian stuntwoman, Jolene Van Vugt, set a new land speed record for the world’s fastest motorized toilet: 75 km/hr (46.6 mph).
Now I’m really flushed with pride.