Posts Tagged ‘how was i not able to use ‘america’s hat’ anywhere in this post’

faith in nothing.

8 March 2010

i recently saw a new commercial for canada dry ginger ale in which the announcer intones that it might surprise us to learn that the drink is made from real ginger. this perceived revelation struck me for two reasons:

1. why wouldn’t we expect ginger to be an ingredient in ginger ale? coca cola doesn’t have to come out and say that their beverage is derived from kola nuts. however, i would honestly be amazed if, say, mountain dew revealed that they undertake a painstaking process of collecting tiny drops of moisture on everest or that sprite was made from pixies or 7up from schoolchildren who put their heads on their desks while lifting an arm.

2. is this a selling point for some people? i cannot see a man looking over at his wife at the grocery store and saying, hey, do you remember that pop with real ginger in it? the kids have been talking about it nonstop; you know it’s their favorite reed-like plant.

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my year as a bronze god.

15 March 2009

the difference between the way the united states and canada each view nationalism has always puzzled me. growing up in canada i was accustomed to seeing the iconic maple leaf everywhere — incorporated into the logos of fast food chains like mcdonalds and pizza hut, tattooed on people’s arms, in the trees.

in the united states that connection to home is not as innate. patriotism often comes as a knee-jerk reaction to a world or local event, to be seen only on american independence day or following a terrorist attack. then signs will start appearing on lawns, proclaiming the great nation, susceptible to nothing. it’s so transitory (certainly there’s a difference between wearing a t-shirt that reads, these colors don’t run, a couple of times a year and inserting colored pigments into punctured skin to create permanent patterns) and somewhat fabricated.

perhaps it’s the northern country’s underdog spirit that gives its citizens an authentic sense of community. there’s something in our blood, especially after we move away maybe, that forms affinities to actors and bands simply because we possess a shared homeland. i cannot explain fully why i instantly fell in love (i mean, more or less; work with me) with avril lavigne’s music upon first viewing her video for complicated, weeks before i knew she was born in ontario. or why the presence of sarah polley increased my appreciation for the sweet hereafter (a legitimately great film) and go (likely underrated but in no way a legitimately great film). why is it that i feel the need to comment when one’s nationality matches my own, like continuously mentioning how ryan gosling and i are brethren?

the only thing i can come up with — and i understand that this is far-fetched, not to mention a bit scary that i actually believe this — is that there exists a current that keeps us in tune with each other’s movements and empathetic to each other’s struggles to succeed in a country smaller than our own, but more populous and — we may as well admit it — more important.

i’ve lived in the southeastern united states for over two decades. obviously the area has influenced me quite a bit, but it remains at arm’s length. at the same time, my birth country is distant to me, as if covered in gauze.

a little over a year ago i began a campaign to connect further with my adopted terrain by visiting a tanning bed two times a week on average. i’ve since ended that misguided attempt, my skin returning to its previous northern light. for a little while though my stomach was a few shades darker. i’m not entirely certain why this part of my body darkened more easily, but i’m sure there is evidence of fat tanning quicker but i’m unwilling to discover that truth.

rather than bringing me closer to this place though, it robbed me of thirty dollars a month, and i still, from time to time, was met with the you’re-not-from-around-here vibe, which wasn’t leavened by my compulsion to repeatedly listen to one great city! (about winnipeg, manitoba) by the weakerthans or sing alanis morissette songs at karaoke night.

it’s my destiny, then, to remain a stranger in a strange land, wherever i happen to be, detached from everything and thus able to comment unbiasedly. it’s also my destiny — or perhaps my birthright — to blind everyone that looks directly at me, sort of like the sun or a greek god.

thickening sheets of ice.

2 January 2009

being canadian by birth (and somehow still by citizenship), i pretend i share more characteristics with those that have spent greater than nine years in the country. that is, at times i act like i am impervious to cold, understand the use of brooms in curling, pour maple syrup on everything, and domesticated a beaver once.

i don’t wish to refute any of these things though. in fact, i want to propagate still another stereotype, i was born wearing a pair of skates. this is how gestation works in canada: women have reinforced wombs, lined, like ice rinks, with boards displaying corporate logos; amniotic fluid is more of an amniotic, um, solid, slippery as ice, on which fetuses glide; doctors sometimes suffer nasty gashes from dreaded feet-first births; children sever their own damn umbilical cords.

my return to the frozen pond after a multiple-year absence was slightly incongruent with these facts, as i advanced bambi-legged onto the ice. slowly i recovered, holding thumper’s hand and traveling around the rink, often with a stutter-step gait. i kept declining to leave her side and skate with the others, lying that i was worried about her falling, when, in actuality, she, nose pink from the cold, was necessary for keeping me erect. we stopped, our hands resting on the dasher, and took turns spinning. i thought about my injury in grade three when ten stitches were needed to close a gash in my chin after performing a similar routine.

at one point, as if discovering buried treasure, she remarked, it’s all in the butt, and gained speed. i, too, steadily improved, thinking that, while my skills weren’t returning to me like riding a bike, perhaps they were like riding a bike on ice. before the end of the night, i did a few laps on my own, wind gently tousling my hair, and the true north again both strong and free.

aside: i realize that i’ve made reference in the preceding paragraphs to a disney deer. please don’t think his biography, specifically the death of his mother, still vibrant with youth, is lost on me. i will continue fleeing the destruction caused by man throughout my life. also, please note that when i’m invited to speak at a disney convention, i don’t want any questions about faline, some of whose characteristics i’ve misappropriated as belonging to thumper.


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