Talking to a 14-year-old about Canadians and Americans

Girl: There’s this boy in my class. He’s SUCH a jerk!  All he talks about it how great it is in America and how lousy Canada is.  He even said he was going to do a class report on how much better the USA is than Canada.

Me: He must have been joking about that part.

I guess so.

–Does he know you’re also Canadian?

Of course!

–He’s just trying to get a rise out of you.

I know.

–Has he even been to the States?

Probably.  Yeah, I think they went to Florida on vacation.

–Florida!  They probably saw more Canadians there than Americans.  They all come down to escape the winter.

Girl laughs.

–You know, when I was a kid in Britannia Beach we had American families living among us.  The mine was owned by Americans.  Some of their kids would brag to us all the time about how great it was down in the States.  We used to roll our eyes every time and then talk about them later.

Laughs again.

–Americans are always shooting their mouths off about something, but Canadians don’t like it when people brag.  Actually, it used to be that way, but now I’m not so sure.  Last time I was in British Columbia I noticed how they now put The Best Place on Earth as a slogan on their license plates.   Canadians always used to be so modest, and now they’re trying to tell everyone that BC’s the best place on earth?   I mean, when you know you’ve got something special, you don’t go around bragging about it.  That’s the way we grew up, anyway.

14 Responses to “Talking to a 14-year-old about Canadians and Americans”

  1. May 24, 2011 at 10:25 am

    The problem with Canadians is that they are entirely too modest in expressing how awesome their country is. “The Best Place on Earth” is an apt description of Vancouver, IMHO.

    Wyoming’s slogan is even more impressive: “Like no place on earth” — It’s rather otherworldly there…

    • May 24, 2011 at 11:39 am

      When I hear The Best Place on Earth I think: for what? Certainly not for viewing elephants in the wild. You could also say that New York is the best place, or London, or Calcutta… it depends what you’re looking for.
      It just seems arrogant to me to bill yourself as the best in the world, period.

  2. May 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    😆 Maybe they hired an American company to come up with their slogans.😆

    But you’re right, Ian, to expect a slogan to be true. Best Place on Earth for Recovering from a Recession isn’t nearly as sexy though.

  3. May 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Sounds like Canada’s got a lot in common with Minnesota – or Iowa, for that matter. Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Companion are hysterically funny to some of us because he so perfectly captures what we grew up with. “Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery”, for example – a perfect expression of midwestern modesty.

  4. May 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    I loved this post. Among most obnoxious tourists we have ever experienced here are without doubt Americans. We Canadians are modest and we are also intelligent enough to know that those who brag are insecure people who fall into wither the category of being profoundly ignorant ie. lacking in knowledge or profoundly stupid. Theres a cure for the former but not the latter.

  5. May 28, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Either some Canadians are aware how lucky they are to be living in certain areas of Canada and boast maybe once or twice then shut up. Or they really are modest or take for granted just how good they have it..ie. peaceful country (meaning no war), some beautiful areas, wilderness, etc.

  6. May 29, 2011 at 2:01 am

    I find that to consider somewhere the best place in the world normally seems to come from that sort of sad nationalism that bespeaks of a lack of experience of the world outside that place – you need to have at least seen some of the rest of the world if you’re going to bandy about those kind of absolutes. BC is beautiful though, I’d love to go back there some day – it’s the best place in my world.

  7. May 29, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I thought New Zealand was “the best place on earth”. Then I remember why I haven’t lived there for over 30 years

  8. May 30, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    For us @Ian

    When I hear The Best Place on Earth I think: for what?

    I’m with you on that. The best place on Earth is entirely subjective. For me the best place on Earth to live has always been on the west coast and in the gulf islands. My husband and I met and married on the prairies. He had traveled all of Canada and loved the east coast but had never been to Vancouver Island and the gulf islands.

    When he had a chance to travel out here he came back with stars in his eyes. There was no doubt about it we had arrived at the same conclusion so we packed up and moved. This shocked everyone we knew.

    What? You are tossing high paid government jobs with pensions out the window and going to live in the hippie islands! Yes, that’s exactly what we did over 30 years ago. We adapted to a minimalist lifestyle, renovated one home on a small acreage, bought a large acreage, and built our home and our business with out own hands.

    So here we are in the best place on Earth for us but we never brag as our fingers are crossed against more people doing what we did. The more of us there are the greater the impact will be on the environment, and we want what’s largely unspoiled to be passed on to the next generation that grows up here. On that note I might add that the kids of our friends who moved away to complete their educations by and large did not return. However, a small number did come back after they married, including our god children.The reasons why they came back were:
    we loved our childhood in the islands and want the same for our kids;
    it’s beautiful;
    it’s safe;
    the culture is rich;
    i’s a great place eccentrics who want to live a very simple life and love living every minute of it.

  9. 12 indeterminacy
    June 6, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I’m afraid if you write a paper today declaring why USA is better than Canada you would have to be very careful not to make it sound like satire.

    But I have wonderful memories of the good old days in Ohio, listening to the Northern Quebec Service of the CBC on shortwave, laughing at their broadcasts of Royal Canadian Air Farce and the airplay they gave Tom Lehrer – which I never once heard on a US station.
    Staying up late to watch SCTV which always came on 1AM, right after Saturday Night Live.
    Later when I moved to upstate New York, going to the bagel shop for breakfast, always getting the salt bagel with scrambled eggs and Canadian bacon.
    A friend of ours at work was a hobby pilot and would fly to Canada and return with Canadian beer. He wouldn’t buy anything else.

    Otherwise I don’t know much about Canada. They are pretty much keeping it a secret.

  10. August 22, 2011 at 7:05 am

    The American right wing hasn’t changed much. The anger issues some of them display! There’s dribble all over that chin.

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