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Look And Feel Canadian … Instantly

June 26, 2010

When I was a boy, growing up on a hardscrabble farm in rural Turkmenazakstan, I dreamed of three things. The first was to have a pair of proper shoes, not sandals made from used condoms and old bicycle tires. The second was to eat something other than robins, but unfortunately, we were robin farmers, so that was our lot in life. The third dream, though, was the biggest: to go to a magical land populated by The World’s Finest People, a far-off place more wonderful than Narnia, Oz or even Hobbiton …

I wanted to be Canadian.

But Canada has blocked immigration from Turkmenazakstan ever since the unfortunate urine-in-the-water-bottles at the 1980 Olympics. We tried to explain that this is our traditional way of boosting our immune system, and we had no way of knowing the Canadian women’s balance beam team would accidentally grab our cooler, but Canadian authorities wouldn’t listen, and we were blacklisted.

I was offered a chance to emigrate to America, but it would have meant living in Florida, so I said no, and went back to the robin farm.

And then, one fateful day, I was sent to the city of Kyzmyvakanaz to purchase our annual bag of flour and stick of goat butter when a street vendor’s wares caught my eye. After I looked at the American magazines like Hustler, Playboy, Penthouse, and Poo Poo Pumpers, and briefly reconsidered my earlier decision to say no to moving to America, a lone packet on the top shelf of his cart caught my eye:

I had to have it … it even said, right on the package, As Used By Some Of The World’s Finest People! Knowing I would receive a sound whipping for not buying the flour and butter, I gave over our family’s money to purchase this magical formula. I have no regrets about that; the 6,565 vlatyulintz (about a dollar fifty Canadian) we had saved all year turned out to be worth sacrificing for my future.

Within an hour of blasting my mouth with this cool, refreshing spray, I started to feel strange. I began saying “excuse me,” “please,” and “no, you go ahead and take the last one” to everyone I met. They couldn’t understand me, because I was speaking Canadian, which is sort of like English, eh.

Later that night, as I lay in my cot in the robin coop, I heard a loud sound outside, and saw flashing lights in the sky. I dashed outside and watched, amazed, as a helicopter hovered, then landed, behind the outhouse. Its door opened, and a man stepped out.

“Kyngragoly Grindooni?” he said.

“That is I,” said me.

“No longer,” said he. “You are now a Canadian, and you shall have a Canadian name. Come with me; we’re having pancakes.”

The next day, I saw my first hockey game. And it was all due to Look And Feel Canadian … Instantly and, of course, that amazing Canadian, the magical man who delivered me into my new life. I’ll never forget you, Doug Henning.

Being Canadian has turned out to be better than I could have hoped. I have a socialized health care plan and a place that makes BlackBerries. The coffee is quite good and usually warm. We are blessed with an excellent music scene, compelling independent filmmaking, some of the best writers in the world, and most American TV channels. I love being Canadian.

I do get homesick sometimes, which is what led me to invent robin bacon. Mmmmm.

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