Thinking about visiting or moving to Canada anytime soon? No? Oh. Well, for the sake of this article’s meaningful existence, let’s pretend you do have some interest in stopping into this humble land of mine. What you need to know is that we’re really fucking good at talking about the weather. What seems to be the most banal conversational topic, rendered almost a hallmark subject in recognizing that a first date has lost all hope, or that the two of you in the elevator together really aren’t ever going to be friends, is in fact a cultural conversational mainstay for us. And how do we make it work so well? Allow me to elaborate.
1. Pretend you and everyone you know does not possess any form of a memory. In other words, constantly act surprised at the weather. Exclaim, “Man, can you believe it’s the end of March and it’s still fucking snowing?!” as if it hasn’t snowed throughout all of the March and into April every year for the past ten years. Also, be sure to never bring this up, as recognizing this mutually shared self-imposed ignorance is the conversational equivalent to prematurely telling a child that Santa Claus is not real. Illusions, we must remember, do sometimes serve a purpose.
2. Imagine a perfect, ideal day of weather that cannot ever be physically actualized on Earth. That way, no matter how great the weather is, it’s still never perfect and thus an acceptable subject of criticism. A common adage among Canadians is that we have two seasons, winter and July. Albeit just a real knee-slapper of a joke, it is often accompanied with a complaint about the unbearable and excessively humid nature of our summers. Thus, there is literally never a moment in our lives when the weather is not completely fucking awful. If you think we’re polite, it’s because we take all of our unwarranted assholishness out on the poor ol’ innocent weather. And it’s not even his fault! Whose fault is it then, you ask? Well, maybe you’d have a better idea if not for a little something called “Florida, November 7th, 2000.”
3. Treat the weather like it is some special and inherent trait of the Canadian national heritage. In doing so, “toughing out” the awful weather is seen as a sort of universal suffering – an awful form of self-imposed torture all Canadians intentionally submit themselves to as a way to prove their Canadian-ness. It is bizarrely self-constitutive, and effectively ensures that we feel living such a miserable existence is somehow justified through a false sense of patriotism. Who needs bald eagles and questionable gun laws when you have two meters of snow one month and thirty-eight degrees Celsius weather the next? And yes, I know you have no idea what any of that means.
4. Employ the old, “uphill both ways” one-upmanship to every conversation. Despite being a shared national endurance, be sure to qualify your complaint with a specific comment about how it has especially hindered you. “Of course, it snows the day after I take off my winter tires!” If you’re feeling especially confident, such complaints must be said in an accent exactly four degrees more Canadian than your daily accent is. If you don’t know what that means, just try and find somewhere between Trailer Park Boys and “Fargo, but Canadian.”
5. In the event you actually say something positive about the weather, be sure to tack something negative onto the end. “It’s actually sunny out for once, with a nice cool breeze! Too bad my wife miscarried last night.”
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