Monday, February 18, 2008

The Great White North

I remember back in the early eighties, as a Canadian, going to university in the Southern United States. I had many a great experience while attending school there for four years and made many good friends. Over the years, I have lost contact with most of them but my memories of them will live on forever.

As a Canadian, I was often asked numerous questions about Canada. Unfortunately, due to the fact that Canadian history or geography weren’t in the American high school curriculum, most American’s were fairly uninformed about us Canadians. As a result, we were asked many questions that, to this day, we still laugh about. We were asked as to who our king and queen were, do we live in igloos, what we do when a polar bear comes near to us, do we have cars… and so on.

Quite often, we Canadians would have a little fun with our American counterparts as well. We told them that Canadian chickens had fur instead of feathers since it was so cold. We told them that we had to canoe to the border where we took a bus or plane to get to school. We told them that all we ate was seal meat. We would tell them that instead of pet dogs, we had pet lions and tigers.

While living in Chattanooga, TN, we heard in the news about some guy who was biking on a ten speed all the way from Cape Horn, the southern most tip of South America all the way to Alaska. As he was making his way through Tennessee, he was interviewed by the local news media. During that interview he was asked about how he has adjusted with the many different cultures he has passed through and how he expects to adjust as he makes his way into Canada. “Adjusts as he makes his way into Canada??” I said to my buddies as we watched this interview. “Where does he think he is going to be when he hits the Canada-USA border!?!... the Ozarks??” However, it wasn’t the question that blew my mind, it was his answer.

“Well, I don’t think there should be much of a problem since I have a fair idea what to expect by watching Bob and Doug McKenzie.” Bob and friggen Doug McKenzie?? He is judging me and 32 million other Canadians by watching the McKenzie Brothers??? Now, I have to admit that these “two brothers” who are actually two comedians from the popular Canadian show SCTV, certainly didn’t give us Canadians a good name but c’mon… did the world really see us Canadians this way? Sheesh!

We never really lived down this new found reputation that we blamed the McKenzie Brothers for and had to settle with hopefully people forgetting these two clowns. Despite this connection, we all secretly loved these two guys and to this day, call the land of Canada the "Great White North." Check out the video on our two famous and one time favourite Canadian sons.


Portia said...

Your area could be known for a lot worse than a couple of goofy guys!
Hey, I tagged you, you know, if you feel like playing:)

Josie said...

Dave, I LOVE this. It's wonderful.

Did you ever see the Rick Mercer series "Talking to Americans"? You can find the whole thing on YouTube. It's hysterical.

geewits said...

What you guys aren't like Bob and Doug? I'll be the only person in Canada tossing back beers? If it makes you feel any better, it's not just Canada. I moved to Texas from North Carolina and have been asked:
"Wasn't it cold up there?"
"Is that on the border of Canada?"
"So you're a yankee then, right?"
And one woman that I used to play poker with INSISTED that North Carolina was north of the Mason-Dixon line. The next time I hosted poker I left a dictionary on the poker table with "Mason-Dixon line" highlighted in bright yellow.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I have fun misleading people about Malaysia too.
Q: "Do any of you live in trees?"
A: "Only those of us who can afford it!"

BBC said...

I have no idea who McKenzie Brothers are. But I've been through much of Canada and it was pretty much like wandering around in the states.

A few things in Quebec was different though.

Jazz said...

I love the McKenzie brothers. And like Josie says, check out Rick Mercer's "Talking to Americans". It is incredibly funny.

Gypsy said...

I am always astonished by the things people from overseas ask about Australia as well.

Do we have kangaroos jumping down the street?

Do Australians speak English?

And my all time favourite.....Do we have shops in Australia?

There are many more that I can't remember right now but it does boggle the mind. Great post Dave.

A Happy Downtowner said...

Funny post Dave. I love these two, in small doses though, there's only so much parody I can take. Ditto for Rick Mercer talking to Americans. I love RM but that one left me cringing sometimes.

The one I heard about Canada that always made me laugh was the question about the subway from Quebec to Calgary. yep, it's gonna be a long subway ride... lol

Mother of Invention said...

Hard to believe, EH?!! "Do do do do do do do do....! (Can't spell that call thing they did!)

Love Rick Mercer!

jAMiE said...

Well, i know Americans don't know much about us but to think they base any of their knowledge on Bob and Doug is hysterical..can you imagine. I saw their movie a few times and loved it but sheeeeeeesh!

Love your blog Dave, always makes me think, i love that....oh and i hope you are still well!

Akelamalu said...

A lot of people who live 'down South' in Britain think that all us 'northerners' wear clogs and sing "Sally" like Gracie Fields!

monsoon-dreams said...

i think the most misunderstood people are us,indians.people think that we live in jungles,lotsa snakes and snake-charmers all around,and that we havent seen cars... :-( though some parts of india(its a hugely populated country) are still backward,the whole of India isnt like that.interesting post,dave.

Sandy said...

hahah..that is too funny!!


Janice Thomson said...

I got such a kick out of reading some of your past posts.
Hi Dave! It sure is good to be back in blogland again and reading great posts like this one.
Hope you are up to par again after your recent hospital visit.

David Kim said...

How's it going, eh?

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Love the furry chicken....priceless!

Anonymous said...

I loved the songs when they came out. Both of them - Great White North and the Twelve Days of Christmas. And a bee-ee-e--e--e-er. Funny guys.

heiresschild said...

funny post!

Lysa said...

This is great info to know.