Thursday, June 3, 2010


1990-91 Topps card, left; 1990-1991 O-Pee-Chee...Image via Wikipedia

It's sometimes very strange being Canadian. When in the USA, kids of a certain inclination would get all obsessive about collecting playing cards featuring sports players on them, trading with friends, buying albums to keep them in, buying pack after pack to find elusive cards required to complete sets, eschewing the opposite sex entirely, they would do so in support of a company called "Topps". In Canada, however, while all of the above could well be true, it would be in support of a company with an altogether stranger name: "O-Pee-Chee".

Like summer camps and Boy Scout events from the 1960s,the O-Pee-Chee name feels like a vague English-friendly approximation of a native American word, and according to O-Pee-Chee themselves, it is: they claim it means "the Robin", and is an 'aboriginal word' (since there is, you know, only one Frist Nations language). Why a trading card company would name itself after a bird, I don't know. But they do also point out the more obvious fact: that it's a rough homophone for "Oh! Peachy!", which is what I presume they hoped prepubescent boys would squeal upon receiving a pack of these cards.

It now being a good forty years since anyone ever uttered the interjection 'peachy' with anything other than satirical intent, it's a name that evokes little more than (1) what a silly name, and (2) part of it is a word for urine. Yay!

Not that 'Topps' is that great a name, mind you. But at the same time, well, it's no 'O-Pee-Chee'.

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