April 1999
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Canadian Content Part IX:
Oh, Canada! Our Country's Theme Song

by Jasón LeMorrisón

There's nothing that makes a Canadian stand up and sing like the opening bars of our national anthem, the aptly titled "Oh, Canada." Many Americans know it as "that song they play when the guys we don't hate win." Or "that song that starts 'Oh, Can-a-da...'" But what many don't know is that our national anthem has a long and glorious history just like yours, the "Oh Say Can You See."

The Canadian national anthem was made legal July 1, 1980, on nearly it's 100-year birthday. Before 1980 there were too few of us up here to really call it a country, but at that point we figured "what the hey?" rounded up all the mounties, lumberjacks and hockey players and a little old man named Calixa Lavallée and declared it official.

Many think Lavallée was an unknown music teacher who wrote the song in an explosion of pride and bacon, but that's not so. He was actually a deconstructuralist/experimentalist composer on loan from Russia. The lyrics were later composed by some French guy and some English guy, keeping with our "First Amendment," as it were, that everything needs to be in French and English.

What follows are the official English lyrics:

O Canada!
     Our home and native land!
     True patriot love in all thy sons command.

     With bacon hearts we see thee rise,
     The True North strong and free!

     From far and wide,
     O Canada, you invented Alan Thicke.

     God keep our land big cold and emp-ty!
     O Canada, we invented hockey too, I think.

     O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

[sniff]... Oh, I'm sorry, it's just that I got a bit misty. You know, we spend so much time trying to get away from American cultural imperialism, I sometimes forget what it is that makes us truly Canadian. I mean, we go to baseball games for Christ's sake! No one knew why they were even building that stadium in Toronto until they mentioned the retractable roof and we all thought that was quite clever. You'd think America would get it--we don't even clap, we just sit there, drinking our maple syrup, waiting for Jimmy Key to pitch the game quickly away.

Which reminds me, what was the deal with the upside-down flag at the World Series a few years back? We already know we're the token other country for your "World" Series, all right, no need to rub it in! Those Marines didn't just make a mistake--heaven help us if you guys, with more nuclear weapons than we've got pine trees, just slip up like that. Now, the Canadian military--there's precision. We even have a set of jet planes better than your Blue Angels, only I can't think of the name right now, but they're all pretty and red with maple leaves on them!

Our side of the Niagra Falls is bigger, too. I bet you're thinking, "yeah, but the American falls are more picturesque with no mist blocking the view." Well bite my chilly butt, that mist is from all the raw power coursing through our side of that giant tourist trap.

That's it, I'm out of here. Maybe I'll keep trying to enlighten the mostly American staff here at the Shrub, maybe not. You're hosers, eh?


Aww, geez, I can't hold a grudge, eh? We're just too nice, as a people, for me to go to bed still mad at all of you. I guess it's even then. Mind if I fish here?

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