Don’t let anyone tell you that reading comic books won’t enrich your life. When I was a wee lad, comic books provided 1) my first exposure to foreign currency and the concept of exchange rates, and 2) on a related note, my first haughty sense of superiority over our neighbor to the north, Canada.
Around 1990, you could spend an even U.S. dollar picking up an issue of The Uncanny X-Men. And on the cover, in small print, you’d see that those poor Canadian bastards had to pay $1.25 for the same privilege.
Ha, ha. Suckers.
“Wow,” I thought to myself, on more than one occasion. “What a lame country. Their dollar isn’t even as good as ours. I wonder what they do all day in that snowy, frozen landscape when they’re not being too poor to afford comic books. I wonder if they even know what cable TV is.”
And so began my confident dismissal of Canada’s relevance. Even when Canadian comedians like Jim Carrey and Mike Myers and bombshells Jenny McCarthy and Pamela Anderson collectively mugged their way to stardom, I thought we were doing them a huge favor by allowing them to peddle their wares in a country that could actually afford to pay for them. Remember, they probably hadn’t realized the full potential of television in that country like we had.
I probably should have recognized the warning signs, then. Even when I traveled in Europe during high school and got introduced to the phenomenon of Americans attaching Canadian flags to their backpacks so that they’d be received more kindly by the natives, I thought, “Well, sure. No one’s threatened by a Canadian. They’re just so harmless. Why do you think they’re so polite? It’s because they’re so afraid of countries like America. They’re probably afraid we’ll take away all the good jobs from Canadian entertainers. Or that we’ll stop exporting all those awesome American goods that they couldn’t conceive of making for themselves. Like comic books. God. Pussies.”
I still didn’t see the larger picture. Even after I found out that Canadians have free, socialized health care. And cheap drugs. And a lower rate of crime and gun violence.
“Simpletons,” I thought. “They’re just not sophisticated enough to make things as complicated and as difficult as we do.”
But I get it now. Canada is the slow-but-sure tortoise, and we’re the egotistical, lame-brained hare. While our glorious leaders are busy talking shit and then getting us buried in more of the same, Canada is further cementing its position as a perfectly sensible society that makes ours look like a daycare center full of frantically drunk five-year-olds.
You know what finally drilled it home for me? Canadians don’t have to pay more for our comic books any more. Last month the Canadian dollar reached parity with the U.S. dollar.
And if another one of those Republican jokers somehow manages to become our next President, I hope the Canadians will forgive me… and consider giving me citizenship. Please.