While spending some time with an expat friend of mine I reflected on my own level of worldliness and cosmopolitan life. Turns out, I’m not really much of either. I am, very much, an American.
I appreciate Leanardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. They are masters. Matisse, Goya, Rembrandt, and Frida Khalo, all genius, but if I am honest with myself my very favorite artists are Leyendecker, Eakins, Wyeth, and Justin Bua.
I have read O’Henry and Keats, but I prefer Hemmingway or Fitzgerald. Twain is the greatest.
I know all the words to the Fifty Nifty United States, Proud to be an American, I know the pledge of allegiance, I can sing all the words to almost every Beach Boys song, do a perfect Enter Sandman by Metallica, and know almost all the words to Rapper’s Delight. I think that high note in the national anthem is impossible and generally horrible.
I went to public elementary, middle, high school, and even a public university for undergrad. I played little league basketball and American football. I grew up in a house with a basketball hoop in the driveway.
I have been to the tops of the Space Needle in Seattle, the St. Louis arch, and the Empire State Building. I’ve been to Fort Ticonderoga, Fort Sumter, and Fort Bridger. I’ve been to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood sign, the Alamo, and sat in the nose bleeds of Chicago’s Soldier Field. I’ve been to the Liberty Bell, the Lincoln Memorial, driven across Kansas, seen the Grand Canyon, camped in Yellowstone, and been inside Mammoth Cave. I have seen the Erie Canal, Hoover Damn, and the levies in New Orleans.
I have skied in Utah, been SCUBA diving off the Florida Keys, and whitewater rafted in North Carolina.
I can use wicked smaht, youze, ya’ll, and stoked correctly in a sentence. I know the difference between a Sioux (Lakota), Navajo, Nez Perce, and Iroquois. I can tell the difference between a Hopi and Zuni kachina doll.
I like root beer and Lucky charms. I like chimichangas and General Tso’s chicken but dislike corn tortillas. I only speak English and when I hear another language my mind defaults to the ten Spanish words I know thanks to Sesame Street. I eat portions that are far too large at almost every meal. I got a driver’s license when I turned 16, didn’t vote in the first election I was eligible for, and later did volunteer work on a presidential campaign. I am more familiar with the workings of the English government than Canada’s
90% of my clothing was purchased at a shopping mall. I still own a G.I. Joe action figure. I have watched years worth of Warner Bros and the Smurfs. I regularly watch the Super Bowl, March Madness, the World Series, and the NBA finals. I think the college bowl system is a farce.
I am so completely American there is nothing I can do about it.