(I have never been to the United States of America and I can count the number of American people I have spoken to – face-to-face – on one hand. But I won’t let such a triviality stop me from writing this post.)
My knowledge of the United States is plentiful. Everything I know, I know because I saw it on the tellybox, or I heard it on the (BBC) news, or I saw it in a film, or Judy Blume told me. More recently, if I know it, I know it because of you, Oh American Reader on an American blogging site primarily used by American folk.
Some of what I know is very mundane. I know that when you say you’re going for a walk along the sidewalk, you really mean you’re taking a stroll on the pavement. I know that when you speak of that bum sitting on his fanny in the subway, you really mean that tramp sitting on his bum in the underground. I happily forgive you your laziness when it comes to omitting the ‘u’ in words such as favourite or colour, but I know that you know that when I say ‘I couldn’t care less’ I trump your ‘I could care less’ (and I know that you know that mine makes more sense.)
You went to elementary school, I went to primary school. You Thank, I Box. You drink in bars, I drink in pubs. You balance your checkbook, I balance my chequebook. You drive on the right, I (don’t) drive on the left. You have a back yard, I have a back garden. Your uncle is Sam, my uncle is Bob.
But some of what I know is very important. I know, for example, that you all own guns. Not only do you all own guns, but you all use them to hunt animals in mountains. When you’re not using them to hunt animals in mountains, you’re using them to shoot each other, often in public places. I’m aware that most of you, even those who are professionally trained, are not Good Shots though. Phew!
I also know that you’re either popular in school, or you’re a nerd. Popular (rich) kids ridicule nerdy (often poor) kids, but it’s ok because the nerdy (often poor) kids always come out tops, usually with the help of lots of blood and gore. Staying with the teenage theme, I know what kids on Band Camp get up to …
Everybody who lives in Queens is Hispanic. Everybody who lives in Brooklyn is the member of a gang. Everybody who lives in Texas is a cowboy. (Jessica Fletcher is the killer.)
I know that religion is very important in American society, apparently as long as it’s something safe (like Christianity or Judaism.) It’s fine for a Christian in America to spout hate and judge people in the name of God, but woe betide if a Muslim even attempts to open his mouth about anything.
When the Day of Judgement/End of the World comes along, America is going to be the country that gets all the action. But that’s cool, because you have the means (and money) to save yourself from destruction. Aliens seem to like America more than any other country on the planet … it must be like having that odd family member that nobody likes, constantly visiting you (but without the
I know that America rules the world. But Scientology owns America.
(I’m not sure which is scarier.)
please God bless America, for she is lovely xxx Elsabeth