Canadian things that would be better off as American ones

February 5, 2009 at 7:50 am (Daily Life) (, , , , )

I’m American.  This gives me an innate sense of superiority over Canadians like my husband.  Here are a few things about this country that I can’t get used to and will continue to insist are better the American Way:

5) I went to UNIVERSITY, not COLLEGE.

In the US, at least in my experience, after high school you go to college — whether you went to Connecticut College or the University of Connecticut, you still refer to yourself as being in college. In Canada, it is a point of pride to note whether you went to a college or a university.  And heaven forfend you say that a university student is in college… you might as well spit in their beer and call their mama ugly.  What the fuck?  It’s a post-secondary education, you turds, no one except your fellow Canadians genuinely gives a damn about the word you apply to it.

4) Milk in bags

I know, this is cliché to complain about, but it still drives me nuts.  Why does milk need to come in bags?  Yes, I understand that it’s more economical.  Still, it’s kind of gross.  I get to handle what feels like a bladder full of liquid, plop it into a pitcher, and then I have to find something to cut off the corner with so the milk can actually escape.  Making this hole just the right size (as well as not slicing your finger if you use a knife to do it) is a precise art that I cannot seem to perfect.  That’s why I tend to leave a very small amount of milk in the bag and make Chris open the next one.  He has more practice.

3) Again rhymes with “brain”, not “men”

Read that aloud.  Uh-GAYN.  Doesn’t it sound fucking pretentious? I know they’re speaking the Queen’s English, but Brits also say “vitamin” (the “vit” part rhymes with “zit”) and “zebra” (zehb-ra, not zee-bra) wrong, so I don’t buy the whole “we invented the language so we know best” angle.  I wonder how Maia will pronounce this word.

2) DD-MM-YY vs. MM/DD/YY

This is why, on anything Canadian that I can, I write the date like “Feb 5, 2009”.  Because if I write or see 05-02-09, I think it’s May 2nd, 2009 and that’s clearly not what I intend to convey.  Now, I understand that it makes sense — most specific unit of time to least — but I still have to sit and ponder how I write the date because the American way is so deeply ingrained on my brain.  Fortunately, most government papers, which are the only official things I’ve had to fill out, have DD-MM-YY written under the little date boxes so I’m certain to use the ‘correct’ format.

1) ABCD… blah blah… XY and Zed!

So imagine me singing this with my baby:  “Q, R, S, T, U V, W, X, Y and Zed… now I know my ABCs”.  THAT DOESN’T EVEN RHYME!  I feel like this will be a battleground issue in my household, but hopefully I will triumph.

Runners up: What’s a Cheez-It?, It’s Grade One not 1st Grade (hand-in-hand with These Are My Marks, Not My Grades), and The Metric System May Be Logical, But I’m Not.


  1. EricaB/Crazy Momma said,

    Love it!!

  2. Michelle said,

    Ahem… as a Canadian I take exception to the whole “not rhyming” thing. AND I went to university ::turns up nose:: so I should know. The ending to the alphabet song (AFTER ZED) is:
    Now I know my A, B, C’s
    Next time won’t you sing with me.

    See… “c” and “me” rhyme, get it? No reason to mess with the proper pronunciation of a perfectly good letter.


  3. cristin said,

    I remember being annoyed by all of these things when I lived in Canada…

    How do you spell color? That’s right… without a ‘U’! And it’s theater dammit, NOT theatre…

    And Kraft Macaroni and Cheese? Kraft Dinner? Really? There is enough in that little blue box to justify calling it a dinner? I think not.

  4. Tatiana said,

    Funny enough Cristin, it was your video of Dottie that spurred me to make this post, with the ABCs thing! Tomorrow is “American things that would be better off as Canadian ones” and I actually talk about color/colour 😀

    I totally forgot about Kraft Dinner. And Christie Cookies. Grrrr!

  5. Damselfly said,

    I believe the Barenaked Ladies have a Zed in their ABC song on their children’s album, Snacktime.

  6. existere said,

    Ah, we share many frustrations. Except I’ve caved and now refer to college as university – but this is also because where I live, college refers to where to you between the ages of 16-18, so it is different.

    At least we don’t have milk in bags though. What the fuck is that about?

  7. humpsNbump said,

    I have a special kind of appreciation for this post. I – as a Canadian and dad-to-be as the American. We talk about the subtle but oh so important differences all the time.

    ~ humps

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