Killin’ time


omething you see here in Florida a lot are exterminators. They seem to be all over the place. Now maybe it is the sub-tropical climate and the resulting increased variety and numbers of pests and creepy crawlies, compared with what we experience in Canada. Maybe.

Tamponians (is this what they are called?) are apparently plagued by snakes and scorpions and big, hairy spiders, if the signs are at all accurate. Rats are crawling all over the place here too, though why they are more common here than, say, in Toronto, I don’t know?

Musings about supply-and-demand aside, I think Americans are oddly wired to kill things, toward extermination in various forms. There is a martial strain to the national psyche, no doubt, that seems at odds with the reality of common, everyday interactions. Walk down the street and everyone you pass will nod and say “Hello!” Go into a store – any store –  and you will be wished a nice day, approached constantly with inquiries as to whether or not you need help, be called “Sir…”, by everyone and then, when your business is all over, be sent off with a “You have a nice day, now”.

Canadian don’t do this. We are polite in a more quiet and surly way. But then this politeness is juxtaposed with invading countries, with crime rates that make Canadians criminals look like amateurs, and they sell guns everywhere and to everyone. And they exterminate things.

Last week saw the tragic shootings in Arizona and the resulting debate on guns and guns control, that schizophrenic conversation Americans have with themselves every time something like this happens. Two sides of the national psyche – friendly and ferocious.