in which I do not attempt to speak French

When I was in Montreal for Comicon, I had this idea to open my talk with a little bit of French. I’d apologize for not really knowing much French, but through the magic of Google Translate, I could say “good morning Montreal…” and a few other things. It would quickly fall apart into “my hovercraft is full of eels” territory, and we’d all have a good laugh at the stupid American.

The problem was, even though I had the computer talking to me and the words right in front of me, I couldn’t learn it, because French is hard. Then, I got worried that the audience would think maybe I was making fun of their language and culture, instead of my own. So I shelved the bit, and instead explained what I was going to do and why I didn’t do it. Very meta, Wheaton.

Oh? How nice of you to notice. Thanks.

So my talk (which I’ve learned is called a “conference” in Montreal) opened with that bit of pseudo humour, and then moved into what I thought was a really nice discussion about gaming and how much I love being a nerd.

At one point — and I can’t remember how exactly it came up — I mentioned something about the Stanley Cup, which turned into something about how 1993 was soooooo long ago*, which turned into something about the Maple Leafs**.

I engaged in some good-natured gloating about my beloved Los Angeles Kings being the Stanley Cup champions, and when 1500 people rightfully booed and hollered at me, here was my response:

Yes! Yes! Give in to your hatred!

“Yes! Yes! Your tears taste so good!” I declared. Then, we all had a good laugh together.

As the moment passed, I realized that I had made a careful and deliberate choice to not insult the audience’s language and culture … so I insulted their religion instead.

Post updated to include link to an audience recording of my talk.


*That’s when the Habs beat the Kings in the Finals

** If you don’t know why that’s funny, just forget it. You’re probably not a hockey fan and explaining it to you would only bore you and annoy the pig.


32 thoughts on “in which I do not attempt to speak French”

  1. ** I get it. My da had tickets to that series. I miss the stories he used to tell about those games. For now, for 1 game a season (if there’s a season.. eep!) I drag out my ancient Barilko jersey to wear when the Leafs come to visit the Oil…

    1. I agree it is off topic, but I have been thinking about it too, I think Wil should do like Apple – and pick a family of animals. Felidae is taken, so it would have to be another family.

  2. I’ve always had a hard time following hockey… literally following the puck, and the lightening speed they slap that little ice cream sandwich around.

    At one point, they actually added an animation, highlighting the puck so you could see where it was…As a hockey noob I really liked that.

  3. Tidbit unknown by most Americans….
    Hardest languages in the world to learn
    1. Chinese
    2. Japanese
    3. English

  4. I was at your conférence last weekend in Montréal and all french speaking person agreed that it is better to apologize in not speaking the native language instead of apologized for French language masacrer … and communication is finding common ground : As Montrealer, I said : GO HABS GO !!!

  5. My late wife was a Leafs fan, but I didn’t give her too much crap about it because I figured, hey, I’m in Florida and still found a girl who’s a hockey fan of ANY stripe. Go Devils!

  6. Toy Soldiers in Spanish? It’s nothing. Your German voice in Eureka is the same as the German voice of Spongebob! So at least you do not sound like a girl (more like a cartoon character).

  7. Wil, we’re used to people trying and failing at French because it is fricken hard to learn, but you know, it’s still always hilarious when people try. On the other hand, you have to learn to say “Montreal” like a local anglo because saying it wrong is worse than butchering an attempt at French. You know the Munsters? Yeah, take that u and put it where the o is in Montreal and you have it. :)

  8. Hi WIl,
    First off, it was great meeting you at the Con in Montreal. I hope you enjoy the Jean Beliveau puck. I kept reminding myself to bring some pics of myself, my late dad and Mr. Beliveau (basically its the POA that he really signed it) for you to see. You have not met a classy gentleman, until you’ve met him. I want to also thank you for stopping by my booth and taking some awesome pics with me and my car, and my friend’s daughter. All her friends are jealous. Its too bad I didn’t know in advance that you needed a few french phrases; I’m perfectly bilingual, however as an English person, I would have given you a few phrases to really please the French fans in the audience. I saw your opening remarks on a youtube video, and I liked the 1993 remark; the Habs deserve it, and also the Leafs comment, “ask your parents”. That was truly funny. Keep well, perhaps our paths will cross again, all the best, Ian R.

  9. I was lucky enough to see your panel & meet you at Comiccon since I couldn’t see you when you where in Australia – you mentioned you loved Australia, but we don’t really have hockey – so I admit I had no idea what you were talking about when you mentioned the Stanley cup!

  10. I was one of those obnoxious Habs fans that booed you. But I’ll forgive you cause you rock. I live in Toronto now and drove to Montreal to visit old friends and family and to go to Comicon to see you, Shatner & Stewart. Hard to deal with those sad Leaf fans. 45 years and counting. Come again next year. I’ll come again!

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