Sometimes people in the United States look at Canada and laugh. And sometimes it is the other way around. This is commendable, as we all need more laughter in our lives, but in some cases it can be a little misplaced. Like the business of laughing at Canada for adopting metric measurement.
The Wikipedia entry on metrication in Canada is pretty comprehensive about it – and points out that it went very well, but many daily measurements are still in the older Imperial numbers – the railways, photograph sizes, football fields, etc. In fact, if you wanted to, you could cheerfully ignore the metric numbers and use the old ones in your head all the time.
But the Wiki does not tell you about the REAL Canadian measuring system and the units that it uses – a system that has been developed over time using local ingredients for local people. Canadians are not selfish, however, and are more than willing to share them with the world, eh?
The basic unit of the CMS ( Canadian Measuring System ) is the Canada Goose. One of these things:
The Canada Goose was chosen for two reasons – they are reasonably common, and they have the word Canada in the name – the basic insecurity of Canadians is thus assuaged.
The Goose, as it is known in normal speech, is used to measure any number of things:
a. Affection. The number of gooses ( not geese ) that you are prepared to administer and/or endure is a measure of your emotional attachment to another person. Those who neither goose nor are goosed have a more distant approach to life. This distance may be abridged during the Christmas and New Year festive season by the use of alcohol. Not as a rub, eh?
b. Intelligence. ” As silly as a goose. ” is instantly understood by all Canadians and is a base-line measurement of many forms of intellectual activity. ” As silly as Justin Trudeau. ” has not yet entered the national vocabulary to the same extent, but it will only be a matter of time before the voting population realise the connection, eh?
c. Honesty. ” As full of shit as a Christmas goose. ” is also well-understood. It is frequently applied to political figures from all parties – often when they get on the television and discus economic figures. I know a local female journalist to whom this applies…
d. Acceleration. ” Goose it.” is a technical term for applying more fuel to an engine.
People have often pointed out the fact that there are probably more ducks than geese on the flightways and ponds of Canada in the appropriate seasons and have questioned why they do not figure as a unit of measurement. I’ve no idea, other than to imagine that the Walt Disney cartoon character of Donald Duck reminds them of Donald Trump, and that is politically incorrect. Or the Warner Brothers cartoon character Daffy Duck is black, and they find that they are uncomfortable with that.
But that would be drawing a long bow and sound somewhat loony…and who ever heard of naming something a loonie, eh?