The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious (DOPOTO), in our only capacity, that of drawing attention to what should need no explanation, cannot help but notice that the nation of Canada has emerged briefly from its self-imposed exile to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. For two weeks, Canada will occupy a most unaccustomed position, the world spotlight. While many people were under the impression that Canada had entered some sort of International Witness Protection Program, in fact they are alive and, while not exactly kicking, which would be unseemly for a Canadian, breathing.

Senior Department Analysts have long been aware of Canada, even if much of the rest of world has not, and that seems to be just the way Canadians prefer it. For the second-largest nation on Earth, Canada has been remarkably anonymous, even to the point of insisting that their most talented and ambitious citizens leave the country to gain fame and success. The fact that they share a 3,000-mile border with the squeakiest wheel on the planet, The United States, has only served to strengthen their xenophobia and made them more determined to isolate themselves, even though their nation is the mirror image of America.

A dull, awkward and shy mirror image, to be sure, as if America consisted only of Minnesota and Wisconsin, but nearly identical in culture, architecture, political structure, language and diet. At least Minnesota gave the world Prince and Jesse Ventura, and Wisconsin… well, there’s Liberace and lots of cheese… but the point is made. They gave us, who, Celine Dion? Canada, for all it’s interesting history, breathtaking landscapes and potentially fascinating internal conflicts between French-speakers and Anglophiles, has been for over a century the dullest place on earth. DOPOTO researchers and analysts have confirmed this through extensive studies of the place, and have filed the requisite reports, that is when they could keep their eyes open.

So it seems that hosting the Winter Olympics would be a natural for Canada to gain her place on the world stage, being that much of that nation enjoys perpetual winter. Two staples of the Winter Games are sports invented by ice-bound Canadians, hockey and curling. Unfortunately, hockey has been assimilated and dominated by the United States and Russia, and curling is a bunch of people (!) pushing a stone around a sheet of ice with a broom. Very few people on Earth, including the participants in Curling, have any idea what the object of the game is other than to generate enough body heat to avoid freezing to death.

To add insult to tedium, a Canadian Olympic team hasn’t dominated the Winter Olympics for decades. That would be like Australia getting soundly defeated in Australian Rules Football again and again. Well, this year, the Canadian Olympic Committee has vowed to try to win more gold medals than any other nation. Unfortunately for them, however, no one on the Olympic Committee gets to compete, and most winter sports experts deem this an impossibility, and Canada is not even expected to medal in Curling. The games also opened with a tragedy, the death of a luge sledder practicing on a Luge Run designed by someone unfamiliar with the sport.

While the opening ceremonies were conducted under flags flown at half mast, technicians were earnestly duct-taping wresting mats from a local high school to the sharp steel columns that line the Luge Run. And so the “quiet competence” that Canadians were so proud of turns out to be another illusion on their part. At least they can go back to their “prosperous anonymity,” somewhat of a national motto, when the games are over and Canada once again enters the International Witness Protection Program and the rest of the world goes back to conjuring up fuzzy images of Canada involving maple syrup, mackinaws, moose, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and pictures of another country’s queen on their currency. Then, The Country That Wasn’t There will return to their accustomed place – out of sight, out of mind, and quietly shivering.

This was a report from The Department Of Pointing Out The Obvious

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