With Heroes Like These…

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

I just realised Canada Day and the Fourth of July are fast approaching and it may well be time for someone to discuss the difference between the two countries. As we all know there are many, but there are many similarities too, although we don’t like to admit it. We both speak English for the most part, although they spell it wrong, (realized?) the few down there who can read and write. And then there’s also – no, that’s about it.

To be fair  they have a bit of an advantage, their population is close to ten times greater than ours, 332,403,650 compared to our 38,388,419 – although Mary’s granddaughter had a little boy a month ago and I have another great-grand-person due in August so we are catching up.

You may not always agree with them but you have to understand Americans. They are big enough to do any damn thing they want. You never see some guy from New York staring at a thermometer trying to figure out what the temperature is. They weren’t stupid enough to buy into the Celsius and Kilopascal crap. If it’s 75 degrees, it’s 75 degrees. They don’t need a calculator to figure out whether it’s hot or not. They stayed Imperial, the way it was supposed to be. If God had wanted us to use the metric system he’d have made us all French. Like the lady said, “If God wanted us to speak all those foreign languages; he never would have written the Bible in English.”

Americans know that. They never changed. Not like us wimps, if some European told us to wear our underwear on the outside of our pants, Canadian men would be walking around with their Fruit of the Looms hanging out.

But I’m not here to praise Americans, what I’m here to tell you is we are Canadians and we are better than anyone else. But we have to start acting like it. We have some of the brightest people in the world right here in Canada – not that I would know any of them.

Americans celebrate their past and their heroes. They have monuments of Civil War generals in every park, sculptures of Presidents carved into the side of a mountain. All we have are a few statues of dead Prime Ministers, covered in bird-poop.       

In Ottawa we have a statue of Queen Victoria. Oh no, we didn’t put one up when she was 19 and sexy, we stuck one up when she was 70 years old and had her hair in a bun.

The Americans have movies, books and TV shows about their heroes, men like Daniel Boone, Davy Crocket and Wyatt Earp. And the best part is, just like our heroes, most of them were drunks, or never existed at all. They made them up. If Davy killed him a bar when he was only three, the bar choked on him.

We keep apologizing because Sir John A. MacDonald was into the sauce most of the time. The Americans would have named a saloon after him, and every hotel in the States would have a big sign on the front door “Sir John A. passed out here.”        

We need to teach our grandchildren about our own Canadian heroes, but we have forgotten them. Great men like Gaston LaRoche, who led a wagon train of settlers from Stadacona on the St. Lawrence in 1648, into the wilds of Ontario.

Unfortunately he couldn’t read the English signs and they were last seen wandering around Cornwall looking for a gas station with free road maps. (You remember road maps don’t you? They are – never mind, you won’t see them again anyway)

We were never taught in school about Running Bear Devillers, a half-breed trapper and shipbuilder, who invented the cement canoe. It was an unqualified success. Unfortunately he shot the rapids at the Lachine, Quebec. The canoe ran right down the main street of Chateauguay at 70 miles an hour and wiped out the last liquor store before New York State.

We were never taught about Laura Secord’s sister, Bessie, who entertained the American troops in her bedroom while Laura sneaked across the border. Laura got all the credit and was given her own chocolate company. All Bessie got was a thank-you note and her house was quarantined until her rash cleared up.

Americans are constantly telling us about George Washington who never told a lie. We have Doug Ford who never tells the truth. George carved his own wooden teeth. What about that great Canadian Fanshaw Farquarharson, he carved his own teeth, but he carved them out of green wood. By the time he had finished his salad his teeth were coming through the top of his head. Every October, tour buses come from miles around just to show our seniors his fall colours.

We have never appreciated our heroes. The Dutch have talked for centuries about Peter, a young boy who stuck his finger in a dike until help arrived. You never hear Canadians talk of Pierre Elliot Trudeau who stuck his finger in the air and taught us all a universal sign that we can use to express our feelings towards the Government every day.

The Americans never stop talking about their great architects, men like Frank Lloyd Wright, who built fine homes and office towers. What about our architects? Men like Frank Lloyd Wrong who built a skyscraper in downtown Toronto entirely out of ice. Unfortunately they invited dignitaries from all over the world to the dedication on Canada Day, but when they got there, it was gone.

Oh sure, sometimes our inventors distinguish themselves and make a fortune. But always by accident, Bombardier is credited with inventing the world’s first successful snowmobile. That’s not what he was doing. The silly ass thought he had invented the belt sander and by the time he got it stopped he was in Labrador and every drunk in Montreal was lined up to buy one.  More Canadian heroes next week.

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