by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
May 17, 2001
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Earlier this week, I had a chance to spend a few days in Canada on business in Guelph, Ontario. I had a great time, and deci= ded that Canada is an excellent place to visit. The people are very friendl= y, the scenery is beautiful, and the towns are very clean and pretty safe. Oh, by the way, Guelph is pronounced "Gwelf," not"Goo-elf," as I found out.=
Luckily I found out before I got up there.
Now, if you're one of those alleged "one in four" American high sch= ool seniors who can't find Canada on a map, it's the big place to the north= of us where it gets really cold, and everyone says "aboot" and apologizes by saying they're "sore-ee," even though they swear they don't talk like th= at.
But as Canadian humorist Will Enns once pointed out to me, Canadian= s are underdogs who never complain about being Canadian, even though they'r= e penalized for it all the time. For example, Will says that Reader's Diges= t U.S. pays nearly $5,000 U.S. dollars for a feature article, while Reader's Di= gest Canada pays only $2,000 in Canadian dollars. That's about $1,300 U.S. do= llars for the same article. But does Will complain? Well, actually yes he d= oes, but can you blame him?
The thing about Canadians is that they're so nice about most things= , even when American jerks like me come to their country and crack jokes ab= out how -- because of the exchange rate -- Canadian cars only go 65% as fas= t as American cars, Canadian beer is only 65% as potent as American beer, o= r Canadian humorists are only 65% as funny as American humorists.
The same is true of Canadian border crossing guards: they only have= 65% of a sense of humor as American border crossing guards. I have also fo= und that if you make them the slightest bit annoyed, you'll find yourself e= xplaining to an Immigration officer why you'll be staying in Guelph, but sp= ending your days in Erin, Ontario, and how "product training" does not mean you're learning to make bombs.
While I was there, I had a chance to read the National Post,= Canada's national newspaper (motto: 65% as interesting as U.S.A Today= ),and saw a little news from home. It seems that Tom Green of Utah was ontr= ial for the state's first bigamy trial in 50 years. And before you ask, no this is not Canadian comedian Tom Green of MTV fame who is only 17.8% as fu= nny as anyone else in the world.
According to the article, even though bigamy is a felony, Utah has nearly 30,000 polygamists who are quietly tolerated by state authorities, a= s long as they don't publicly promote their lifestyle. Surprisingly, of the= 30,000 polygamists, only twelve of them are husbands.
But Green, a devout Mormon and outspoken supporter of polygamy, got= himself, his five wives (he's had a total of 10), and 29 children into a l= ittle hot water by appearing on shows like Dateline NBC and Jerry Springer.= As many people know, polygamy was acceptable, and even expected, when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the official name for Mormons)= began. So in Green's mind, he was doing what was religiously acceptable. A= lot.
Since Green basically didn't give Utah authorities a chance to look= the other way, they charged him with four counts of third-degree felony bi= gamy, and one count of criminal non-support. Green's five wives all support= their husband, and testified on his behalf. The jury convicted him on all= five counts, anyway, and he faces 25 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
"We feel that we're good parents," said Lee Ann Beagley, who is o= ne-fifth of Green's harem, referring to the fact that between six adults, t= hey currently have 29 children (25 live with them), and that three of the w= ives are pregnant. She then added that by "good" she means "astonishingly f= ertile," and by "parents," she means "baby factories who go at it like frea= kin' rabbits."
Accompanying the article was a picture of four of Green's five wive= s (the fifth, to whom he is married in the eyes of the state, was 13 when t= hey met in 1986 -- which is also causing some legal troubles for Green). An= d while "homely" might be a harsh description of the women, "pretty" wasn't= a word that came readily to mind, either.
But Tom Green's legal problems weren't the only interesting thing I= found in the paper. As I continued reading, I found a photo of Playboy mag= azine founder Hugh Hefner and his seven girlfriends at the Cannes Film Fest= ival. Yes, I said seven girlfriends. The photo took up nearly half t= he page.
You may have heard about Hef's latest escapades. After the breakup of his three year marriage, Hef was "emotionally bruised" and decided that the only way to heal the pain and mend his broken heart was to have frequen= t sex with seven hot women. He says he has a bed built for eight, which the= y all share. But recently, Hef has gotten some heat from his neighbors who complained that Hef's parties (22 in the past three months) are creating a lot of noise and traffic congestion in the area.
As I read the accompanying article, I realized: One one hand, we ha= ve poor Tom Green who could go to jail for 20 years for marrying fiv= e women. On the other is Hugh Hefner, who is admired by men everywhere beca= use he gets to have lots of sex with seven gorgeous women, but his neighbor= hood association complains that he has loud parties.
I've always held fast to the idea of "live and let live," so I won'= t condemn either Green or Hefner for their lifestyle choice. I will, howeve= r, make fun of both of them, since it's my job. But you have to wonder what= kind of society we live in where one man will go to jail for doing somethi= ng he believes was commanded by God, and another man is regarded as a hero for doing something that is biblically forbidden.
Is this a sign that society's morals are decaying? Are our nation's= priorities so screwed up that marriage is becoming illegal while premarita= l sex with many women is applauded? Or is it just another sign that there a= re only so many jokes I can make about Canada before I'm banned from ever e= ntering the country again?