Thursday, 14 April 2005

all apologies

On The Simpsons the other day, Bart gets put in a "remedial" class and is greeted by his fellow pupils. One says to him, "I'm from Canada, so they think I'm slow, eh?" I think I sprayed tea all over myself, and possibly let out a snorty noise while laughing. Then it struck me, why do Canadians say "eh"? And we do, don't deny it. I know we don't say it as often as Americans think we do (ever heard Bruce Willis pretend to be Canadian in "Day of the Jackal"? Lord help me.), but we do say it often enough to make my English spouse point it out and giggle. It's like saying "eh" is our way of seeking approval for being brazen enough to speak. It's the short form of, "Nice weather, and please do forgive me for initiating conversation with you without asking first and I sincerely hope I haven't offended you in some way." We can't simply make a statement, because that would be presumptuous. We need to confirm that it was acceptable to have made the statement, with an air of apology just in case. Ever said sorry when someone stepped on your toe? Case in point; we are an apologetic people.

We need to be more assertive so that other countries stop beating us up for our lunch money. I think Canadians should start a new trend of only making statements, even if we're intending to pose a question. For example, "You want fries with that." This forces the other person to confirm or deny this statement, and you don't end up looking like a grovelling wiener. Of course we should only use this method of communication with individuals from other countries. That way, it would still be acceptable to be polite to other Canadians, but the rest of the world would see us as a confident, awesome superpower.

Or not. I'm sorry.

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