Originally Posted: 2007-05-24 09:23

An open letter to the Anaheimer who posted on Ottawa R&R

Dear Anaheim resident who posted on Ottawa.craigslist in Rants and Raves,

Re: your posting entitled "hockey?"

Thank you soooo much for your lovely posting about the upcoming Ducks/Sens finals. Your instincts are spot on, of course, for Canadians love to be belittled by Americans not only with respect to our national pastime but on the grounds of our mere existence as well!

It was so considerate of you to get up on your Southern California soapbox in an attempt to inform your poor, deprived, igloo-dwelling neighbours to the North about things we’ve never known. In particular I think we really appreciated learning that hockey has never even been on your radar because of the “…plethora of choices regarding how to fill free time…there are sports, such as baseball, or basketball.” Well, whaddya know! For a few decades there I think we really believed that hockey was itself a sport; we can’t thank you enough for pointing out the error of our ways. I mean, ninety years of professional-level competition in North America, people for whom the game is a full-time job, a standard set of rules by which one must play, a nine-month NHL playing season in which there are televised matches every week, multi-million-dollar contracts for boys in men’s bodies, organized leagues for kids, adults and seniors – male and female – across Canada, the US and Europe… oh yes, and the men’s and women’s teams at the winter Olympics, the mother of all sporting competitions. Clearly nothing about hockey qualifies it as a sport, and it’s simply that we Canadians have been mistaken these past 150-odd years. Thanks to you, Anaheimer, we will all start watching real sports from now on. I’m sure you’ll have a list of stellar recommendations like NASCAR and WWE.

Of course, with the abundance of outdoor things to do in sunny SoCal, such as “…mountains to hike or ride a bicycle in [and] the gorgeous pacific ocean to swim in or sun ourselves beside.” Well – Canada certainly has no mountains. I mean, the Rockies definitely don’t extend into Alberta or British Columbia, and the Appalachians haven’t dominated the northern Québec landscape for the past umpteen millennia. There’s certainly no thought of hiking or biking through these nonexistent mountains. We wouldn’t dream of going hiking in our snowshoes, and we’ve never even heard of this bicycle you mentioned – does it work like a dogsled team, but with the dogs pulling a two-wheeled sled? And swimming? Forget swimming, I’m sure no one in Canada has ever even thought about this ocean of which you speak, especially not any of the 3 million people living in the greater Vancouver and greater Victoria metro areas. Now granted Ottawa isn’t even remotely near the Pacific, but even still, there’s no way you’d catch anyone from this city swimming in or taking the sun by the Ottawa River, the St. Lawrence, Lake Ontario, or any of the hundreds of other body of water in a hundred-kilometre radius. I mean, what would we be thinking – swimming, in the outdoors, in late May, in Canada? Nonsense, we’re still in our parkas!

But what has really impressed us, Anaheimer, is actually not the way in which you so joyfully condescend towards us about sports and leisure. Although we’re eternally grateful for all that your posting has taught us about the great outdoors, that’s not what impresses us most. Nor did our jaws drop at your unequivocal prediction about two teams and a game you self-professedly “…don’t know shit about.” Rather, we are fully in awe over your ability to honestly and unapologetically be forthcoming about your own ignorance:

“[A]lso, since we're being open and honest here, until about 12 hours ago i'd never even heard of ottowa [sic].”

Wow, Anaheimer – we can only imagine how much courage and strength of character that kind of declaration required. How admirable! I mean, to tell the world that you’d never even heard of Ottawa! That takes guts. Of course, I’m sure in your case the ignorance you profess is forgivable. After all, there’s certainly no reason for Ottawa to appear on your radar. As Canada’s fourth-largest city, host of a half-dozen of internationally-acclaimed festivals such as Winterlude and BluesFest, and the seat of the Canadian federal government and the Supreme Court, not to mention its location just 95km north of a U.S. border and its job as this year’s host to the FIFA U-20 World Cup (oh wait, maybe football, or soccer as you call it, isn’t a sport either?), there’s simply no reason you should ever have heard of Ottawa. I can understand completely how Ottawa could fail to catch your attention in the recent past. I mean, really, our annual murder rate of under 40 victims in a city of 1.5 million is too low to draw attention to the city. And it’s not like anything controversial ever happens here – the permissive marijuana laws we enjoy, our legalization of gay marriage, our outspoken disapproval of the invasion of Iraq, and the extremely antagonistic relationship between your quick-witted, upstanding, brilliant president and our human-rights supporting, left-leaning, multilingual former Prime Minister Chrétien, all of which came out of Ottawa, certainly did not garner the attention of fair and unbiased American news sources such as FoxNews or CNN. Oh and by the way, your consistent misspelling Ottawa in your post is a brilliantly effective way of driving your point home. Excellent tactic.

So thank you, Anaheimer, for reminding those of us in Ottawa, and Canadians in general, of how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things. Now that we know that Southern California’s offerings in terms of the great outdoors are vastly superior to the paltry oceans, forests, lakes, mountains, ski hills, hiking trails, white water rapids, national parks, waterfalls and wildlife reserves that are within a short distance of Ottawa, we’ve realized the errors of our ways. Perhaps if we were to model ourselves after you by doing such things as swimming when it’s warm, cycling (whatever that means) to get to work, playing sports or “laying out” (translation for Canadians: this is American-speak for what is grammatically correctly referred to as "taking the sun," "tanning," or "voluntarily inducing skin cancer") the average Joe could really learn to appreciate, treasure and preserve all of the pleasures of the outdoors. And you know, we could learn a thing or two from people like you about how to acknowledge, respect and learn from people of other nations and cultures. Although it would mean that we would have to forget everything we’ve ever learned about current affairs and geography, unquestioningly assume that if it didn’t originate in America it’s not worth our time, proclaim our superior certainty on subjects we’re certain only that we know nothing about, and unabashedly profess our ignorance of basic general knowledge for the whole world to hear, well then tabarnac les amies et amis, we’d certainly be better off doing so if it meant we could be more like you.

I mean, after all, what Canadian wouldn’t want everyone else on the planet to think we’re a bunch of self-righteous, ignorant fucks?

Yours truly,

Woman from Montréal who Doesn’t Give a Shit About Hockey

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