Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A bookstore with a complex

I was in the mood for a new book so I stumbled into Chapter's, a Barnes and Noble style bookstore. Immediately upon entering the store it became clear to me that Chapter's, although a large nationwide bookseller, has a serious inferiority complex. The first sign that greets you as you enter the doorway reads, "Chapters. A great Canadian Company." I guess they are trying to seperate themselves from those great Swiss, Austrian, and Japanese companies dotting the country...although to be honest none of those companies has proclaimed themselves great is such a manner.

As I began to browse the books I came across an entire section of books labelled, "The World Needs More Canada". The books in this section were all written by or about Canadian's. I began to wonder - "Do I need more Canada?" To answer this question I looked at the books in the next section. These books were titled, "Tokyo Mangapop" and were being sold to those patrons over 16 years of age. I seriously weighed my options - "Mangapop" or "Canada", "Mangapop" or "Canada", "Mangapop" or "Canada". I chose Canada but it was a tight race since that anime "Mangapop" sure looked tempting.

After I picked up my Canadian book I took the escalator up to the 2nd floor. As I stood on the escalator I began to realize that the walls were lined with names of famous Canadians. The names on the wall staked claim to everyone from authors to actors to singers to entire comedy troupes. The first name I saw on the wall was Margaret Atwood. I thought the placement of her name on the wall seemed to make sense since she is an author and this is a bookstore. The next name I saw was Michael J. Fox. His name made a little less sense since he is an actor and not a writer but I gave him the benefit of the doubt since he has done so much activism and maybe even writing on the topic of Parkinson. Then I saw the names of Celine Dion and Alan Thicke. Upon seeing these name I stood agape while the gum fell out of my mouth on to the escalator stairs. I had this reaction because I still do not understand why any country would want to lay claim to Celine Dion. Nor do I understand why Alan Thicke is still considered "famous". I think the last time I saw Alan Thicke was on Growing Pains in the early 80's.

One notable name missing from the wall was Pater Jennings. I guess when you leave Canada and become an American citizen you are no longer considered to be a famous Canadian. I fear that this means that we might end up with Celine Dion in very the near future. It seems that Chapter's may have an inferiority complex but they sure know how to stick it to us.


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