We make jokes about America's Hat around here all the time, but I really don't know what to expect when I get there. I'll be in Vancouver, one of the civilized areas (or as civilized as Canada gets anyway) and I'll have the inestimable Replica to serve as my guide/sherpa. She can probably keep me from getting mauled by the natives but I'll still have lots of time alone and when I have to interact with these sad victims of nature's cruelty.
My physician said I didn't need shots, but I'm not at all sure I believe her. Are Canadians friendly? I've heard many are feral. A co-worker said that when confronting a Canadian, I should make myself big and back away slowly without making eye contact lest they take that as a challenge.
I've been to the Land of Beiber once before. Sort of. I spent the day in Montreal, which is kind of like Austin is to Texas: Far more sophisticated than the surrounding environs and they would really prefer that you didn't mention that they're part of the rest of the state/country.
I know "SCTV" was hilarious. I know the McKenzie Brothers are two of the greatest Canadians in history and "Trailer Park Boys" is the best exploration of daily Canadian life ever produced. I know they love bacon and moose and the "hoc-key" and something called poutine, but I'm not really familiar with the Great White North. Do they employ hygiene? Will my brown skin and lack of hockey hair confuse and anger them? I've been told many of the women wear eyepatches but that can't possibly be true, can it?
What do I do if I encounter a yeti?
I should probably know more about Canadia - that's the one with the maple leaf during the Olympics, right? - but, really. It's a vast, windswept wasteland. It's Texas minus 60 degrees. Fifty degrees FARENHEIT, which is the way God intended to measure temperature. Damned Celsius fundamentalist Communist fundamentalists.
At least they have football, so I know the country isn't completely barren of culture. Of course, it's a bizarre bastardization of the game with 120-yard fields and 12 men per side (but not in Saskatchewan, right, Bobby?) but I'm sure I can bond with the natives over a shared love of sport. I mean, heck, my little brother was in camp with the Montreal Alouettes over the summer. Unfortunately, he was at a disadvantage compared to the Canadian players because he only has 10 toes and so didn't make the squad.
Oh, and I understand the natives are big fans of beer. As an adopted son of a city with a long and illustrious brewing tradition, and the home the oldest brewery in the United States, I can surely connect with these bearded frost trolls over a shared interest in the suds. Why, Benjamin Franklin, arguably the greatest Philadelphian (it would have been Brian Dawkins but he betrayed us) once said, "Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy." With a few pints of Labatts, Steel Reserve and the greatest of all Canadian beers, Moslon, I'm sure they'll think of me as just another local. Sure, I have both ears and I don't say "aboot" but I bet they won't hold that against me once I buy a round or two.
But if anyone - anthropologists, circus trainers, zoologists - who has experience dealing with Canadians in their native habit wants to share some advice, I'm all ears. I'd hate for a Canadian female to misread my intentions and lay her eggs in my chest.
Jason Harris has armed himself with a whip and a revolver for his trip. If he insists that you call him "Indiana," just ignore him.