So, in celebration of being free and living in one of the best countries in the world, oh and also beating the British, not having a queen, and in celebration of being independent, all day, every day, we are going to go over a few of the many reasons, serious and not so serious, that I love being an American gal. Let’s do this Tom Petty…
Small pleasures in life easily taken for granted, part one.
I can mow my yard and vacuum my floors on a Sunday and there’s not one thing anyone can do about it. I could do it in my underwear if I wanted, and if you look in my yard, it’s your own fault, mind your business. I can also have a family of garden gnomes and and Christmas lights and a Santa in my yard year round and no one can fine me. Not that I would, as those garden gnomes are creepy and a Santa on your yard and unexplained Christmas lights during summer typically means you’re lazy or white trash, but still, I could if I wanted to and that’s great.
When you’re six, you can dream of being President, a dentist, a teacher, a race car driver, a football player or a pole dancer and no one can take that away from you. Though my dreams in life seemed to change with no rhyme or reason, they were mine and all mine to fulfill. In fifth grade I wanted to be President. In seventh, an Olympic Diver, in tenth an English teacher. In college, a sports broadcaster, an Arabic translator and Ambassador to somewhere colorful in the world. Twenty years from wanting to be President, I just want to write. In America you can change your mind a million times and there’s no such thing as too late to start a career. Just the other day one of our parents declared, “I think we’ll just quit our jobs and work at Home Goods or Home Depot. Less stress and shopping discounts.” They are retiring and seeking a new life filled with garden mulch and fluffy comforters, the true pleasures in life when you’ve had enough of corporate America. I think it’s amusing…
Point is, in the U.S., no one decides what you’ll be when you’re older, no one chooses what school to send you to and no one decides what color collar you’ll be by the age of ten and if you don’t become what you want to be, it is no one’s fault but your own. I live in a country where hard work and determination are the keys to success and where an honest days work is something to feel proud of. You are the master of your own destiny and that’s pretty powerful, too. Well, I was born in a country where these things are true, or should be, but I don’t know how many people believe in all that anymore. Hard telling sometimes.
So you’d like to be an ass all your life? Sure, most of New York chooses to be, and we all still love New York, don’t we? Here are some fun things you can do and get away with it in the U.S.: You can give the finger to some assclown in traffic and not worrying about getting fined later. (you cannot do this in the current country I live in, remember) You can also call people a variety of colorful adjectives to their face and if done carefully in print– asshole, doucehbag, moron, cunt or dick and no one can do a thing about it, except your mother, maybe, if she does that mouth and soap thing still…..Now for those of you reading this NOT from America, let’s clarify…this behavior is prodiminently from the New York/Philadelphia/Jersey region, exemplified by the worst of all worst football (the sport played using a brown, almond shaped ball) fans, and it’s not classy, true…but if you want to act like a douchebag to someone else, you can. No one said you have to act civilized…isn’t that for the British?
Our cheese makes the best damned grilled cheese in the world. I’m saying it now and standing by my opinion: Cheese toast be damned. And, I don’t care if American cheese is the most processed cheese in the world. If you don’t believe me about the way it melts and goos in two pieces of bread, I will make you a grilled cheese with Kraft and you will be a believer, I. promise.
Religion. I don’t have to believe in your God or any God or I can believe in unicorns and pixie dust and magic or worship a starfish if I want and no one can beat me, kill me, shun me from society or tell me what I believe in or don’t believe in is wrong. You can be bat ass crazy, waving your hands over your head, speaking in tongues, crying yourself a river over your savior, saying Praiiiiiiise Jeeeeeeesus all you until you pass out. You can form a cult and drink your kool-aid. You can love Alla and Jehovah and spend your days knocking on doors and pushing your pamphlets, wearing your crosses or burning them to ash. Glue a fish to your car, near drown your child in a pool full of umm, normal water, Monk it with your vow of silence, starve yourself into hallucination to purify yourself and rid your spirit of the badness, light a cat on fire for Lucifer, tie a red string on your wrist and call it a day. I don’t care and neither does anyone else.
More fun with freedom! I can read every book on the world-wide banned list and I can burn them when I’m done. You can pledge allegiance or not, fight a war, go to college or sit on the beach drinking beer and smoking weed for a decade, up to you. Another fun hobby you can partake in? Being a redneck, whether as a hobby or as a lifestyle, depends really on how much you love camo, hunting season and four wheeling, and on whether or not you live in the appropriate region. You can ride around in your truck with a shotgun in the back window, chewing tobacco and hitting up a drive-through that serves Jim Beam. Now granted, that last scenario described is typically done in Texas which could really be its own country, but in a sense it’s pretty bad ass and though I’ve never done such, you can if you want to. Freedom, freedom, freedom. Where else in the world does that seem normal?
Now, mastering laziness and maximizing holidays. Though we have the least amount of paid time off, and therefore (I think) the largest number of insane people on Earth, we do know how to relax when given the opportunity. The Americans have the art of bbqing and lazy Sundays down to a science. I know the art of grilling meat, marinating meat, having a solid condiment selection, a good playlist, ample alcohol selection, a bonfire, and when it is appropriate and not appropriate to launch off fireworks from your backyard while sitting in the pool. I am a master of backyard hammock napping, sprinkler hopping, ice cream truck chasing summer fun.
Now, on a more serious note, voting. This is one American freedom with a value I may never be able to quantify. I can vote in any election in my country with no fear of being persecuted or judged or killed. My opinion matters and it’s powerful to know that I can make a difference. In one election, I can vote for a conservative Republican and in the next, I can vote for a progressive Democrat. I can vote by the issues and not for a party and I can sit in public with my friends and color the states as they turn red or blue on Election Night.
And two last things that are most important to me. I can run this big mouth of mine until I’m blue and no one can silence me. I know most of what I say is random and useless and somewhat outrageous and I’m fine with that. That’s me. And last, last, lastly, in Heather terms, I am the boss of me, no one owns me, no one will ever change me, and I will always be what I choose to be—the good, the bad and all the in-between. And in life, really, what else matters?
Now, all the fun and somewhat serious reasons I’m proud to be an American aside, I think it’s important we all remember one thing today while we eat hot dogs, drink lemonade and eat the hell out of some apple pie. Some people in this world could never write half of what I just did or say any of the outrageous things that come out of my mouth, because the First Amendment is something they will never know. Some people in this world will never get the chance to be annoyed that they had to wait an hour in the rain to vote for someone they’re not sure will do the job because they don’t even have the opportunity to stand in that line in the first place. Some people give their life to have their voice heard. Some people fight a life long war because they don’t have a choice and some people live in world where destruction and poverty and struggle is all they may ever know. And so without getting too crazy serious, I think today if I am going to celebrate one thing, it’s the fact that as an American, I have the luxury sometimes of taking this thing called freedom for granted. But not today. Today I will be grateful and proud. 🙂
Now, let’s leave this post on a high note and rock out with The Boss and “Born in the USA”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIekamBDiAw&feature=related
Nothing like a little Boss to kick off your Fourth of July celebration. Happy 4th to all my friends and family back home!