Don’T ‘Rock’ The Canadians



I’ve never been a big Rock-Paper-Scissors guy.

Oh, I’ve occasionally engaged in the activity just to settle something or other, but a coin toss always seemed so much simpler and faster. And when it comes to purely mindless activities, I generally prefer Tic Tac Toe or even Solitaire.

In Canada, on the other hand, they take their Rock-Paper-Scissors seriously. Proof of that comes in a recent article by Nancy Carr of Canadian Press.

Carr writes of the International Rock-Paper-Scissors Championship held last month in Toronto, where 250 “adults” squared off for $2,000 in prize money, “proving the age-old pastime is no longer played only to determine who gets the last slice of pizza or the shotgun seat in a car.”

For those of you whose childhoods were deprived, Rock-Paper-Scissors is played by two people who simultaneously “flash” one of three hand signals at one another: a clenched-fist rock, a flat-palmed piece of paper, or a two-fingered pair of scissors. The winner is determined using the following natural laws: rock crushes scissors, paper covers rock, and, of course, scissors cut paper. If the players “throw” the same signal, it’s a draw.

Our good but complex-ridden neighbors to the north like to rant and rave about how they are overshadowed by their larger, flashier and louder continent-mates how their very soul as a people has been gutted by the imposition of American values, styles and our complete lack of taste.

With sincere apologies to Frank and Lorna Hansen and Joan Barber, Canadian friends who live here in the Rim country, might I suggest that part of this overshadowing problem lies with the Canadians themselves.

I mean, how exciting can a country be that is totally fixated on Rock-Paper-Scissors?

And the Canadians are fixated. The Rock-Paper-Scissors Society, also based in Toronto, has hundreds of members who work very hard at turning the game into a psychological exercise, rife with tactics and strategies. Society founder Douglas Walker, a 31-year-old Torontonian, explained it thus:

“When you start playing longer rounds, a best-of-three or game-set-match type of scenario, the strategy does start to evolve. People are incapable of being random, so it’s all about trying to capitalize on those patterns that people either consciously or unconsciously reveal in their throwing.”

Longer rounds? That’s right, those whacky Canadians sure know how to multiply their fun.

“We were trying to decide something and we played Rock-Paper-Scissors and had a best of 15 rounds,” Walker told Carr.

On that note, please allow me the following observations:

  • Do the Canadian people really expect Americans not to dictate fashion and style to a country that wiles the time away playing multiple rounds of Rock-Paper-Scissors?
  • But then what should we expect from a country that plays football on a 110-yard field? Imagine how much trouble the Cardinals would have scoring on a 110-yard field?
  • The culture we’re shoving down their throats may be inspired by old John Wayne movies, but by God you’ve never seen the Duke settle anything with a conciliatory game of Rock-Paper-Scissors.
  • Haven’t they ever seen a Playstation 2 in Canada?

On the other hand, maybe we should be good neighbors and adopt a more sensitive, multi-cultural attitude toward this Rock-Paper-Scissors fixation of the Canadians by applying some of its more attractive qualities right here in the Rim country. To wit:

  • Weighty decisions like should the mayor resign, should the town purchase the Garcia property down on Main Street, and should busy-bodied residents be allowed to speak on every item on the agenda of every meeting could as easily be resolved with multiple rounds of Rock-Paper-Scissors as by any logic we’ve seen employed over at Town Hall. And it would sure speed up the pace of Channel 4, the world’s last remaining motionless TV station.
  • The next time a mayoral election comes up we can save the town a lot of money, not to mention grief, by using Rock-Paper-Scissors to decide the outcome instead of enduring the candidates verbally beating each other to a bloody stub.
  • And finally, I’m betting that Rock-Paper-Scissors is simplistic enough that even cows can grasp the concept. And in that probability is a wonderful opportunity to bring rodeo into the 21st century by turning it into a more civilized sport.

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