I'm a proud Canadian. I wear red and white on Canada Day, I can sing the National Anthem in both languages, and I'm not ashamed to say "eh" every once and a while.
I also can say "I love eating beaver tails" with a straight face. Other proud Canadians know what I mean.
But there are some things that Canadians consider to be part of our identity that I don't follow. Namely, I don't watch hockey. I don't root for any particular team and I've rarely seen the Stanley Cup playoffs. I have watched Team Canada in the Olympics—both the men's and women's teams—but only when they're playing for the gold. I like getting caught up in the excitement, knowing that our teams are going to mop the floor with the rest of the world.
But during the regular season, I have no idea who is leading, who is trailing (I typically assume Toronto is sucking donkeys, as usual), or who any of the players are. When I was living in South Korea, a fellow Canadian teacher tried to recruit me for a street hockey league. When I told him that I wasn't into hockey, he threatened to take my passport away.
Another Canadian tradition, one that is big enough to be a candidate for a holiday, is the Roll Up The Rim contest at Tim Hortons. Every year, millions of Canadians flock to their neighbourhood Tim Hortons, increasing their coffee consumption in the hopes of rolling up the rim of their cup and winning a prize. Typically, a donut or another cup of said coffee.
I don't participate in Roll Up The Rim. I don't drink Tim Horton's coffee. Firstly, I don't consider that stuff from Tim's to be real coffee. It's kind of like that hot coffee-like beverage that I was addicted to in Korea. But it isn't coffee.
I gave up drinking Tim Horton's coffee years ago. I would only drink it if I was desperate for coffee and it was the only coffee-like drink for miles around. I can't remember the last time I drank a cup of Tim's.
I also don't like the fact that they dress your coffee for you. They don't have stations in the shop where you can add your own cream and sugar. And every time, they either added too much cream, too much sugar, or too much of both.
Lori also stays away from Tim's, unless she wants a cup of tea and one is handy (and in Canada, a Tim Horton's is as handy as traffic lights at a busy intersection). But at Roll Up The Rim time, Lori is attracted to the coffee. Not for the flavour, but for the cup.
The biggest prize that Lori has won in all of the years that she has played the contest is a donut or a coffee. Just like the majority of people who flock to Tim's in droves at this time of year.
I have a question for you: how many of you, who play that silly game, have one more than a donut or a coffee? How many times have you won anything? Leave a comment. I'm curious.
If this attitude is un-Canadian, so be it. I can live with that.
Because, during the Roll Up The Rim contest, the only thing I see more of are the discarded cups, strewn in the snow, left behind in bus shelters, or blowing across the roads. All of them with the same message.
Please play again.
* I'd like to thank Ottawa's mayor, the Honourable Jim Watson, for getting me out of my writing slump in giving me the idea for this post. Your Honour, I hope you've won something by now. If not, I'd be happy to treat you to a real coffee. You know where you can find me.