Friday, September 23, 2011

Learning to be Cana'jun

  The flamboyant "Slave To Fashion" Don Cherry
Hear Pat read this entry 

Moving to Canada was a fairly painless process.  It's not really like you're going into a different country, more like dropping by your Aunt Gertrude's house.  She's your aunt all right, but she's... well... a little different.  With Cana'juns the differences are subtle, but distinct.  For instance the local delicacies might confuse a Yank on a visit to the Great White North.

Poutine is a particularly important Cana'jun staple, right up there with Tim Horton's and Swiss Chalet Chicken it's part of the Essential Canuck Food Group.  "Poutine" is a French word which, in English, roughly translates  to "Pile of Glop."  Poutine began in Quebec, when a group of French Cana'juns were trying to figure out what to throw at English Cana'juns during a “Vive Le Quebec Libre” rally.  They thought of using horse manure, but being polite and all decided to use gravy instead since it looked just like manure and didn't smell as bad...  well, usually anyway.  One French Cana'jun demonstrator accidentally dropped his gravy stash into a plate of French Fries and VOILA a new delicacy was born.  They added the cheese later because... well, because Cana'juns add cheese to everything.

Canucks don't say “oooot and abooot” they say “Awot and abawot”   This linguistic aberration began when a Canuck mother asked her adolescent son, who was chewing on a mouthful of Poutine at the time, where he was going.  He replied “Ah sfhhaid ah'm goin' awot and abawot”   It just caught on.

There are different words for everyday things in Canada, and it can be confusing to an uninformed Yank.  For instance, if a Cana'jun says “Have a Blue eh”, he's offering you a beer.  If he says “Have a Blue and sit on the chesterfield eh”,  he's offering you a beer and inviting you to have a seat on the couch.  If he says “Have a Blue and sit on the chesterfield, but don't spill it on the broadloom eh”, he's offering you a beer, inviting you to have a seat on the couch but wants you to be careful not to spill any on the carpet.   If you ask a Cana'jun “What's up eh?” and he replies “SFA eh” he's using an acronym for “sweet fuck all” which in Cana'jun means “nothing."

Cana'juns use “eh” as a delimiter for every kind of sentence.  Interrogatory, as in “Nice day out eh?”   Exclamatory, as in “The Maple Leafs really suck this year eh!”  Or as a substitute for a period, as in “I'm doin' SFA at work eh” “ Eh” is the quintessential Cana'jun expression, it can be used in any circumstance, at any time, and any Cana'jun will understand.  Try it yourself, walk down the street in Toronto, pick out someone at random and just say “Eh.”  They'll nod their head in agreement.  They know exactly what you mean!

Although they have banks in Canada, nobody uses them to get money.  Unlike the US and the rest of the world where you go to a teller window or an ATM to withdraw some cash, in Canada  you just go to the Canadian Tire Store and buy a bottle of brake fluid.  They give you back a pile of money!  Weird huh?

Hockey is NOT the Cana'jun national sport, at least not the ONLY national sport.  For years Lacrosse was.  Problem is nobody knew how to play Lacrosse let alone spell it, so in 1994 they decided there would be two national sports.  Hockey would be the Winter national sport, and is played in the Winter.  Lacrosse would be the Summer national sport and is played in the... ummmm... Spring, which in Canada is from July 31 to August 3.  So much for Lacrosse !!!

Most stores in Canada are just like the ones in the States except for one thing...  

Did he just say they have stores that only sell beer in Canada?  


In Toronto... or Tronna, as it's properly pronounced by natives.. there are lots and lots of stores called the "Brewer's Retail".  Years ago the major brewers in Canada cut a deal with the government to control all sales of beer themselves, thereby insuring that there would be plenty of "Blue" available to quench the thirst of every person above the age of 19 in the country.  That's the theory anyway.  Tell you what...  stop by a Brewer's Retail when Hockey Night In Canada is on.  HAH... good freakin' luck!!!

Which brings me to the final idiosyncrasy of life in Canada, they LOVE Don Cherry!  Don Cherry is a commentator on Hockey Night In Canada, and does the Coach's Corner show.  That's well and good, but what's especially endearing to Cana'juns about Don Cherry is his wardrobe.  He wears the most outrageous get ups since Rupaul, and has no excuse for it... he's definitely NOT a drag queen!!   A former player and coach, he played in one professional game in 1955 where he was tragically hit on the head with a puck, and he's been dressing that way ever since.

 That's about all I can think of that's different in Canada

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