Thanksgiving is about to go down and that means the entire city of New York will be abandoned. One of the first things I noticed about America
Thanksgiving is about to go down and that means the entire city of New York will be abandoned. One of the first things I noticed about America after moving here was how seriously they take Thanksgiving. It’s a bigger deal than Christmas. In Canada, it’s just a nice meal where the family will probably get together if they don’t have prior engagements. In the U.S. airports start getting hectic three days before and if you’re not with your family on the big day, you probably have facial tattoos. Here are 10 other things I’ve noticed about Septics*.
10 OTHER THINGS I’VE NOTICED ABOUT AMERICANS BESIDES HOW INTENSE THEY ARE ABOUT THANKSGIVING
I’ve always said that Hasidim and extremist Muslims need to forget about their differences and focus on what they have in common: body odor and misogyny. But I’ve lived all over the world and our differences are far more interesting than our similarities. In China, they see burping in your face about as consequential as blinking. In Costa Rica, stealing your wallet is funny. In Britain, every family has a fancy front room that nobody ever goes in. In Canada, every airport bar is packed at 11AM. I’ve lived here in the US of A for 13 years now, and I find Americans to be the weirdest breed yet.
1. They ALL Love Movies
In Europe it would be unheard-of for an academic to go see a movie like Toy Story 3. In America, half the audience is there without kids and there isn’t a dry eye in the house. Ask America’s most accomplished genetic scientist about The Bourne Identity and he’ll say, “The 2002 one totally creamed the 1988 one, but both were awesome!” They have National Lampoon’s Vacation memorized line-for-line and have seen each Godfather about seven times. They are also walking IMDb databases. Ask an American who that guy with the musta—“Wilford Brimley!” It’s uncanny. You can’t stump them. They insist on watching the credits in their entirety after every film. I’ll never understand why anyone cares who fetched Ben Stiller his coffee, but it’s either sit there with them as the credits slowly roll or crawl over a dozen pairs of legs to get to the exit.
2. They Use Paper Towels at Dinner
Scotland would be horrified to see the way Americans use paper towels. It’s not unusual to sit down for dinner with a big family and see a folded paper towel tucked under every plate. Dishcloths never leave the sink while paper towels are left with jobs way out of their league such as cleaning up huge puddles of spilled milk.
3. They Say “Uh-Huh” Instead of “You’re Welcome”
This one is particularly jarring because it’s said in a very upbeat way that can come across as “Damn right.” It’s almost like they were waiting for the thank-you and are checking it off the To Get list. Sorry, but if I sit you down and say, “I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me,” I don’t want to hear, “Yeah.” Conversely, they will literally go through walls to say, “Bless you” after you sneeze. I was in an office building last year and I sneezed so loud, a guy said, “Bless you” through the wall. It felt strange but I had to yell, “Thanks” back through the wall, to which he replied, “Uh-huh.”
4. They’ve Never Been Anywhere
Americans are notoriously parochial. Just over a third of them own passports. In Brooklyn, you’re considered a nomad if you’ve ever left your block (which is also why so few Brooklynites can swim or ride a bike). I don’t think I’ve met one New Yorker who’s been to the Empire State Building. This is slowly changing, but the annoying thing about the few who own passports and actually leave the continent is the way they talk when they get back. “Yeah, the human traffic in Japan is insane,” a guy just back from Tokyo will tell a room full of people like he’s the new Lewis and Clark, “and all the women wear brown nylons.” Thanks, sensei.
When you bring up their lack of travels, they get PISSED and brag about how America has everything anyone could need from beaches to snowy mountains but it’s never occurred to them that all these places have the same basic culture. They simply don’t get why anyone would want to visit Mongolia or Chile yet they happily tell you “diversity is our strength” in the same breath. What they really mean is, “I like a variety of restaurants in my neighborhood.”
5. They Display Jugs
What the fuck is Fiestaware? I’m told it’s a very special kind of culinary ornamentation with jugs so gorgeous, they need to be put on display all over the kitchen—even if there’s 17 of them and they will never be used for any kind of beverage, ever.
6. All Black Women Straighten Their Hair
Every time a black British or Canadian person visits me, they are shocked at how few African American women let their hair do its natural thang. This is a country where Beyoncé is considered a great role model for black girls, advertising shampoo for blondes despite the fact that: A) It’s not her hair and B) She can’t get it wet. When black women can’t afford ridiculously expensive weaves, they keep their hair wrapped in a scarf and everyone feels sorry for them like when people in LA don’t have a car.
7. They Are all Patriotic
Go up to a frothing-at-the-mouth extreme anarchist revolutionary who is burning the flag and tell him his hometown sucks, and he will punch you in your face. Even the most anti-American Americans will get a tattoo of their state’s outline and tell you who was on their town’s football team in 1975. They also think your town sucks and assume the ultimate argument-settler is, “Yeah, but aren’t you from CANADA?”
8. They Mutilate Their Genitals
If the Sugar Crisp bear jumped out of the TV and cut your dick off, you’d say, “Hang on a minute!” Here in America, the guy from Kellogg’s Corn Flakes told everyone circumcision is mandatory because it prevents masturbation and the entire country said, “OK.” They still do. This country was founded by Puritans who hated thinking about sex, so Americans haven’t put much thought into the whole cutting-a-baby’s-dick thing. Whenever I ask them why they did it to their son, they usually say something like, “I don’t know. I guess I wanted it to look like his dad’s?” Are there a lot of nude father/son photo shoots I’m not privy to? Oh yeah, they also never say “penis” or “vagina” to their kids and prefer using annoying nicknames like your “peeny” and your “area.”
9. Their Vocabulary Ain’t Great
The word “eponymous” is a great way to refer to a self-titled LP and it’s hard to talk about government spending all day without using the word “profligate,” but when you use big words in America, you get this “Well, la dee da, look at you” kind of vibe that can kill the conversation. Similarly, speaking French in public, even to a French person at a French restaurant, is like going to Harlem dressed as a Klansman.
10. Doctors Believe in Creationism
At first glance, this sounds like the country has driven off the deep end into crazy town, but I’ve spoken to some of these doctors and it’s not like they deny the existence of dinosaurs and think the dodo bird was some kind of cruel joke. They acknowledge there’s a free market in nature and a stupid appendage you never use will eventually get phased out. They just think God is the one who set it up. Fine. You believe a magic guy set up the first domino, I think a magic explosion did. Now we’re splittin’ hairs.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON TAKIMAG.COM
entomology etymology: Yanks = Tanks = Septic Tanks = Septics