Screw Soccer, Today Is Goddamned Canada Day

In a couple of hours many Americans will be processing their patriotic feelings in a globalized world through the lens of a game they only sometimes follow. Meanwhile, my own compatriots up North have been drunk on cheap beer since about noon. I think our approach might be better.

I don't want to oversell us. My countrypeople are not entirely immune to the dumb-outfit version of patriotism, as you can see above. And they have had a rough year, what with Fob Rord (sic intended, I just think it's a better name), and also our country having a small Constitutional crisis over Supreme Court appointments. Mavis Gallant died. Oh yeah, and gun nuts killing people in Moncton. We haven't had this much excitement since That Time Jean Chrétien Throttled A Protester all the way back in 1996, and even back then we were more amused than frightened.

But it is important to count blessings nonetheless. We still have the whole cheap healthcare thing to lord over Americans. (Whatever my loyalties to Obamacare, it still can't compete with the stress-and-largely-paperwork-free average Canadian healthcare transaction.) Also, our supermarkets continue to faithfully provide several varieties of Doritos and potato chips not widely sold in the United States, such as dill pickle, ketchup, and Zesty Cheese. And we own Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro, which is always good for a bit of the marginal social cachet that comes with literary superiority.

Bragging, of course, is not very Canadian. We prefer subtlety and indirection, as a people. My colleague Tom Scocca has occasionally ventured the opinion that this predilection makes Canadians smarmy. I somewhat disagree! Just as Southerners never intend someone to be complimented by the phrase "Bless your heart," much Canadian politeness is not meant to be read as good will at all. We're being nice to indicate what an idiot we think you are. It's really very direct, to us.

As such if you, or another American you know, is moved to make one of those rote jokes Americans find so hilarious about Canadians today, parse the reaction of any Canadian in your vicinity carefully. That polite smile and light eyeroll probably actually means, "Oh god, how can I get away from this fucking imbecile?"

[Image via Shutterstock.]