Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Ruddy Inc. Part II

Just as I predicted would happen based on the invoice in the last package, Natural Resources Canada sent another piece of mail to Ruddy Ruddy: a huge manila envelope containing five copies of a kit titled "Climate Change: Are You Doing Your Bit?" The contents are:

- A letter from Minister of the Environment David Anderson and Minister of Natural Resources Herb Dhaliwal explaining that climate change has been called the most significant environmental issue that the world has ever faced.
- Fact sheets on climate change explaining its effect on Canada and the World, its "potential to have serious impacts [sic] on your health, and the science behind it. This information appears in virtually identical form online here, here, and here.
- An energy efficiency publications order form.
- A Car Economy Calculator and log that actually looks kind of practical.
- newsletter called "Think Climate: Change", which appears online here.
- A pamphlet called "Idling Is Killing Our Environment"

"Sending out all this junk mail is killing the environment," my housemate Shanel pointed out as we opened up the package together. "Sending five information kits to one person is killing the environment." I waited to see if she would fall silent and let a single tear fall down her cheek, since she is, after all, Native American. However, she merely continued, "But I guess since they think you're a company, you'll just give these to your employees."

That leads me to an announcement: Ruddy Inc. is now hiring. Applicants are asked to please e-mail resumes to

Apparently, the Rt. Hon. Mr. Dhaliwal must have passed along my address to the Rt. Hon. Mr. Anderson when they sat down together to write their letter to me, because Environment Canada also sent a package. That makes not one, but two government ministries that acknowledge Ruddy Ruddy as a solid, upstanding citizen of Canada. However, where Natural Resources Canada has addressed the mail to "Ruddy Inc.", Environment Canada just sent it to plain old Ruddy Ruddy.

Inside is something every Canadian knows, loves, and was bored insensate by as a child: Hinterland Who's Who. For the last 40 years, these educational vignettes have taught us about the little critters of our home and native land while demonstrating Einsteinian relativity by managing to make a 60-second television spot seem like an hour, all to a hauntingly familiar flute tune. While the big manila envelope doesn't actually contain the commercials, it does contain fact sheets on the American robin, bats, the Eastern grey squirrel, the great blue heron, the great horned owl, the herring gull, the raccoon, the ring-billed gull, the striped skunk, and the woodchuck.

And you know what? Now that it's not keeping me from watching Spiderman and Rocket Robin Hood, and now that I'm able to read it in pamphlet form while sitting on the can, Hinterland Who's Who is actually pretty interesting. For instance:

Skunks seem to be aware of the repulsiveness of their own odour and avoid scenting on themselves. They therefore avoid musking in confined spaces, and their dens have little of the skunk odour about them. Skunks may be carried in a burlap bag or a covered live trap, as long as they are not bumped or badly frightened.

Wow! Not only has Hinterland Who's Who taught me how to carry a skunk (and you never know when you might need to use that skill), but it's also taught me a little about its psychology -- namely, that the skunk is a particularly self-conscious animal. He knows he stinks, but he really tries hard to not stink so much. It almost makes me feel sorry enough for the little guy to not stuff him into a burlap bag and lug him around.

Once again, a useful service has been rendered to me by the government of Canada, and I'm happy to pay my taxes.


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