It’s easy to poke fun at America. When you’re the biggest and the best it’s kind of a given that you have a target on your back. Most Americans I know acknowledge that is part and parcel of being American. I know a thing or two about being the biggest and the best. I’m from Canada, the large country depicted below:
Not only am I from Canada, I’m from Ontario, the America of Canada (The good parts of America. The rest of America is covered by Alberta). As you can see above, Ontario is the centre of the whole freaking universe. Ontario is to Canada as America is to the world. We’re the economic powerhouse, simply the best. And not only am I from Ontario, I’m from Ontario’s largest city, Toronto. Here is the country according to a Torontonian:
All this is meant to introduce the fact that it’s okay for me to make fun, because as a Torontonian, I feel America’s pain, and because I feel America’s pain it’s okay for me to have a bit of fun at her expense.
I would like to devote this post to something America is very good at: WAR! Specifically, the War on Terror* and the War on Drugs. That’s right. America is so good at war that, in addition to its actual military presence across the globe, it now fights concepts. Seriously, America. Never has a nation waged so many wars at once. You keep so many balls in the air where other nations would have seen them crashing down. Besides, if your balls came crashing down you’d just start the War on Balls.
I have personally been touched by both of these wars. Our border is really no longer undefended. America is quietly waging its war on Canadian terrorists and drug lords and the border is tightly guarded. For instance, a few years ago I was accompanying my terrorist of a grandmother down south to visit family. She no longer likes traveling alone. The problem is that although she has admitted to needing accompaniment, it is still offensive to offer too much help, and so, as her chaperone, you do end up feeling a little bit terrorized. She has been known to travel with three passports, all with different spellings of her name and different birth dates. She’s a border security nightmare! I would like to thank America for recognizing this and subjecting my grandmother to an extended security search that led to the rest of our conversation during the four hour trip consisting of her asking me “Why would they do that to me?” over and over, followed by “I don’t understand. I don’t understand.” My explanation about the War on Terror, extended security measures etc etc. fell on deaf ears. The young TSA agent had made her, an 80 year old woman, expose her bare midriff in public, and had then stuck her hand inside the band of her pants. I don’t blame my grandma for feeling violated. I wasn’t really sure who the terrorist was in this scenario, but I felt pretty terrorized by the end of our journey. Here is a graphical representation of the terror, as experienced by me:
America, I’m not sure you can declare victory in this battle, but you definitely succeeded in terrorizing a terrorist, so props, small victory for you!
I would also like to congratulate you for a small success in your War on Drugs. Last year I got all gussied up in my best ‘I’m going to fit in with the locals’ outfit (shown below) and headed off on a road trip with my new beau. We were going to Florida to pick up some parts for his business and to pop in and say hi to his grandparents while we were there.
This beau of mine is a man of few words, but he has an air about him. He exudes, as we say in Canada, ‘le badasserie’. He pissed off border security the second he opened his mouth. I’m not too sure if it was because we rolled up in his super badass Canadian Marijuana Mobile Ford F-150, or if it was because of his one word answers and the fact that he seemed reluctant to name his company or reveal where his grandparents live. Probably the latter, since the former is completely ridiculous.
Completely ridiculous… yet it is how I was treated! We were asked to pull over and go inside so border security could do an extensive search of the truck (where, for the record, THERE WERE NO DRUGS!). To this day I will never know what happened to my boyfriend behind those closed doors, but I do know what happened to me. I was separated from my boyfriend and told not even to look at him, let alone try to talk to him. I was then taken to a holding cell where I was stripped down to my bare necessities, told to put my hands on the wall, head on the wall, and to spread my legs. They then pat me down and ran hands through crevices that no stranger should ever touch! First my grandma and then me! All this while ridiculing me on my choice of a boyfriend and ignoring any attempt at being conversational on my part. Why? Because, as they told him, in America he’d still be doing serious jail time. Why? Because when they ran his passport they found that he’d been charged with a minor drug offense at the age of 19, 10 years ago. Those charges were eventually dropped. Seriously, America. Seriously!? I have been to Europe and Asia, including the Middle East, and I think that was the biggest culture shock I have ever experienced. I have never broken a single law, so being treated like a criminal was quite an interesting experience. Oh wait, I accidentally stole an undershirt at the age of 6 because my mom forgot to take it off of me while trying on clothes at a store. Does that count? Would I still be doing serious jail time for that? Congratulations on keeping me from crossing into your country, American border guards. I am clearly a threat. The most skilled undershirt theif in all of Canada. I’m so skilled I’ll steal the undershirt right out from under your regular shirt without you knowing.
So, to sum up, the War on Terror and the War on Drugs claimed victories by:
1. Feeling up my grandma at the airport
2. Feeling me up in a holding cell at the Ambassador Bridge
Conclusion: America is impulsively handsy and needs to relax a bit. I invite America to visit its hippie cousin to the north. It could benefit from a relaxing ride in the Super Badass Canadian Marijuana Mobile, if such a car existed… which it does not. At least, not in my driveway.
*Please note that I was in Maine on Sept 11th, 2001, surrounded by peers with friends and relatives employed at the World Trade Center. I felt the effects of that day from within the country. I know people who were there. I truly do love NYC and am in no way intending to belittle the events of the day that brought the War on Terror to the forefront of the American political agenda and ingrained itself in the identity of many Americans. I just can’t believe that a TSA agent stuck her hand down my poor grandma’s pants… I guess it’s proof of random selection for these things though.
Recently appointed Master Geographer and newly minted mom, Shan, a born and raised Torontonian, currently resides in small town Ontario because she met a charming country boy with dimples, a striking jaw line and hands that are as strong and firm as the mighty nation of America. It was pregnancy at first sight, immaculate conception, of course. She is the only one in town that does not drive a Ford F-150. Sometimes serious but more often hilarious, you can follow her shenanigans here: shansshenanigans.com.