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Getting On : All My Politics

For Angry Americans

from Jules - Friday, November 19, 2004
accessed 1353 times

From The New Yorker, by Bruce McCall.


(Please use a soft pencil)

1. Did you say you were thinking about coming up to live in Canada?
Undecided_________ Maybe__________ Awfully big step_________ Other__________
The clearer your intentions, the better our government can estimate how many welcome-gift bottles of maple syrup, etc. to order.

2. Not to be too nosy, but are you mad at all governments or just the one particular government?
All________ Just the one__________
We only ask because Canada has a government too, and, if you mean to be critical just on principle, maybe it would be better if you didn’t come here. Not that our government is perfect, but we think it runs pretty well, all things considered, so other Canadians might take you for a “troublemaker”—hardly the nicest way to start off in a new country!

3. I want to come and live in Canada because (check all that apply):
You can make right turns on red lights, just like in California._________ I missed out on the fifties________ Curling is my life_________ You can be photographed with a Mountie almost anytime________ Chesterfield is a better word than sofa_________ You can fly hassle free to Cuba for wild weekends_______
These may seem to be minor reasons, but they look better on paper than strident political opinions—important to us because, that way, if this form were ever to fall into US hands, it would avoid hurting anyone’s feelings.

4. I like to (check all that apply):
Play loud music_______ Wear immodest bathing attire_________ Drink straight from the bottle_______ Joke about Canadian football__________ Drive over 60 mph_________ Show off_________
These American-type lifestyle choices are fine, but if you do come here to live, we wonder if you’d be willing to “tone it down” a bit.

5. If you were let in, what would you sing at the start of hockey games?
“The Star-Spangled Banner”_______ “O Canada”_________ Both____________
You can sing whatever you like. We just want to get an idea of whether you would embrace being in Canada strongly enough that you’d still be here in a few years, so our health-care system could prepare your free hospital bed.

6. I am fully prepared to (check all that apply):
Spell “color” “colour” and “check” “cheque” __________ Observe Boxing Day__________ Switch over to the metric system________ Not laugh when somebody says “Medicine Hat”, “Moose Jaw” or “Coboconk”_________
These are just for-instances meant to gauge the chances of your assimilating. If you want to stick to your American way of handling these things, that’s perfectly all right. One thing about Canada: everybody says that our tolerant attitude just “knocks them out”.

7. In leaving the US to reside elsewhere, I also considered:
Belgium ________ St.-Pierre and Miquelon _________ New Zealand __________ Norway _________
Don’t worry. It won’t hurt our feelings if your first choice for emigration was not Canada. These are all fine places and we don’t have a monopoly on livability. This information will only be used by our diplomatic corps to make compliments in Christmas cards to accredited members of these nations, eg, “Incidentally, XX Americans have told us they preferred your place to ours!”

8. Translate the following statement: “Cripes, grade thirteen! Here’s a loonie—buy a Coffee Crisp, eh?”
This is really just practice for when or if you come here to live; best to get used to the idea that even if Canadian language isn’t really distinctive, like say, Hungarian or Finnish, we do sometimes use funny-sounding words and phrases, so “forewarned is forearmed”!

9. Immigrants must acknowledge having read this section by signing below where indicated.
Canada is a pretty nice country, but it is not perfect by any stretch: Winters can be long and quite cold. There’s not much to do on Sundays. Hugging and kissing in public is frowned upon. You can’t deduct mortgage interest on your taxes.

I have read the above (sign here) _________________________

10. Are you absolutely certain that you want to come up here to live?
All this is food for thought _____________ I hadn’t looked at it that way _______________ Maybe I need to do more research _____________ Can I postpone my application without losing my place in line? ______________
Suggestion: find the phone number of a random Canadian resident and give him or her a call—preferably after dinner. He or she would be delighted to chat. Half an hour of heart-to-heart conversation might just “do the trick” in helping you decide Yea or Nay about emigrating. (If Yea, you can bill the Canadian government for the cost of your call within thirty days of arrival.)
Cancellation of Application for Canadian Residence

I, __________ hereby withdraw my application to be accepted as a landed immigrant to Canada. Signed: __________ Date ____/_______/_______

Don’t be embarrassed about changing your mind. In fact fewer than sixty-three percent of all applications for Canadian residence are followed to completion. It’s always nice when people can work out their problems without taking drastic measures and moving lock, stock and barrel to another country. “Better safe than sorry!” We are glad that cooler heads prevailed. And you’re always welcome to visit!

Reader's comments on this article

Add a new comment on this article

from Shaka
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 12:23


Happy Birthday to you! Only one will not do! Born again means Salvaaatiooon! We know you have two!

Any goals for the new year? Any breakings or name changes you'd like to share with us? No seriously, celebrate the big 30 (don't hit me!) like there is no tomorrow! You've come a long way in the last decade and that's cause for much substance abuse and debauchery. Let us know how it goes.
(reply to this comment)

from Dani
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 10:24

Happy Birthday Jules!!!!!!

Since I can't get ahold of you any other way...

I'll call tonight between 5-6 your time.


(reply to this comment)
From Phoenixkidd
Wednesday, November 24, 2004, 11:52


Yes Happy Birthday Jules!! I don't know you personally, but I want thank you for creating this website as it's such a great way to connect with our past and come to grips with our place in the future. I also think it was quite brave of you to speak out on National Television and bring into focus what people like us have to go through when we leave. Have a wonderful Birthday and Happy Thanksgiving! I know you celebrate it earlier in Canada, such a wonderful place, I hope to retire there someday! Ever Grateful, Abe J.

(reply to this comment

from Baxter
Tuesday, November 23, 2004 - 04:43


Is there a revised version for Brits?

I'm gonna emigrate to Norway, anyway.
(reply to this comment)

from Cultinvator
Monday, November 22, 2004 - 17:05


I love canadian culture, and especially most canadians I've met. One obvious dislike to that great nation: The weather sucks most of the year and I'm an outdoor person who would miss california's chaparral almost non-existance of rain too much. Some have mentioned that for Americans, the lack of extreme attitude problems is what some miss in such a politically correct nation.

(reply to this comment)

from ThinkingDavinci
Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 22:26

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Canada is actually our biggest state park, & features 30 million rangers, each working at various activities aimed at preserving the flora & fauna for our future generations once we've exhausted our own natural resources.
(reply to this comment)
from banal_commentator
Friday, November 19, 2004 - 08:11

what is an ANGY american?
(reply to this comment)
From Jules
Friday, November 19, 2004, 08:24


a. An American named Angela, Angelina, Angus, Angelo or Angel.

b. A Noisy Griping Yankee

c. A sad display of my deteriorating spelling due to only writing code for the past few months

d. A passive aggressive/subconscious taunt of Joe

e. All of the above(reply to this comment

From Phoenixkidd
Friday, November 19, 2004, 10:56


In my opinion it's sadly b. A Noisy Griping Yankee

Actually Yankees don't really gripe that much, Southerners do so fat and sick from eating junkfood and shopping at Walmart and griping about how they don't get good service, with those big old denims strapped to their hulking, loathing, flabby, collagen-laden thing they call, "THar Buhind"!!(reply to this comment

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