Sunday, 22 October 2006 20:00
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The Ignorant American

Hello Canada,

I’m one those well-intentioned, friendly buffoons from south of the border who knows far too little about you and is somewhat appalled at that fact. Ask the average citizen of the U.S.A. what Canadians do for a living and visions of lumberjacks and RCMP’s might flash through their heads before they say, “I dunno.” In fact, the only thing most of us know about Canada is that it’s cold up there.

Our schools teach us nothing about you. Our press rarely mentions your existence. You remain largely invisible to us.

And why? Because you are the perfect neighbor--civil, quiet, polite, clean and in every way totally unobtrusive. We ignore you because we are ignorant of you. You do not bring yourselves to our attention and are to be congratulated on demonstrating such good sense.

We have a saying down here that goes, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” and as neighboring countries go, Mexico is definitely our squeaky wheel. You, by contrast, are the wheel that if it ever issues a complaint, does so in such reasoned terms we feel free to pay no attention. Bless you for that.

In my 56 years I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting your country once, during the Queen’s silver jubilee. Victoria is such a beautiful and elegant city. My experiences and encounters with Canadians there engendered a warmth of regard that remains to this day. Someday soon I shall return to Canada, perhaps this time to Quebec, (I’m curious as to why they want to be French--their fellow Canadians aren’t rude enough for them?)

Anyhow, that’s about it from this ignorant American. I just wanted to explain how very little the average American knows about you and congratulate you on keeping such a low profile. If we knew how nice it was in Canada you’d probably have the same problems with us that we have with Mexico.

Now, please don’t think I’m knocking the USA. I love my country. Most of the people here are kind and opportunities for self-improvement abound. It’s just that most of us are woefully ill-informed about anything and anyone outside our own borders and that includes you.

Ray White is a happily married, freelance writer living in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He enjoys reading, writing (especially novels), and thrill rides.



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