American Sophist in Canada

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I really should not be let out of the house unattended. Part of the issue is that I so rarely interact with people who do not intimately know and love me that I forget – while basking in their love and understanding of my undeniably quirky way of looking at life – that the things I say, the things I laugh at, the things I just think and allow to tumble out of my mouth with no filter to sift out the odder and nonsensical meanings – those things may just not be socially acceptable.

It is as if I am Jaberwocky, come to life.

A meaning unto myself, ascribed characteristics and qualities that I do not define – but absorb, per the viewer.

Here are a few of the latest samples:

“Old Yeller? He had rabies! Of course they had to shoot him!”

“Will you be paying for a single pet cremation? I didn't. It was like an extra 300 bucks. I was 24. 300 bucks was a lot of drinking – so I think I have most of my own pet, but it's possible that other pets are mixed in there too.”

“My cat – the one whose ashes I have in my closet...Yeah, he looks down at me and laughs everyday when he sees the devil spawn I produced.”

I have rendered my new colleagues speechless. And perhaps offended. And often a bit horrified.

Oh, and attempted jokes about my Computer's “Slave name” of “dawn's computer” versus DF32G72 bring NO laughs in Canada. Especially when paired with an explanation of the whole rejection of “last names” as a part of the Black Muslim experience. Really kills the joke.


A few months have passed and while my new colleagues seem to be tolerating me a bit better, I still have the uniquely Un-Canadian ability to step over the line of propriety. They are a wholly polite people.

When being teased about being American, an episode of Rick Mercer was discussed. For non-Canadians, Rick Mercer is the Northern equivalent of Jon Stewart. He produced a television special a few years ago designed to make Americans look ridiculous - something we hardly need assistance with on a good day. There are copious shots of Americans signing petitions to stop the "Canadian tradition of setting their elderly on ice drifts and sending them out to sea", or congratulating Canada for getting the 24 hour clock. It IS funny, in a "Dear God, Americans know almost nothing about what goes on right next to them" kind of way.

So, after they were all done laughing at the silly Americans, one hearty fellow asked,
"Well Dawn, I suppose you must think the same kinds of things about Canadians"

and I responded - deadpan and serious, "Actually we don't think about them at all" - which wasn't meant to be as funny as it ended up being.

7 Baleful Regards:

Karen Bodkin said...

Ha ha ha...well I thought it was funny, but I'm odd and inappropriate quite often, eh?

I love hearing your perspective.

Anonymous said...

Is it wrong that I see nothing inappropriate about any of the things you've said?

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you on that bad social joke thing. I tend to offend other Americans. Since I am one, I don't even have the opportunity to question cultural differences. I'm offending the people who are supposed to "get" me.

Oh well. I amuse myself, most of the time, so really, the joke's on them.


Mitzi Green said...

canada...home of kd lang and "degrassi." oh, and the mckenzie brothers. and brian adams. and chris jericho, the former wrestler who appears on myriad vh1 specials.

okay, so, maybe i do think about canada...

Anonymous said...

Sign me up with the "What was wrong with those comments?" squad. Of course knowing "where" you came from," it all seems quite normal to me! We should have a tattoo on our foreheads that reads: "Opens mouth, inserts foot on a fairly regular basis."

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! I have a big fat sloppy mouth, too, that doesn't always seem to be connected very well to the inhibitory parts of my brain. I figure it is good to rock people's worlds a little now and then. Or at least severely disturb them.


E. said...

Personally, I'd hear the line about pet cremation and instantly want to befriend such a sensible soul. I love my cats, but I still would not pay an extra $300 to have either of them burned individually. That's a plane ticket, motherfucker!

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