How ’bout Those Canadians, eh?

Posted by on August 19, 1999

A National Example of the Difference between “Being” and “Doing”

I wear a little Canadian flag on my lapel these days as a statement of my admiration for the people of Canada. Having made several trips there recently, I think I’ve finally figured out what it is that makes Canadians a little different from you and me.

In a word, it’s the Canadian Perspective.

Canadians look at things differently from those of us in these frantic United States. And when it comes to happiness and contentment, seeing things differently offers real advantages. For one, it’s the root of all laughter. Were you aware that many of America’s greatest comedians and comic actors are actually Canadian? Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Dan Akroyd, John Candy, Norm MacDonald, Michael J. Fox, David Foley, Mathew Perry, Howie Mandel, Rick Moranis and Martin Short. Canadians, every one. Likewise, the great Thomas Chong of Cheech and Chong and the late Phil Hartman of NewsRadio and Saturday Night Live. Canadians, both. (Speaking of Saturday Night Live, you know Lorne Michaels, the writer and producer of that show? Yep, he’s another one.)

You know that Canada is exactly like the US, except that it’s cleaner, has friendlier people and a lot less crime, right? Each of these differences can be directly attributed to the Canadian Perspective, which, in a nutshell, is this: Canadians care. They genuinely, truly and honestly care. (Don’t ask me why they care or how they learned to care. I really don’t know. My best guess is that the cold Canadian winters made them huddle up and get to know each other and after they got to know one another, they said, “Hey, you’re not so bad…”)

Trust me, one can learn a lot from a trip to Canada. (Uh-oh. I can already hear the rednecks bellowing, “I don’t believe in travelin’ outside the US when there’s plenty to see right here in ‘Merica…”)

I’m not suggesting that you travel to see mountains, canyons, lakes, rivers or buildings. I’m suggesting that you travel to meet people who are different from you. It’s worth a trip to Canada just to talk to a Canadian cop. His warm attitude and big grin will remind you so much of Andy Griffith that you’ll think you’re in Mayberry.

Do you resent me saying that Canadians, as a rule, seem to care more than we do? Have I made you angry by implying that we could learn a thing or two from our brothers and sisters to the North? Does it make you uncomfortable that Canadians might actually be better than us at more than just ice hockey?

Canadians have figured out that “caring about people” doesn’t cause the same kind of stress as caring about “things.” Canadians are more concerned with “who they are being” than with “what they are doing.”

All in all, it’s not a bad way to live, eh?

Roy H. Williams

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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain

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