My new daughter-in-law, has started taking conversational English classes. As she is Japanese, she thought it would be a good idea for her to learn how to speak English like a real Canadian. Prior to her 1st class, she asked me, over dinner, what does it mean when Canadians say ‘eh’. I informed her that the word itself had no meaning, but was more of an idiom of speech, to imply right?, or okay?, often used in sentences like, ‘Its really snowing out there, eh?’, or, ‘ That moose looks like he’s gonna try and steal our beer, eh?’. I told her that it was an essential part of speaking like a Canadian, and she should employ it in her conversations whenever possible. My wife, and daughter, who were with us at the time, we equally encouraging, and we sent the lovely, young woman off to be with her husband, my son.
The next day, my wife received a call from my son. “Did dad lose his mind.?”, he asked.
“You’d better talk to him.”, my wife said, and handed me the phone.
“What did you do to my wife?”, he asked me. All day and night, anything she says, is followed by eh. Can you pass the milk, eh. Its cold, eh. Give me a kiss, eh.” I tried to hold my laughter inside, but it was swelling up like lava in a dormant volcano.
“So, what’s the problem, eh?”, I replied. “She wants to be a real Canadian, and I offered to turn her into one.”
“She’s driving me crazy.”, he continued. “All day and night, that’s all I hear. Eh this, or eh that. Sometimes, its just, Tony, eh? I don’t know what she wants half the time. Its driving me crazy. And I cant get her to stop because she says dad told her to practice using it all of the time.”
I love my daughter-in-law. She’s smart, and funny, and full of life. She’s also cute as all get out. My son found himself a great girl. Its just too bad he has no idea how to relax.
“You need to relax.”, I told him. “Take a pill, or something. If this is stressing you out so much, what the hell are you going to do when I teach her how to make moose calls?”
“Please.”, he begged. “Can you just leave my wife alone?”
“You need to get a sense of humor.”, I advised him. “You should probably go to Bulk Barn, and get a good, Canadian one. And as for leaving your wife alone, well, just grow a pair, eh?”
He didn’t want to speak with me any longer, and asked to talk to his mother. “Why do you have to get him going like that? Why must you agitate the kids?”, she asked as I passed her the phone.
“Its what I do.”, I replied, but she was no longer listening. She was on the phone, promising my son that I would no longer teach his wife to do things that irritated him, and that she would keep an eye on the crazy, old man.
“He’s pretty upset.”, my wife said after hanging up the phone.
“Who?”, I asked.
“Who do you think?”, she replied.
“The boy?” , I asked as I started laughing. “He’s an idiot. What the hell is wrong with your son, eh?”
“My son?”, she asked. “Now he’s my son? And don’t start that ‘eh’ thing with me.”
“Indeed.”, I said. “From now on, not a word. I will behave myself, and sit silently. Be sure that I will no longer willingly upset those who have come to grace our table, but forgot to bring their balls along.”
“Good.”, my wife said. “Its about time.” I was feeling angst ridden, at the prospect of having to stop my mind from going for its customary walks down whatever road it happened to find itself on.
“Do you want me to start now?”, I asked. “There are a couple of things I would like to address before I put my sense of humor away-eh.”
“What is it?”, she asked, although I was almost certain that she didn’t really want to hear it.
“Well, firstly, I already promised Saori that I would teach her how to cuss like a Canadian. I would really like to honor my promise to her.”
“No.”, my wife said.
“Its okay, You can take your time and think about it.”, I told her.
“No. And second?”, she asked.
“Well, your boob has fallen out of your top. If its intentional, I just want to thank you. And if its an accident, just forget I mentioned it.”
My wife didn’t move. Accident or not, she left her boob right where it was.
“Wanna fool around?”, I asked.
“Will it shut you up?”, she queried.
“Probably not”, I said, “Its likely that I’m going to cuss like a Canadian. But I’m willing to give it a whirl.”
“By the way, how do Canadian’s cuss?”, she asked as I moved up next to her.
“You’re about to find out.”, I answered. “Let me know if you like it, eh.”