I'm sitting here lamenting this new computer love-bug virus bringing the world to its knees when a dispatch makes it through from the Unified States of America about a column in the Boston Globe that knee-capped Canadians.
"Read this," says my informant, the esteemed Pulitzer Prize-nominated news photographer Skip Heine, residing in New Jersey, who is quick to add that he loves Canadians even if the knee-capper, columnist Jeff Jacoby, doesn't.
Jacoby's ire has been stirred by the "Joe Canadian" beer commercial that trashes the Yanks and, while I don't have the space for all of his own rant, here's a portion of it:
"Pity the poor Canadians. What would they do for self-esteem if they didn't have us to feel superior to? Nothing in their big empty country seems to be going right.
"A persistent brain drain draws thousands of professionals to the United States. Quebec is forever threatening to secede. A slew of scandals has disgraced the armed forces. Patients in need of high-quality health care flee the country's nationalized medical system. Canada has more unemployment and higher taxes. And its dollar is now worth just 67 cents US.
"Things haven't worked out the way Canadians once thought they would. 'The 19th century was the century of the United States,' Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier declared in 1896. 'The 20th century will be the century of Canada.'
"Oops -- better luck next century. Actually, there will never be a Canadian century. Canada is like Belgium or Ecuador -- a nice enough place, but not very important."
Biff! Sock! Pow! And, of course, Jacoby, like it or not, is right in all he says; but Skip Heine, whom I first met three years ago on a ferry boat down the Alaskan coast during my Yukon-to-Ottawa adventure, wants me to eviscerate Mr. Jacoby for being a smug, humourless, prig.
"The jerks Molson is referring to," begins Heine, "are (bleeps) like that dork in Boston who do not speak for the rest of us -- and we'd love to have a beer commercial that clobbers elitist snobs like Jacoby. He infuriated me with this predictability, and I hate predictable journalists."
Heine is on a roll: "Why couldn't he have mentioned your class and just talked about the folly of that commercial and then reminded us about how great Canada and its people really are? Most of us in this country got a kick out outta that TV spot, we thought Molson was doing a good job exhibiting national pride."
He's picking up speed: "We Americans love that kind of banter. We love that kind of competition. Joisey versus Philly ... Dallas versus the Redskins ... Brooklyn versus the Bronx ... LA versus San Fran ... nd now it's the Yanks versus the Canucks. Great!"
There's no stopping him: "Let's have some fun with that. I have travelled all over this great nation and enjoyed watching and participating in that kind of verbal combat for years. The rule is simple: Come up with the best insult you can, the more creative you can get, the better -- but never get nasty. Jacoby tried to topsoil all that friendly repartee by getting nasty."
He's ablaze: "Nail that (bleep) from Boston and I will award you the Ernie Pyle award of the decade for Courage Under Fire."
Ernie Pyle was the great American war correspondent in World War II.
But, there's no need -- I hereby nominate Skip Heine to do the American beer commercial.
If you agree with Mr. Rupert "Skip" Heine, proud American, pro-Canadian, and would like to thank him you can do so by e-mailing him: email@example.com
But, please -- do not slug your e-mail to Skip "I love you" or you'll contribute to this weird cyber-virus thing that's destroying the world's e- mail systems which I delightfully suspect is a conspiracy to bring back the Underwood typewriter, and the sooner the better.
Check it out. Nostradamus: "And in the year 2000, people who send 'I love you' e-mails will instantly and wonderfully destroy the global e-mail system which will be replaced by the return of the Underwood typewriter leading to happier, slower, less stressful lives."
No virus ever leapt into my Underwood if I typed "I love you."
It never told me to go searching for some quack physician named Norton, or, as happened last night on my computer, to "accept cookies."
Accept cookies?What the hell is that? I'm here to type, not eat. Anyway, I left the machine, went to the kitchen, ate two Oreos, came back, and it still told me to accept cookies, which shows how stupid it is.
Personally, I do not fear e-mails slugged "I love you" because I've never received an e-mail from anyone telling me they love me.