Canada is invading the United States. But before I get to that, I need to tell you about Leo MacDonald, Head Sales Honcho for HarperCanada, and his career in law enforcement. When he was very young and foolish Leo flew to Hay River to see a woman who had been or was his girlfriend. Hay River is located in Canada’s Northwest Territories and was Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’s hometown. When Leo got there he discovered that his sort-of girlfriend had a boyfriend. And not just any boyfriend—this guy was a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. That’s right. This woman was dating Dudley Do Right. A Mountie.
Which meant Leo was trapped in a town not far from the North Pole with nothing to do, if you catch my drift. So, being a responsible and broke lad, he got himself a job. It was an interesting job. He was paid to sit in the back of a four-seater prop-plane handcuffed to an inebriated prisoner while the plane flew from Hay River to Whitehorse in the Yukon, which is over near Russia and Sarah “Goin’ Rogue” Palin. (I have a cousin in Whitehorse, Don Mark, who was the first man to keep a beehive alive through a Yukon winter.) The pilot and a Mountie (not the boyfriend) sat in the plane’s two front seats. Leo was paid $25 for this duty. I have no idea why he switched careers and went into publishing.
But to get back to Canada invading the United States: I am here in beautiful Montreal for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, a group of academics who are dedicated, in short, to emerging methodologies (for example, intellectual movements, multiple theological and religious perspectives, and ethical/social/political contexts) given to the conceptual tools therein employed in all aspects of the contemporary context of cross-traditional and cross-cultural inquiry in critical reflection (i.e. those that emerge from poststructuralism).
I’ve spent a lot of the time here with Canadians, who are, frankly, very nice people. And that is why I was shocked to discover that our neighbors to the north have designs on our nation. That’s right—Canada is plotting to take over the United States.
The first evidence I got of this came from Mike Mason, a HarperCanada sales rep who chillingly informed me that Tim Hortons, Canada’s answer to Starbucks, was making a move on the northern United States. I might have thought Mike was pulling my leg until I saw the evidence right there on the Tim Hortons website, which says there are more than 500 Tim Hortons restaurants in the United States. Mark “the Publisher” Tauber of HarperOne told me he has Canadian friends who boast about Tim Hortons and their designs on the states. “They’re coming,” they say, confidently. And that’s not all—there are all those Canadian artists who’ve come to the US, taking over vital industries like pop music and comedy: William Shatner, Terrance & Phillip, and Wolverine, to name just a few.
The writing is on the wall. It is only a matter of time before we become the 11th province of Canada. And maybe that is just as well. As far as I can tell, Canadians do a lot of things better than we do. When Mark and I were at a diplomatic dinner with Leo and Mike, I stupidly mentioned that I had heard some Canadians were taught the names of the fifty US states and their capitols. Mike and Leo proceeded to demolish Mark and me in an impromptu parlor game in which we attempted to name them all. But the really embarrassing thing was when they asked us to name Canada’s national capitol. Maybe we were tired, or maybe Americans are just self-absorbed idiots. At any rate, Mark and I failed to name Canada’s capitol (it is Hay River).
So maybe it’s a good thing that Canada is going to take us over one Tim Hortons café at a time. We’ll get good, affordable public education and a healthcare system. Not bad, eh?