Believe it or not, Canuckistan does not have a national bird.
The debate about what it should be has been raging for years, more fiercely in fact than most debates rage in this country of begging-your-pardon pacifists. Suggestions have ranged from the common loon to the snowy owl, the anonymous grey jay to the Canada goose. If it were possible for people to come to blows on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook arguing for or against their favourite fowl, they would have. In fact, in the last few months, the bickering has become almost as vitriolic as the regional lilliputian co-ed mud wrestling fixture held annually in Kickamidge, B.C.
“The cry of the loon is the stuff of children’s nightmares,” sniped one pugilist on Facebook, which was quickly countered with an almost-as-violent riposte, “but the gray jay is drab and not terribly photogenic!” I stopped reading when one commenter, in reference to another’s manners and grammar, called him “a messy, ill-tempered brute, just like the Canada goose.”
That’s just not cricket, or very fair on the goose!
In order to bring some sense of peace and sanity to the dispute I would, however, like to throw my hat in the ring with clearly the most obvious suggestion yet: the Canucki mosquito.
Wow, these things are like giant, tenacious blood-sucking raptors. With the warm, lingering summer evenings we are enjoying, the mosquitoes are absolutely thriving. And do they voraciously delight in my sweet gluten-free blood?
That was not rhetorical.
Everything I’ve experienced since arriving in Canuckistan late last month has involved these pesky soon-to-be national birds. A nice little walk through the forest with a friend became an absurd, frantic, wheezing dash back to the safety of the car, where we smooshed the blood-bloated bugs against the dashboard and inside of the windshield. Playing ultimate frisbee, swimming in the lake, hiking to a waterfall or simply sitting down to dinner all involve whacking, scratching, crying and gnashing of teeth because of the little buggers.
And after a particularly wet winter and spring, it seems as if the legions of bloodsuckers are just getting started, readying themselves for as many kamikaze attacks on my exposed bald head and chicken legs as possible.
Obviously voting them the Canucki national bird won’t make my visit here any less itchy. But really, for their ever-presence, sheer size and weight in numbers, they do deserve your vote. Don’t you think?