The word nation conjures up many different ideas and emotions depending on the context you use it in. For example I am a Canadian, Canada is the nation in which I live. Canadians by in large tend to be pretty ambivalent about nationhood, we are proud but not so much that we feel the need to constantly thump our chests and yell it to whom ever is listening.
There are other more closely held affiliations that consider themselves nations, take for example the Aryan Nation, or the Nation of Islam. Both of these groups consider themselves nations based on an ideology. I can proudly say that I am not a member of either of those nations. Much too demanding and pigeonholed in their world view for my liking.
There are nations of sports enthusiasts, in Saskatchewan the Roughriders’ fans form the banjo picking, tractor driving, sister dating Rider Nation that somehow manages to sell out Mosaic Stadium week after week. I can say that about my neighbours to the west because I support my home town Blue Bombers and all is fair in love and sports leading up to the Banjo Bowl here in Winnipeg this weekend.
But it wasn’t until today that I was featured on a billboard as part of a nation that I stopped and thought about it for more than a few seconds. Late in July I took part in a photo session in support of local country radio station QX-104. It was all part of a lazy day in the last week of my vacation. My girlfriend had told me about a chance to pick up a couple of free t-shirts and it sounded like a good way to kill an afternoon.
I really didn’t think much about how my likeness would be used until today I got a text message at work from my loving partner saying she had seen me on a billboard on the way to work. ‘A-ha’ I thought, I was wondering when I was going to see myself in print somewhere connected to that afternoon.
So here I am large as life, a big Batman like logo on my chest and straw hat cocked ever so slightly on my head. Proudly proclaiming that I was a member of the QX Nation. Don’t get me wrong I am slowly starting to enjoy the odd country diddy. But part of a nation? Nationhood bestowed for the price of a T-Shirt and an afternoon in the sun? Hmmm.
Well I suppose of all the nations that I could be a part of, a nation that supports drunken bar brawls, pick up trucks, swimmin nekid, losing your woman and relying on a trusted hound dog is right up my alley. I don’t have to expose myself to hate speech, or thump my chest in anything but song.
Thinking about it now, maybe a nation built around family, friends and strumming a guitar is a pretty good way to go. I might just give this QX Nation a try… After all if it gets too weird I can always just change the station.