Do Canadians really exist? Is there really such a whimsical folk who believe in such things as mounted police, plaid shirts, and wood burning stoves? Or are they simply a product of someone's over-inventive fantasy?
As a child growing up in Wisconsin I lived within 200 miles of the alleged border between our two countries and yet never once ran into one of these purported bipeds. Many stories and legends exist about these 'Kanucks', but I like to have hard evidence like an actual hide from one. It is as sketchy a legend as that of Bigfoot to which no one has produced any fur of either.
When I was a child I had been told there was a Santa Claus. There had been enough evidence to support this; there were presents under the tree on Christmas morning. But eventually cracks in this facade began to show. At the tender age of 27 I began to suspect that there was something seriously wrong with this Santa myth. There were no more presents even though I put up a tree faithfully every year. The department store Santas got angry when I sat on their laps. Eventually I understood that some sort of mass hypnosis was at work here that so many people would try to support such a fictiousness, much like Big Brother in the book 1984.
But Santa was not the only fabrication. There was also the Easter bunny, Peter Pan, and the mad hatchet man from down the street that my older brothers told me would get me if I wasn't good (this legend might be true because I did find some suspicious looking bones behind our garage one morning that I can only surmise belonged to some other poor kid who hadn't been quite good enough).
Genuine sightings of Canadians differ as to their descriptions. Some report them to be extremely grizzled from head to foot like an abominable snowman, only twice as abominable. Others say they are chunky and squat, much like Santa's elves or Rosie O'Donnell. I tend to believe that if they exist at all they are like wild, unclothed cannibals running through the woods naked, howling at the moon while shreds of their last victim still hang form their mouths.
The question we must ask ourselves concerning the Canadian legend is "Is it a harmful illusion to believe in?". The second question is "Is there any way we can make some money off of this?" Is the legend perhaps another attempt by government to pull the wool over our eyes like they did when they got us to believe that Iraq had WMD's, or that Saudi Arabia is an ally of ours or that Ronald Reagen was a great president? Yet, perhaps we need our delusions that such a place as Canada exists just as children need teddy bears to cling to- it is something familiar and friendly in a world that can be cold and fearsome.