April 25, 2001

The only way to recognise your own identity is to see it from outside. Canadians generally don't go very far from Canada, and this causes them trouble when trying to establish their identity. Currently we seem to be agreed on something like "we are not Americans." ...Err, we mean U.S. Americans. Right. Well, when you spend all your vacations in Florida, most of your observations will pretty much lead to the same conclusion. Compare Europeans who spend half their lives working and vacationing in neighbouring countries, and you see why they not only know their identity, but can play it like Fabio a heroine's heart. To us our identity is made up of the most banal things we do. But these are precisely the slippery things which define our identity. Here they are:

1. Canadians use towels to dry themselves.

When our bodies are wet, either from swimming or showering, we use a rectangular piece of absorbant fabric to dry them. This fabric is made of natural fibres and is cross-stiched its entire surface in tiny loops of thread, which provide the absorbency. Without trying to get too deeply into sewing terms, suffice it to say that the towels are generally the dimensions of breadth of shoulders by anywhere from half a person's height to his full height. Each person has his/her own, which is washed every couple of weeks, at which point it may be reused by the same or someone else. Canadians get wet in pools, lakes, oceans, rivers, baths, or showers (cf. "Showers"), but in all but the most exceptional circumstances the liquid of moistening is water.

2. Canadians read from left to right.

Thankfully they also write this way. This practise is standard and poses smearing problems for left-handed Canadians, who in traditional Canadian education are not forced to switch to their right hand. When reading Canadian text, it is expected that any given letter will be followed by its successor on the right side, and that streams of these letters can be collected together into groups. When these streams are collected in a continuous manner, they may make sense; otherwise no.

3. Canadians drink water-based beverages.

Yes, this is the same liquid with which they wash themselves (cf. "Shower"), but typically these are separated into different productions. Washing water often arrives at domiciles through pipes, a complex nation-wide system of hollow tubes. This unfortunately prevents Canadians from nomadic tendencies. Beverages arrive in the domicile carried by Canadian individuals, almost always the individuals who will consume them, in flavoured varieties, very seldom in natural form. However, Canadians do retain a romantic affinity with the natural which struggles against dominating forces of artifice. Note that francophone Canadians, whom are called "French" by anglophone Canadians, use the term "breuvage" for beverage. These are but examples, but a full list is available on the web. In fact, a full list is available in every Canadian's head. The problem is that Canadians don't seem to know this, and often summarise the entirety in a single cross-check. The only way to stop the common complaint that we don't know who we are, however, is to write it all down. Left to right.
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