We Canadians are a polite lot aren't we? Constantly offering "I'm sorries" and "Pardon mes" and "Excuse mes" at every turn. It's exhausting. I often say I'm sorry even when I've done nothing wrong or I'll say "Pardon me" and jump to move out of stranger's way when THEY bump into me.
This isn't about manners. My children have been schooled in proper etiquette since they were in diapers. I'm referring to our hyper anxiety about offending people and our culture of taking ourselves too seriously. It's becoming a bit much.
Remember the days when we could freely wish someone a Merry Christmas without feeling like we just kicked a three legged puppy?
I wrote a post about a party my daughter hosted. We had a Christmas tree, Christmas cookies, Christmas music, Christmas crafts and Christmas presents. It was a clearly a Christmas party, yet I called it a Holiday Party to avoid offending anyone.
When I traveled through India years ago, we attended a Diwali party. I am not Hindu and I don't celebrate Diwali, but I attended the party nevertheless and had a wonderful time (minus the bit when I got hit in the chest with a firecracker — those suckers scorch!). It was called a Diwali party because that's what it was and I wasn't offended in the least. So why do I feel sheepish about calling a Christmas party a Christmas party or wishing someone on the street a Merry Christmas? We celebrate Christmas. Isn't it kind to extend our good cheer to others?
As for school "Holiday Concerts"... well, there just isn't enough time in this post to go into that right now.
But I think I have a general solution. I've decided to move to England.
Brits are hysterical. They don't take themselves too seriously and they know how to take a joke. Have you seen the British T.V. series The Inbetweeners?
It's on Netflix. My husband and I devoured the three-season series in days. FYI—It's not family friendly. It's quite rude. Just the way I like it. It's the story of a group of high school boys who aren't unpopular, but they surely aren't popular either—they fall somewhere' in between.' They tease each other without mercy and as they say, "take the piss out of each other" every chance they get. Try this in Canada and you'll be strung up by your toes and raked though the coals and shred to bits and lots of other painful things. And call a friend a wanker and you can basically kiss that friendship goodbye.
Poor Ricky (whom I adore) Gervais found this out the hard way. He was crucified for making jokes about celebs in the audience at the Oscars. You do NOT take pot shots at celebrities. Not North American ones anyway. And now with everything being broadcast online in moments, make one raunchy joke and you'll be called out by an outraged Twitter mob before you can say, "knock-knock."
Somewhere along the way, we've lost the ability to take a joke.
Must everything be so #%$**& politicallycorrect all the time. I'd insert a curse word here but I can't because I don't swear online anymore even though I curse like a sailor most days in real life but I would never put a dirty word in print because
God gosh forbid I should offend somebody.
So what's my point? I have three actually.
1. Watch the Inbetweeners if you don't mind off-colour humour.
2. I'm going to try to remember the days when I'd laugh when friends would "take the piss out of me" instead of gasping in indignation.
3. I will be sending everyone CHRISTMAS cards from my new home in London.