As a forcibly exiled American stuck in Iberia I always become a little wistful and sad this week. While so many of my former countrymen are back home spending quality time with family and friends, enjoying cookouts, camping, setting off fireworks, getting drunk, fighting, picking up a new domestic violence charge or two, suffering various degrees of burns, blowing off large portions of their masturbatory hands and simply being all-American Idiots, I’m here in Spain trying in vain to stick a cheap sparkler in a plate of churros and trying not to weep.
I’m craving a one pound beef burger cooked on an open flame and all I can get is a fried hamburguesa. I want to hear Neil Diamond belting out “Yea, They’re Coming to America” while I think of Eddie Murphy in Coming to America and that barbershop scene where the three old guys (all played by Eddie) are arguing about boxing and I laugh and laugh because Eddie used to be funny… but all I can hear is some really, really bad techno. I wanted to wear an American flag printed robe, shorts and top hat… so I did, but the Spanish kept thinking it was about soccer and that maybe I didn’t know the US was out, so they laughed and laughed and laughed until I had to take the whole outfit off.
But then I realized something; I’m an American, damn it. I know I should have probably realized that while I was wearing the top hat and flaggy, satin shorts and being laughed at, and I guess I did, but I forgot what it meant to be an American. So I stopped wallowing in my self pity like some socialized medicine recipient dying of stage 4 leukemia, and I picked myself up by my Dolce and Gabbana sandal straps (what? I live in Europe. Stop being so fucking judgmental) and I decided to help inexperienced Americans who happen to be traveling abroad this Fourth of July to feel more patriotic. So I made a quick US patriot guide….
Do NOT exchange your money- Sure, the travel brochures and guides ‘strongly suggest’ you exchange your dollars for the local currency but it’s nothing more than a scam. This is just a way for the banks and the dirty cab drivers to steal your hard earned money. If they don’t use dollars then they don’t deserve your business.
Always dress appropriately- Make sure to always wear bright, floral pattered shirts. If you decide to wear shorts then please remember to wear knee length socks and black shoes. If you have the flaggy, satin boxer shorts, robe and top-hat outfit then show your pride and wear it like you overpaid for it. Make sure that your beach towel is either advertising Budweiser or Marlboro. If you are 300 pounds and have the complexion of Saran Wrap please forget to apply sunblock until you are already beet red and streaky. Oh, and use that zinc shit on your nose and lips. For convenience wear a fanny pack (and remember to call it a fanny pack, especially if you’re in the UK) it’s a terrific place to keep all of your dollars.
Remember to complain – Complain so much that you have to start complaining about how much ‘this place’ and ‘those people’ are causing you to complain. Complain to the desk clerk about the hotel. Complain to the waiter about the food and keep sending it back until they get it right. It can be especially productive to complain to ‘the help’ about ‘their’ climate and ‘their’ oppressive sun/heat and ‘their’ street people. You can even use “you people” and they’ll know what you mean. They may not take it all on board but at least you can get it off your chest.
Don’t give charity – No matter how hungry they may look do not give your money to the local merchants. They make those little carvings themselves, which means they are cheap. Besides, who knows what kind of infestation may have gotten into that wood? You are much better off buying your souvenirs at the hotel gift shop. You’ll be paying a little more but at least you won’t be encouraging the shiftless locals.
Announce your presence – Passivity is downright un-American. Wherever you go make sure you speak as loudly and forcibly as possible. If the waiter doesn’t notice you within 2 minutes and 45 seconds then don’t be afraid to shout. Gently but firmly push people aside who are in the way of that family photo. When you are entering the pool or the ocean, be sure to make it known to people far and wide that the water ‘is fucking freezing.’ Remember that it is always the time and the place to pass around the ol’ pigskin with the rugrats… no matter what museum you happen to be in. When you are stuck waiting in line for something it will help to take a few dollars (out of your fanny pack) and wave them around yelling in a shrill voice, “Hey, hey, hey, I have American money right here…Dollar bills y’all.” This will always ensure prompt service. If you’re too drunk (and you’d better be, you ARE on vacation) feel free to vomit wherever it’s convenient for you. They probably have people to clean up that sort of thing.
If you follow these simple instructions closely you will have a better holiday weekend. I’ll bet people will even wish you a happy Fourth because they will, after all, know that you are an American.
Happy Canada Day Today and Happy Fourth of July on Sunday!!!
I was going to call this post Deep Thoughts with the sub header ‘But probably not as deep as Jack Handey’s, and With More Strippers,’ but Candice beat me to that particular punch. Plus, I realized that there are no strippers in here at all so that wouldn’t really make sense. Anyway, I thought if I could get these on paper they’d stop taking up space in my small, cramped mind. If anyone has any answers to my many questions, please be a dear and enlighten me.
-Why do they call highways parkways? I mean, I know that traffic can be bad and all of that but aren’t you just jinxing the thing from the start?
-Why does she insist on going by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio? When your last name is so long, why not drop Elizabeth at the very least? It’s a pain in the ass to even hear that name much less trying to fit it in the credits.
-I hate when I ask for directions and someone tells me to go to Oak Street and go north. How the fuck am I supposed to know which way is north? Do I look like Ponce de Leon to you?
-After at least 25 thousand (or whatever) years of civilization, how the hell did no one invent an effective mosquito/fly killer yet?
-I seem to function a lot better when I’m slightly horny. If I go 3 or more days without sex my mind is sharper, my thoughts are more precise, and my energy level is way higher. When I have too much sex I’m a lazy, useless shell of a man. All that being said, I can’t go more than 6 days without, or the cat will start looking sexy.
-I honestly can’t comprehend patriotism in the context that it is used by the Fox pundits. I do love America, and I’m proud of America, and I deeply appreciate the people who have sacrificed for the great nation. But in reality, you don’t have any choice where you are born. And most of the people that spout off about all of this nonsense haven’t done a thing to sacrifice personally. For all of her virtues America has a piss poor track record of being ‘the greatest country on earth.’ God didn’t hand it to the amazing religious white man. They came in, butchered the indigenous peoples, and stole it. We were one of the last countries to condone slavery. There are still to this day not equal rights for all people. I can’t grasp how this is always tidily glossed over in Beck’s and Hannity’s monologs. I don’t understand how they can make all of these outrageous claims about the absolute greatness of a country, and not want their own sick, poor and helpless to be taken care of. Why do these perfect Christians always show the most unchristian like characteristics?
-Who reads Prince Valiant or Mary Worth and why?
-I expected so much out of Tarentino after Pulp Fiction. What ever happened to him and his brilliant dialogue?
-I don’t mean for this to be an indictment of the American public school system, as much as wanting to point out what is wrong with the current mainstream ideology in the US. It’s been my experience that the average European citizens, be they lager louts in the UK, Romanian ruffians, German teenagers or Spanish ecstasy addicts are overwhelmingly more cultured and knowledgeable about the world. I found that I can have an intelligent conversation discussing art, literature, and world history with damn near anyone I meet here. I’ve come across drunks sitting in a bar first talking about Rembrandt and going on to coups in Thailand. Even the window lickers over here have a grasp of current events in the world.
I think the US has become so self-centered as a society that there is little room for anything else. Everywhere I’ve ever been in the world, when you turn on the news they cover the whole world, but you’d have to watch hours of CNN or FOX to catch a minute of anything happening anywhere else. They’d rather cover a 10 person protest on the Boise Idaho city hall than cover riots on the streets in France or the bloodshed in Sudan. And this has caught up with our children. I honestly can’t tell you how many people have asked me how long it takes to drive to England from Florida. You just have to turn on Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader to see what I mean. But if you don’t believe me, the next time you’re in a Wal-Mart or a bar strike up a conversation with a total stranger about something outside the sphere of US influence, and you’ll be shocked. I know I always was. I love my country just as much as Beck, and gosh darn it…..I just don’t want to see it produce fucking idiots.
-Why wasn’t Sex and the City called Sex in the City? Seriously?
-Why is it called black Friday? I get the ‘in the black’ connotation but seriously when you have black Tuesday and the black death why put it on the day after Thanksgiving. Maybe they could call it ‘Begin Paying 21% Interest to Visa Day! –sponsored by Visa!
-I seem to like the idea of some things more than I like the things themselves. I like the romantic idea of being homeless in Costa Rica more than I’d probably like the reality of it. I like the idea of going to the running of the bulls more than I’d like a horn ripping through my thigh. I like the idea of writing a book more than sitting down and writing it. I like the idea of having sex with blond twins more than I’d like the sex, especially since twins freak me out a little. I like the idea of being married to Tyras more than I’d…….actually; I think I’d be ok with that one.