Tuesday, August 30, 2005

An American's Guide to Canada pt. 1

I've wanted to do this... well, since I got here, really.

Welcome to AN AMERICAN'S GUIDE TO CANADA!!!!!! pt. 1.

This will be a series (which may or may not be entirely made up of this one post) that will cover the weird shit that goes on in the Great White North. I'll talk about food, people, and uhmmm... other stuff. Oh, and TV. Canadian TV is really odd.

But I digress.

Today's post will cover some misconceptions that folks from the US have about Canadians. I, of course, base this entirely on the assumption that, despite evidence to the contrary, everything in Canada is the way it is in Edmonton. Because I can't be bothered to travel anywhere else to learn stuff.

Misconception: Canadians are just like Americans.
Fact: Canadians are sort of like Europeans wearing American skin-suits. I've never seen one of these suits in manufacture, so I can't say for sure, but in general, Canadians are more well-adjusted, awesomer, and more generally gnarly than Americans. They are less uptight about stuff, more generous on average, and much more willing to laugh at themselves. Which is good, because a lot of people wear socks with sandals around here, and that would get you killed in the States. The best way to tell a Canadian from an American is to ask if the person thinks "Corner Gas" is funny. If he says, "Haw haw, I love that show," he's Canadian. An Amercian will say, "Haw haw, yes, but I prefer to fart out in the open."

Misconception: Canadians say "eh" all the time.
Fact: This is true. One has to work hard to be able to decipher the different inflections and tones involved in the Canadian language. For example, "Eh eh eh EH eh Ehhhhh" means "Where is my window-scraper," while "Eheheheh eh eh EHEHEH" means "Well, then I said--GET THE FUCK OFF MY FOOT." Some people in Western Canada seem to say "Hey" instead of "eh," but this regional dialect is easy to decipher.

Misconception: Canadians can shoot fire from their eyes.
Fact: Also true. They are also impervious to bullets, can race at high subsonic speeds, and calculate pi the the bajillionth decimal point in 3.14 seconds. They just choose not to.

Misconception: What is up with Canadian potato chips.
Fact: Dude, I know. WTF.

You'd be surprised the differences here. The little ones. Like, "pasta" is pronounced "Past-a," as if Mario were saying the word "past" ("You won't get-a past-a me!"), as opposed to "Pahsta" like civilized humans say. They also have a Conservative party up here that is about as right-wing as Hillary Clinton is on Tuesdays (when she has her brunch with the Religious Middle). Oh, and their cars seem to transform from hideous minivans into sexxxy convertibles when summer comes, just as the hottie-vaults open up and let forth their cargo around late April or early May.

There is also no crime here, as far as I can tell. By that I mean, bad things happen, but they don't seem to be entirely illegal. Like, there's a billboard up on one main road that reads, "When you give money to prostitutes, who is really the victim?" That same billboard in the States would read, "If you give money to a prostitute, prepare to die, criminal." Actually, it'd read more like, "George W. Bush is awesome, all hail the glorious God-King," but you get my point. My point is that the billboard is trying to reason you out of soliciting a prostitute. It appeals to your conscience and your self-discipline. Same with drugs. In the States, "head shops" have signs like, "If you even say the word 'pot' in here, we get to kill you." In Canada, you see signs that say, "COME TO OUR STORE AND TOKE UP WITH US, BECAUSE WE SMOKE WEED AND SELL WEED ACCESSORIES AND DID WE MENTION WE'RE HIGH RIGHT NOW AND SMOKE WEED?!?!?!!?!? YOU TOO RIGHT?!!?!??!!?!"

Canada has $1 and $2 coins, called "loonie" (for the picture of a loon on the back) and a "toonie" (because the coin was invented by a four-year-old whose mother thought everything he said was cute). The decision to make these coins was apparently to help with vending machines, phones, etc., because you can't shove a dollar bill into a drink machine and hope everything will go well. The $2 coin was made because the average soda in Canada costs $14 CAN, and people got Repetitive Stress Injury from dumping loonies in one-by-one. Of course, this creates a problem when visiting strip joints. I'm still not entirely sure how people tip strippers here. The best bet would be a coin that could transform into a paper bill and back. And perhaps you could combine 5 different bills to form Devastator.

Contrast with the States, where people are regularly called in on false counterfeiting charges for trying to spend (legal tender) $2 bills. The US even tried a $1 coin for a while, but it failed, probably because people kept wondering why the stores were giving them Chuck E. Cheese tokens as change. Hell, the only reason they still have pennies in the States is because if they got rid of them, uncles would have nothing to give their nephews and nieces for Xmas.

The cops in Canada seems to be more reasonable, as well. I was pulled over by the Mounties in some National Park or other. The guy said, "Did you know what you did wrong?" I said, "Uhm, not really." To which he replied, "Well, okay then. Good day." I have yet to have a cop beat me senseless for being black. And no, I'm not black, but that doesn't stop cops in the States.

Anyway, that's part 1. I hope you found this post enlightening. If no crazy Canadians burn me to death with their eyes for this post, you can probably expect a part 2 sometime in the undefined future.