Happy 4th of July, fellow Americans. And by happy, I mean confused, extremely anxious, and constantly craving processed cheese, melted between pieces of butter-slathered white bread.
Let’s level with each other. Things are rough. Our basic freedom is at stake, racism is running rampant and at the wheel is a man who punctuates Tweets based on grammatical rules unknown to any but him.
So on this bittersweet day, I’d like to use my "pen" to assign grades to some of the Most American Things.
Privatized healthcare: F In a nutshell: healthcare in America is not considered a basic human right. See also: TV commercials for prescription drugs.
Baseball: A- I’ve only been to three baseball games in my life. We sat up in the stands, paid minimal attention to the game, drank beer and shouted a bunch. I couldn’t speak more highly of the experience. Only points docked are for it being a sport.
The Electoral College: C- I see what they tried to do but it’s as problematic as most America colleges.
PB&J: A+ I love this combination more than I love most people in my life.
Guns: F Have you ever been hit with a paintball? That shit hurts. Just ask our British exchange student in 7th grade who, in his excitement over shooting a paintball gun accidentally shot himself point blank in the finger. You really can ask him- in the moment, he was completely disarmed, however he managed to survive the experience. Real guns with real bullets are extremely unnecessary. I’d say we’re overthinking this one, but I don’t think that’s ever been America’s problem.
NASCAR: B AKA Drivin’ In Circles. Incomprehensible to me, and yet also kind of benign? I’ll allow it, but it loses points for being an unofficial conservative convention.
Bald eagles: A+ So cool. They look bald, but they just have white feathers on their heads. Classic American misdirection.
The Kardashians: One gold star The most alliterative of all reality TV families, the horse-haired Kardashians have woven their extensions into the very fabric of our society. One of them even ended police brutality armed only with a pout and a can of Pepsi.
LaCroix: A Don’t let the French name fool ya. LaCroix is from Wisconsin, and is officially pronounced incorrectly (it actually IS La-croy.) The bubbly liquid inside the cans is delicious, but beyond this, LaCroix symbolizes so much of what America is all about. It has it all. Noisy packaging design. Periods of popularity interspersed with valleys of obsoleteness, spanning decades (see also: Britney Spears). Zero calories. AND you can buy it in bulk without leaving your perfect, butt-shaped crater in the couch. God bless.
The American Dream: Incomplete Or as I like to call it, ThAD. Appropriately named after a mediocre white guy who built something out of *nothing* except for his determination and his family's overwhelming wealth.
Litigation: C+ One of biggest things I noticed living in Thailand for a year was how people just sort of made decisions based on common sense. There were very few warning labels and written agreements, and if something were to go down, the first attempt at remedy was not via legal action. I spent the entire year making mental notes of what wouldn’t fly in the US- like fruit sold directly from someone’s bare hand, or riding side-saddle on a motorcycle. While I generally think we are much too quick to slap each other with lawsuits, or blame others for our mistakes based on technicalities, I do think our insistence on getting signed permission slips before transporting groups of schoolchildren is fair enough.
Xenophobia: F Not to be confused with Xenaphobia, the fear of Warrior Princesses, or Xerophobia, the fear of duplicates, this is racist, pathetic, and as American as apple pie.
Apple pie: B- Overrated.
Britney Spears: A From her humble beginnings, sitting in an extremely uncomfortable position on the cover of “…Baby One More Time” to her current wildly popular (if bizarre) Instagram presence, we have kept one eyeball on Britney for the better part of twenty years and I for one have yet to be disappointed.
Freedom of speech: A+ See also: all of the above.