Hello gang! (Bonjour tout le monde).
I’d originally signed on to guest post yesterday. However, as it was the only day Dave was available Mike (Michel) asked if I’d mind being bumped. I’d no problem with it as getting bumped by Dave is akin to being a guest on Letterman and getting bumped by Bruce Springsteen. To put it in Canadian terms, it’s like getting bumped by The Bare Naked Ladies or Rush. (To put it in French-Canadian terms, a été tué par ‘Les Femmes Sans Vetements,’ ou ‘Le Vite’). Regardless of how it’s expressed, it is way better than getting bumped by Chilliwack, who have been gone gone gone so long few may remember them. [God! I crack me up. (Dieu! Je me brise.)]
I can tell right now that if I keep going the way I have been this is going to look more like a poorly-thought-out math equation than a poorly-thought-out blog post. So we’ll cut out the French; I’m sorry, but too bad for you my French-Canadian friends (Je regrette, mais ma tante piss pour vous, mes amis Francais-Canadianais.)
I’ve no idea why Mike’s misspelled Canada on his blog but I suspect that whatever it is about Canadians that allow them to sing, “Oh Canada, our home and native land,” without any irony in their voices also allows them to play fast-and-loose with the spelling of their country. I’m guessing that so long as the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Hawking, is careful to wear a Maple Leaf pin on his lapel Canada’s sense of patriotism remains intact.
[Canadians are a far more secure people than Americans. We are, however, nuclear. (As of the most recent inauguration.)]
Canada, as you may be aware, is vast! Yet, despite the fact it is almost as big as Texas and Arkansas combined, it has a population that comes in just south of that of Rhode Island. There are so few Canadians that Father Guido Sarducci once said something like, “There are enough Chinese people that if you were to pair them up and march them into the ocean you’d never run out of Chinese folks.” The point being there are so many and they reproduce fast enough your task would never end.
The father continued with, “… so why even try? Why not line the Canadians up and march them into the ocean two at a time? You’d be done by lunch.” He was referring, I’m thinking, more to the sparsity of Canadians than to their reluctance to breed while standing in a line.
I made my first trip to Canada when I was 12 or so; our family spent a week at Rice Lake in Ontario. I’d next go when I was 30 or 31… I was on my honeymoon then. And, as you recall, I dropped by Vancouver (which, despite being in the British-Columbian part of Canada, had little to offer in the way of Brits or South Americans) in early December; I’d have been, and still am, 48. So what is that? I make the trip about every 15 years or so. Canada seems none the worse for my visits.
As I’ve demonstrated above, my French leaves a lot to be desired. The interesting thing about this is if you were to ask a Frenchman about a French-Canadian’s French, the French dude might say the same thing about the Cannuk’s. The Cannuck might then say, “you need to drop an ‘n’ there big fella.”
Blah blah blah … I was going to end with a blurb about how Mike and I would likely survive if we were stranded together in Paris, what with the French-Canadian not-French French and my inability to reliably order anything off a menu aside from eggs, cheese, snails and grapefruit. That story ended with me getting by by snatching food from the plates of other patrons and them not being surprised as I’m an American and that’s what we do – take what we want … however, given the new administration I felt odd going there. Also, Canadian French and French French sound a lot alike to me – sort of like a low hum followed by a snarky, nasal “haw haw haw” – and I’m not really sure which version Mike uses.
So, instead, I’ll leave you with these three items.
I’ve been saying for years “I’m so nice I’m damned near Canadian.” I’d really hoped this would turn into a catch phrase of some sort but I don’t have the sense it’s making much headway outside of my (really sweet) mini-van. I would like your help with this; see if you can’t work it in to your everyday conversation.
During the Iranian Crisis of 30 years ago (eg. America Held Hostage … day 300) – at least I think this was the event – some Americans escaped from our Embassy in Iran and made their way to the Canadian Embassy. The Canadians smuggled them out of the country and to safety. A short time after this I read an article in the paper in which some Canadians were pulled over for speeding in the States. The officer who stopped them said something like, “I realize you’re probably just practicing rushing Americans to safety, but could you please watch your speed.” (After giving them a cavity search he sent them on their way with just a warning.)
After meeting Mike I commented to another Canadian friend, “I met a guy from Ottawa. His name is Mike. Maybe you know him.” Because that’s the joke we make about Canada due to its lack-of-populationess. “His real name is ‘Michel’,” I continued. “I think he goes by Mike when he’s in the US because ‘Michel’ is a girl’s name down here.”
“You’re saying it wrong,” said my Canadian friend, who’s name was, unfortunately, not René.
“’Michel’ … that’s wrong? How do you say it?”
“If you are talking about a woman you say it the way you’ve been saying it, ‘Michel.’ A man’s name is, ‘Michel.’
“That’s what I said. ‘Michel’”
“No. You said, ‘Michel.’ It’s ‘Michel’ for a man and ‘Michel’ for a woman.”
Now, I know my friend was trying to make some sort of distinction between “Michel” and “Michelle.” And there may have been a point when he said “Mi-shelllle” but I was never really sure he wasn’t picking on me. Because, you know, I deserved it.
I finally distracted him with, “Hey, how about them Maple Leafs?” which encouraged him to forget Michel/Michel and go into a hockey-related tirade that lasted for twenty minutes. (Twenty-five minutes and twenty-four seconds Canadian. Haw haw haw!)