On whiteness

Browsing through my favorite bookstore this afternoon, I came upon the book “Stuff White People Like” – based on the blog by Christian Lander. Never have I seen my life summed up so neatly. (I know, always late to the party). I’m kind of curious to do a tally of how white I really am. (And this usage of “white” really refers to socioeconomic category  rather than ethnicity. I’m pretty sure you can be “white” in this way no matter how you identify yourself).

Okay, let’s see.

#134 Picking their own fruit – Heck yes! We have apple trees in my garden at home. Nothing tastes sweeter than an apple eaten off the branch, still warm from the sun.

#129 Banksy. Banksy is a genius; I don’t care how many other white people think so.


Camping and Bob Marley. Wouldn’t it be cool to go camping WITH Marley? Too bad he’s dead. Another lost dream.

Taking a year off – something I’m considering doing this year. Possibly combined with travel or an unpaid internship. Geez, could I be any whiter? Now I’m starting to feel uncomfortably privileged.

The Onion. My brother (poli-sci major) and I will have long periods of time where we communicate only by sending each other lulz-inducing articles from the Onion. The ONN (Onion News Network) is a funny machine – they have a knack of writing headlines that are just a fraction of a hair more bizarre than the real world. Sometimes less bizarre.

Sweaters and scarves. This is Canada.

Bad memories of high school. Doesn’t everyone have these? Even the guys who end up as kings of the school usually looked like sea creatures when they were freshmen. And I was homeschooled until grade nine, so you can imagine how well high school went. I’m not even normal now.

The Sunday New York Times, the New Yorker, public radio. The first two make me feel like I’m not alone or crazy. And as for the third, CBC rules everything. Listening to the Ceeb is one of my weekend rituals – Quirks & Quarks, the Vinyl Cafe, and White Coat Black Art in the morning. Randy Bachman and Saturday Night Blues in the evening.

Not having a TV. This was one of the greatest gifts my parents gave me.

Coffee. I only started drinking coffee last year, but believe me when I say I’m making up for lost time. And I favor White People sources like Starbucks, Second Cup and tiny independent literary coffee shops. Also I own an Italian espresso pot. Gah!

There’s so much more, but I don’t want to torture you anymore with this chopped salad of a post. Suffice it to say that out of 134 things white people like, I relate to 51. I guess I’m only 38% white. Could be worse, now excuse me as I’m off to watch Portlandia.

And let the record show that I have a strong aversion to musical theatre (random bursts of song? no thanks) and gifted children (I know too many people who were in gifted programs).

It’s been a slice, but sleep is calling. Not really, but I have to get up early tomorrow to do my course selection for next semester. Wish me luck!



The best story I’ve ever heard

Ah! Econ middy in two hours! While I freak out, I’ll leave you with one of the best stories I’ve ever heard. My mom told me this and it’s allegedly true, but I don’t see how it can be. It’s just too good.

The setup: a friend of my mom’s – let’s call her Alice – was petsitting in Toronto. Unfortunately, through no fault of hers, the fourteen-year-old Afghan Hound died on the second day.

It was winter in Toronto. The ground was frozen and there was no way Alice could scrape a hole big enough for this dog. Also she didn’t really want the neighbors to see how fast she’d killed off the old hound. So she found the phone number of the vet that the family usually used, called the office and asked if they had any dead dog storage facilities. They agreed to take charge of the remains.

The problem remaining was how to transport the dog. After some thought, Alice found an oversized hockey bag and packed the dog in.  Then she lugged it out the door and began to walk to the vet’s office.

Not only was the load heavy, but a dead dog is an awkward shape to carry. She was trying to walk normally so people wouldn’t suspect that she was carrying anything unusual. Alice is a small woman. She was struggling.

A handsome young man saw that she was having trouble.

“Can I help you with that?” he asked.

Flustered, Alice used the classic technique of a terrible liar: said too much.

“That would be great,” she said. “It’s full of electronics. I could use a hand.”

He stole it.