Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Thanksgiving Treat

In the United States, some of us celebrate the second Monday in October by speaking out against the acts of genocide Christopher Columbus is responsible for while enjoying a day off from work. People more conscious of their Netflix DVD situation prepare for the holiday by making sure their DVD arrives the Saturday before the holiday. Otherwise, they would have to wait until Tuesday, which would be absolutely horrible to them, though nowhere near genocide.

Up north, our Canadian friends celebrate Thanksgiving which, like here, includes a big meal and watching football. This gives them nothing to do on the fourth Thursday in November. Might we suggest Cabot Day?
He looks like he could probably be genocidal as well.

The HttCttD Staff, though dedicated workers, are not ones to squander an excuse for a large meal — regardless of how decidedly un-American it may be. The Chief allowed staffers to eat a big Thanksgiving dinner while catching some Canadian Football League action, as long as they did something which "embodied the spirit of Hail to the Chief... to the DEATH" while "loafing, Canadian-style," as he put it. He wasn't very specific as to what he meant, but the staffers figured out a fun Canada-centric activity:
Hail to the Chief... to the DEATH: Maple Leaf Forever Edition
(Does the PM have a song? We don't even know.)
Same rules applied; just with staffers voting for the Prime Ministers of Canada. Instead of four brackets of 16, this had three brackets of eight. Each PM is only entered once, regardless of whether or not they "pulled a Grover Cleveland," which actually happened a few times in Canada. Because really, how many times do we want William Lyon Mackenzie King in this thing, am I right?
Three separate occasions.
For the sake of brevity, we'll share the outcome of only one of the brackets. Otherwise, we'll be here all day.
The Pearson Bracket
1st Round
John Macdonald vs. Charles Tupper — Both were instrumental in creating the Canadian Confederation. Tupper was the oldest PM to ever serve, so he probably wouldn't put up much of a fight.
Serving at the age of 74, that puts him in "Reagan territory."
Louis St. Laurent vs. Arthur Meighen — Staffers couldn't resist Uncle Louis, man of the people. No contest.

Paul Martin vs. Joe Clark — Clark is the youngest in the pool, but he squeezed in a win against the people who just voted for Martin because he was so recent.

Lester "Mike" Pearson vs. Clark McDonald from the 1995 film Canadian Bacon, portrayed by Wallace Shawn — No one remembered Canadian Bacon, so everyone just imagined Vizzini in the ring. That didn't turn out so hot for him.
It also tanked in the box office.

2nd Round
Macdonald vs. St. Laurent — Macdonald-backers were quick to point out that he was the Father of the Confederacy. The St. Laurent party clarified that there were actually multiple Fathers of the Confederacy. And that just because he was the first PM, that doesn't make him the George Washington of Canada. St. Laurent narrowly won.

Pearson vs. Clark — Clark may be young, but Pearson was an athlete and a war hero. Also, Canada's largest city's airport is named after him AND he held office in the 1960s. He's like Canada's JFK, only in better physical condition. Pearson won.

Pearson Bracket Final
St. Laurent vs. Pearson — Pearson was given the nickname "Mike" because Lester wasn't a name fit for a fighter pilot. The original nickname that was thought of — though more accurate — gave children nightmares. That's just how badass he is. Pearson easily won. Staffers blast Rush in celebration.
Maybe next time, Uncle Louis
The Final Three Since we were left with three combatants instead of four, a simple tournament could not conclude this contest of ultimate Canadian superiority. Someone suggested that maybe that was for the best. The reasoning was that unlike American history, which started with a bang, Canadian history didn't. We scraped together a ragtag army to fight a war of independence against a major superpower. Even our nerdy types (Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, etc.) risked a public hanging. Canada, on the other hand, had a more gradual separation from Mother England. After 144 years of independence, their reigning monarch is still on their money.
Talk about apron strings.

So, we thought it was fitting to do this "the Canadian way," which meant setting up a large panel to discuss who would win. It was down to:

Pearson, whose success we already followed.

Pierre Trudeau, who beat out Wilfrid Laurier in that bracket's finals. Trudeau's supporters have come up with the rallying cry of "Just watch me... kick your ass!"
"My message to the Front de libération du Québec?
'Hey FLQ, Fah-Q!'"

John Diefenbaker, who defeated William Lyon Mackenzie King in that bracket's finals. One of Diefenbaker's nicknames was "The Chief," so he seemed like the obvious choice. Plus, his willingness to stand up to JFK shows he could probably be a spirited fighter in the Arena.
We'd say "Hail to the Dief," but that would probably piss him off.

While a discussion like this would work well in Canada, Americans are a bit more bloodthirsty with a need for definitive answers. Plus, we tend to get distracted with other things.

"Wait, a football team could finish a game with only one point? How does that happen?"

By that point, staffers were tired from the big meal and getting bored with the whole Canada thing. We thought it would be fitting — given that Canadian history seems to be one anticlimactic story after another — that three winners would be crowned.

If there could be 36 "original Fathers of the Confederation," then there could be three winners in this thing, right?

Meanwhile, back in the States, the fight between Ronald Reagan and Martin Van Buren rages on. Vote, because unlike our failed Canadian experiment, there will only be one winner.

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