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Sixteen Things I Hate About America (And A Few Things I Love)

Since my parents moved to Atlanta somewhere around five years ago, I have had ample opportunity to travel in the United States and examine bits of American culture. On my recent week-long trip south of the border I began to realize that there are some things about America that I strongly dislike (and a few that I really like). So here I present to you a tongue-in-cheek look at Sixteen Things I Hate About America (And A Few Things I Love). It all starts at the border with the…

Border Guards. It seems that the American border guards just assume that once you are in their country you will never want to leave. They seem to feel the need to wear guns just to keep people out! And I don’t suppose it ever occurs to them that perhaps, just perhaps, I really do want to leave their country someday. Other gun-toting grumps in the US include the

Police. Canadian police exist to keep the peace. This means that they rarely make an appearance unless they are absolutely needed or if you are seriously breaking the law. In America the police are out to get you. They lurk at the sides of highways and byways, just waiting to slap you with an outrageous speeding fine for driving 2 miles per hour over the limit. And continuing on this subject, what’s with the

Speeding Limits? If you’re driving on a Canadian highway you can rest assured that the speed limit is 100 kilometers per hour. You can drive clear across Ontario and this speed limit will never change. And all Canadians know that on the highways there is a 20 kilometer per hour grace period whereby the police will never bother you unless you exceed 120 kilometers per hour. In America the speed limits are constantly changing and are strictly enforced. They change from city-to-city and state-to-state. Drivers need to be constantly on the lookout to monitor the changing limits. While we’re talking about miles, let’s talk about the

American System of Measurements. I have three questions about this system. Who made it, what medication was he on, and where can I get some? Continuing to use the American (Imperial) system may be the greatest display of American obstinacy. It simply makes no sense whatsoever. And speaking of greatests, what is with the American obsession with

Greatests, biggests and longests?. Everywhere you go in the United States you see signs advertising the biggest this or the longest that. What I want to know is this: is there a governing body that examines claims to be the biggest and longest? Is there a Bureau of Biggest or Commissioner of Comparison that examines and verifies these claims? If I am going to spend my hard-earned money at Fulton County’s largest flea market, I want to have some sort of assurance that it really is the largest flea market! One thing I am sure of is that America does not have the world’s nicest

Money. Why is American money all the same color? Color-coding is a good thing. With just a glance one can tell the difference between the bills, rather than having to examine the face of an ex-President. Another annoyance with American money is the fact that there is

No Two Dollar Denomination. Two dollar bills are a good thing. Two dollar coins are an even better thing. Having twenty 1 dollar bills in my wallet is always a bad thing. Of course one of those 1 dollar bills is enough to purchase a can of

Coke. It seems many people do not know this, but there is a difference between Canadian and American Coke. In the American recipe the Coke is sweetened with corn syrup while in Canada it is sweetened with sugar. The corn syrup leaves a nasty aftertaste while the sugar simply burns off your taste buds so you couldn’t possibly know if there is an aftertaste. An informal poll I conducted shows that 66% of people prefer the taste of Canadian Coke. Another bad aftertaste comes from

Grits. I can’t believe grits are considered food fit for human consumption. I couldn’t have imagined anything could have a worse combination of bland taste and disgusting consistency than porridge, but grits came through! Of course of you like grits you probably also like

Waffle House. My brother-in-law tells me that the Mason-Dixon line is going to be renamed the IHOP-Waffle House Line. It seems that the moment you cross into Kentucky Waffle Houses appear at every exit of the Interstate. Their bland, yellow signs that look like a throwback to the sixties ruin the scenery across the South. If I wanted to see something at every exit and every corner I would want to see a

Tim Horton’s. Canada’s best donut chain dots the Canadian landscape, but America seems almost devoid of Timmy’s. Where do Americans go for a great cup of coffee and a good donut? It’s a shame, really, that they can’t go to Tim Horton’s. I did notice one or two of them in

Ohio. It seems to me that the United States would be better off without Ohio. As I see it, it is a state that has no real function other than to increase the distance between Canada and the South by a few hundred miles. So I propose that Ohio be eliminated. This would require moving the NFL Hall of Fame from Canton, but I am sure there are many states that would be happy to take it on. I think the phrase “being inducted into Albuquerque” has an even better ring than “being inducted into Canton.” I suppose eliminating a state would be considered bad manners…and speaking of bad manners, why do Americans always

Leave Their Shoes On In The House. In the rest of the world it is considered impolite to leave your shoes on inside someone else’s house. Yet in America it is considered perfectly normal behavior. Go ahead and tramp through water, snow and mud and then walk into the house, cross the carpet and why not put your feet up on the coffee table? On an unrelated note, do you really need

150 Foot Signs beside the highway? In Canada we have rules about how high signs can be and trust me, it is a good thing. Everywhere you go in the United States you find signs reaching hundreds of feet into the air. Five hundred thousand candlepower lights illuminate these signs, lighting up the countryside for miles around. Sometimes the extra light comes in handy, though, especially when using the

Highway Entrance and Exit Lanes. Is there any particular reason these have to be so short? Rather than having a couple hundred meters to make your way over and prepare to exit, in America you have to wait until the precise moment to rip your car into a 45 degree turn to exit the highway. When entering the highway, you have all of two or three car lengths to merge with the traffic. I have just one more complaint and it has to do with the word

Huh? Since when is this considered a polite way of responding to a question? In the same area of the world where children refer to their parents as “sir” and “ma’am” why is it acceptable to say “huh?” when you do not understand something? What happened to “pardon?” or “excuse me?”

I do not want to give the impression that everything about America is bad. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of great things. Here are a few:

Border Guards. “Wait!” you say, “I thought you hated them.” Well I do, but at least they seem to care about who gets into America. The Canadian border guards seem like they couldn’t possibly care less who or what crosses the border. One thing that hasn’t crossed the border is

Chick-Fil-A. Now that is some good eating. The chicken sandwiches are delicious and I really dig those waffle fries. Mmm mmm good! Another thing that is good is

Driving North to South. I love how the mileage signs count down the miles before you hit the next state. It’s a great way of keeping track of just how far until the next Chick-Fil-A. I don’t think you find any Chick-Fil-A’s in

Pennsylvania. After visiting this state many times in my youth I have developed something of an attachment to it. I guess I can say I consider it my favorite state to visit. Going there helps me understand

American Patriotism. In Canada we are proud not to be American. In America people are proud to be part of what they truly believe is the greatest country in the world. There is something to be said for believing so strongly in your country. And as an apathetic Canadian, I can’t help but admire it.

So there you have it. There are things about America I hate and things I love. Please don’t hate me for that!

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