Yesterday, in part one of this blogpost, you heard about some of the things that are a dead giveaway to me being a tried and true Canadian. Today, you’ll hear about the ‘darker’ or more unpatriotic sides of me. Already, I find my heart rate increasing since I usually don’t share this kind of list out loud around here for fear of being mocked relentlessly. Worse yet, my reveals could put me at risk of losing my citizenship and birthrights to the land of the maple leaf. Okay, so it wouldn’t be anything THAT extreme given that we are a rather friendly nation, but you get my point, eh?!
Let’s talk hockey. Unlike many who live here, I hate it! No mincing words obviously. (Except for when my nephew plays, but that’s only because he’s the one under the helmet.) I’ve had a disdain for hockey from the time I was little. Back then, it got on my last nerve mostly because my dad watched it religiously and the rest of us were stuck tuning in as a result. Remember my childhood was back in the days of pre-streaming options such as Netflix, Crave and Oxygen. Heck, those early, early days were the ones before VCR’s even (today’s PVR equivalent) when colour TV’s with remote controls were considered a luxury, as was a second TV of any kind in the house. The lone TV that we had in our family room was unfortunately either spewing out the news, which I also dislike, or sports. Both programs took up way too much air time in my books and both made no sense to me—the news was always the SAME negative spin on things. In the case of sports or hockey specifically, it was, and is, mind-blowing to me that a bunch of grown men get paid millions of dollars a year chasing after a rubber puck. Compare that to say, Emergency Responders, such as EMT’s or ambulance attendants who literally save lives, yet average a mean (make that measly) salary of $57 000/yr at best. The notion of such disparity disgusts me quite frankly. Sadly, it also speaks volumes about what our society values. Some of our priorities are very shallow when it comes down to it. Maybe I sensed that as a youngster or maybe it was simply an inconvenience of my TV watching time back then? Regardless, there is truth in what I am saying if you stop and think about it. I get that entertainment has its place in life, but it is NOT worth the supposed worth that people attach to it. At all. Sports are games. Plain and simple, and hockey is JUST one of those games intended to entertain. Admittedly, it’s unique in that it’s played with skates and a small, black disc as the focal point, but how it became synonymous with life here in Canada, I will never know. While it was likely something to help pass the endless, cold, wintry days, its overall importance is lost on me. No ‘offence’ (or is it offense?😉) intended to those who enjoy it. It’s just clearly not my thing and never will be.
Tim Horton’s. Many of you have likely heard the name of our infamous coffee and doughnut franchise before, especially if you’ve ever visited our parts. Ironically, it’s also associated with hockey life, and probably the reason it’s on my list of ‘un-Canadiana’. Its familiar red-disc’d sign (maybe I have a subconscious aversion to disc-like objects?!) resides on practically every street corner around. Tim’s or Timmy’s, as it is more widely known, is the Canadianized version of Starbucks, if you will. However, it is considerably cheaper as is the taste of many of its products—not that I care much for Starbucks’ inflated menu items either. I know, sorry. (See, I’m apologizing in true, northerly style.). As a matter of fact, the only coffee place I really frequent is the Canadian owned and operated, Second Cup Coffee Company which you likely haven’t heard of. The taste of their java is far superior to the aforementioned coffeehouses, as is the 100% Kona coffees that I special order from the Big Island of Hawaii. My opinion, of course. While I have admittedly drank a coffee or two over the years from Tim’s, it’s more so because friends have wanted to meet up there and I’ve obliged. Suffice it to say, that if my Hawaiian dream to live amongst the sea salt waters and great palms were to come true, I would not miss hockey or Tim Horton’s or… poutine.
Poutine. One of our signature, artery-clogging foods consisting of french fries (chips to the UK folks), gravy and chunks of cheese. Have I actually tried it? Good question since many times you’ll hear folks proclaim their vehement dislike of something prior to even giving it a go. Naturally, I only know this because I’ve been guilty of dissing things here or there before without ever giving them a chance. In my defence though, when it comes to experimenting with foods for example, we do taste with our eyes and nose first, don’t we? To answer the earlier question of ‘have I actually tried poutine?’—yes, I have tried the popular Quebecois fare. Albeit, I’ve only eaten it once, but to be honest, it’s one of those dishes that turns me off just by appearances. Enjoying a few french fries with some true Heinz ketchup (a must!) is one thing, adding gravy is another; multiply it with large curds of cheese which I will happily consume singularly, and the whole notion of the threesome makes me squeamish. Usually piled together on an unusually large plate, the combination of ingredients not only looks fatty, greasy and unappealing—it smells it as well. Granted, my poutine experience is limited and as such, I may well be missing out on the next best thing since sliced bread, but I’m okay with that. Speaking of which, I’d much rather butter a piece of sliced bread and inhale its doughy goodness before giving the Canadian fry/gravy/cheese combo another try. Sorry, poutine lovers!
Maple Syrup. Aside from baking with it, I really don’t care for maple syrup on its own or as an accompaniment. Growing up, we only had the fake Aunt Jemima kind (aka high-fructose corn syrup), but I’ve since had more authentic versions, and they don’t exactly do it for me. Most people LOVE pancakes and syrup. Now pancakes, especially banana cakes, are one of my personal favourites, but they either get topped with plain old butter or a generous spoonful of my mom’s delectable Saskatoon jam; Saskatoon berries being another well-known Canadian fare. Occasionally, I will dip a forkful of pancake into a bit of the sweet-tasting maple-y stickiness, but slathering it on my plate of food? No, thanks. Perhaps another underlying issue for me is that I don’t like my meals being coated by a substance—true of poutine and the common uses of syrup. In fact, a quick meta-analysis might well attribute my not-so-typical Canadian tendencies to some deep-seated childhood fears/challenges, as is the case with most afflictions we human beings possess regardless of our homeland. There’s always a reason, isn’t there?!
Well, kind WordPress and email followers who’ve made it through part two of all of this nonsense, thanks for tuning into something other than the news or sports. At that, I will bid a fine farewell for now from atop my True North recliner and beneath my Beauty-rest heated blanket on this ridiculously windy, cool, rainy day in May. Not that I am complaining about the weather or anything. 😂. Now that I am done writing, I wonder what’s on TV… oh yeah, hockey. Again. Time for coffee, instead. Notice I said ‘time’ for coffee and not ‘Tim’s’ for coffee.😉