The international community marked the 197th anniversary of the birth of Canada's first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald yesterday, by completely ignoring the man as well as the country he headed.
"Oh yeah, Canada -- you sorta forget about Canada, you know?" said Pierre Chirant, assistant to the French representative to the United Nations. "Because of the self-effacingness, and the lack of any real influence internationally, and the whole crouching behind the American representative during sessions thing."
"So they have their own historical figures, do they? Isn't that sweet. Good for them."
Despite proximity to Canada, Americans seemed no likelier to understand references to Macdonald, often considered a Canadian counterpart to the first American President, George Washington.
"Really, he's like one of your founding fathers? Gosh, I wonder why I haven't heard of him," mused Laurie Jaskonsky, 42, a Wisconsin mother of two. "We took a big road trip around Ontario a few years back with the kids - where was his monument?"
"There isn't one? Oh, well, that makes me feel better. I thought maybe it was my fault."
Ms. Jaskonsky added that, even if she had no knowledge of the man himself, she would have at least guessed he was Canadian, with such a boring name.
International apathy towards Macdonald failed to dampen enthusiasm for the iconic historical figure at home, however.
"C'mon, John A. Macdonald? First prime minister of Canada? The guy who once soiled himself in two places at once during a speech to parliament he was so drunk? Oh come ON," said Ottawa resident Bill Faunders, 31. "That's what I told my boss, but it didn't matter, he said I still had to come in today."
"So I'm celebrating in my own way, which I think is particularly appropriate: by coming to work drunk."
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