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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Canada (01/29/09)

TITLE: Wilson the Metaphor
By Rick Higginson


Bob was always interesting to watch television with. He always saw allegories and metaphors in the oddest places, and loved sharing them. I suspect he was the kid the English teachers loved, and the rest of us hated. While we were scratching our heads wondering what on Earth the author was trying to say in a book, Bob was spouting off fantastic ideas as though they should have been completely obvious to all of us.

We were sitting in the dayroom, watching old reruns of “Home Improvement” when Bob had one of his epiphanies. “Bravo,” he said at the commercial break. “A brilliant play on international politics!”

“I thought we were watching silly old comedy shows to forget about politics,” I said.

“That’s the beauty of it! This is so masterfully done, most people would never catch on that they’re getting political commentary!”

“Political commentary? Um, the Tool Man just asked his neighbor for advice, misunderstood most of what he was told, and did more grunting than conversing. I didn’t see anything political.”

“Oh, come on; you don’t get it? Seriously? Think about it; Wilson is Canada. It’s so obvious!”

I knew I was going to regret asking. “Wilson, the nut-job neighbor, is Canada? How did you reach that conclusion?”

“You’re kidding, right? Look; throughout the show, Wilson is only perceived as a nut-job. In almost every show, though, he’s up to something that looks completely weird to his neighbor, but that he’s always doing well. He’s smart, competent, wise, a good neighbor, doesn’t cause trouble, and yet, is never really seen in the show. Not once, in all the episodes that they aired, did they show the actor’s full face until the final bow of the finale.”

“That half-hidden face thing was just a running gag in the show.”

“It was genius, I tell you! Just as Tim Taylor never really sees Wilson’s face, so also most Americans never really look at Canada. We know our neighbor is there, but we don’t take the time to see him.”

“So Tim Taylor is America, then?”

“More like the American Government, I’d say. Supremely confident, marginally competent, and just as likely to mess things up as to fix them. If it wasn’t for Al, who is kind of like the average American worker, Tim would never accomplish anything. Wilson, on the other hand, is always there in his back yard, quietly going about his own business, and is only really thought about when he’s needed. You know, like Canada.”

I was glad we weren’t watching “Two and a Half Men”; I didn’t want to even think about what kind of political metaphors Bob would find in the innuendo and scatological humor of that show. Innuendo? Scatological? Yikes; now I’m starting to use college words like Bob does. Maybe I should see if the Three Stooges are on.

“Canada isn’t the star of the show,” Bob continued. “It just borders on our back yard, comporting itself with quiet dignity and staying out of trouble, while we bumble about and think ourselves superior. Yet, no matter what, Canada is always there at the fence, with that friendly greeting of ‘Hi-dee-ho, good neighbor!”

“Well, except for maybe Quebec, which is more likely to say, ‘bonjour mes amis.”

He didn’t miss a beat. “It makes you wonder what Wilson ever got out of the deal.”

“They did have that assurance that, if the Soviet Union ever came across Alaska to North America, we’d have to deal with them first.”

“Hmm…” he said. “I’ll have to watch the show some more and see if any Cold War metaphors show up. You may be on to something.”

I was on to something, all right. I was on to a rerun of Mythbusters on another channel. I’d like to see Bob come up with political metaphors for two guys blowing stuff up just to test urban legends.

Wilson equals Canada, yeah…

…then again, he might just be on to something, too.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 02/05/09
Very clever, and I suspect the following is just about right: “Canada isn’t the star of the show,” Bob continued. “It just borders on our back yard, comporting itself with quiet dignity and staying out of trouble, while we bumble about and think ourselves superior. Yet, no matter what, Canada is always there at the fence, with that friendly greeting of ‘Hi-dee-ho, good neighbor!”

I didn't know we said "hi-dee-ho" but then I haven't actually lived in Canada for the last 15 years (lol)

Very good.
Gina Woods02/05/09
Wonderfully creative...I love it!
Joanne Sher 02/06/09
Completely creative and out of the box. FUN!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/06/09
A very clever and enjoyable metaphor
Seema Bagai 02/06/09
Cleverly written. This is certainly out of the box.
Sonya Leigh02/07/09
I just LOVED this. Very funny--the conversation was a hoot! Nicely done.
Karlene Jacobsen02/07/09
I'll never watch Home Improvement the same again.(hehe) I love the imagination Bob had. His metaphoric antenna were amazing.
Catrina Bradley 02/07/09
Very good! The allegory and the writing both excellent. Great dialogue.
Linda Payne02/09/09
This was perfect. I didn't enter the challenge this week because, sad to say, I just couldn't think of anything. It's really humbling, to me anyway, that we have this huge, marvelous country right above us, yet I know so little about it.
Jan Ackerson 02/09/09
How does your mind work??? This was an awesome metaphor, and great fun to read.
Diana Dart 02/09/09
Fantastic. Loved every line of this one - clever, funny and the dialogue flowed so well with the MC's thoughts. You are definitely onto something!
Gerald Shuler 02/09/09
Does that mean "Three's Company" brought Mexico into the metaphor? Wonderful writing. I loved every twisted insight.
Sara Harricharan 02/11/09
Hoo boy. I loved this! Hilarious, but with plenty of stuff for my brain to pounce on and think through. I loved it. Great characters especially. ^_^
Angela M. Baker-Bridge02/11/09
Wilson would have loved this...Tim wouldn't get it...Jill would be calling him an idiot. You must have had lots of fun.
Leah Nichols 02/12/09
You obviously thought that one through! Well done.