You Don’t Look A Day Over Two Hundred

You Don’t Look A Day Over Two Hundred

imageDear America,

Home of these United States.

Happy Birthday, Girl.

I am eternally grateful, even after traveling the world, make that especially after traveling the world, to have won the cosmic lottery, by having had the good fortune to be born in your golden state.

I have traveled this country, sea to shining sea, mostly on the back of a motorcycle, and I’m here to testify that it really does have purple mountain’s majesty and amber waves of grain.

It is gorgeous.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen the trash, graffiti and poverty through these rose-colored glasses, but by and large, this country is a heart swelling great source of pride for me.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

That last pursuit, the pursuit of happiness?
We are blessed that Thomas Jefferson had the wisdom and foresight to write that into The Declaration of Independence.
No other country in the world gives its citizens the RIGHT to happiness.
Who knows what that means, what happiness looks like?
To them it meant emancipation from British Rule.
Happiness means something different to everyone, but we are entitled to it thanks to that sacred declaration, and by God, we go for it.

The American people I’ve met all want the same things from life: Love and a good cup of coffee.

Americans are hard workers. Some of the hardest in the world – check the stats.

We love our pets
Damn, we love our kids.
We are an irrepressible bunch. We are gregarious, out going and LOUD.

We are innovative, curious, quick minded and clever.
We willingly give directions to people who look lost.
We don’t take NO for an answer.

We are MacGyvers, most of us are industrious enough to fix pretty much anything with gum, a paper clip and dental floss. It’s in the water.

The Americans I’ve met, will help a stranger in a heartbeat. They are generous and kind.

The United States is only as great as the sum of its parts; in reality it is only a landmass with man-made borders.

It is the people who make it great and make me grateful to have been born here. 

(Italy was my first choice, I’m sure, but you can’t get an apartment or pay a bill without greasing someone’s palm AND it has no infrastructure.)

Travel outside the states and you’ll share my appreciation for :

Clean water
Indoor plumbing
Hot running water,
A toilet with Real toilet paper
Things that work as expected
Ice cubes
Cold anything really
Decent French fries
King size beds (not two beds pushed together)
Street signs that actually give you correct information.

7 eleven (the ability to buy tampons or Motrin or band aids at 2AM)

Personal space (other countries don’t have the same personal boundaries we do.)
We were standing in some line in Europe, (where they are big on lining up for things to which Americans would say “No fucking way”) when my husband looked over at me with the saddest mix of incredulity and humiliation. The old man behind him was standing so close that if he even so much as puckered his lips, he would have kissed the back of my husband’s neck.
It freaked him out and he’s French…. So, personal boundaries.

A relatively dependable police force and fire department.
A somewhat workable bureaucracy. (Just try to get your VAT tax back)
Real cabs that don’t have hoodlums for drivers
Soap
Pillows that are thicker than 1 inch.
CUSTOMER SERVICE.

I’m serious, these are things we take for granted that some other countries just haven’t figured out yet.

Happy Birthday America. I do love you. You don’t look a day over two hundred.

My birthday wish for you this day is a big fat cake with tons of candles, heaps of vanilla ice cream, and the most badass fireworks display ever, complete with marching bands and a fly over by the Blue Angels.

Too much? Nah, we’re Americans.

*Addendum: there are some things that other countries do that kick our ass.
My husband was riding in the middle of the Namibian desert last year and he had cell phone service – like four bars – four bars is unheard of in LA.
The electricity was dicey, but he was able to FaceTime me every night.
So, yeah, they’re killing it with cell phone service.

Want to wish her a Happy Birthday? Put it in comments below and I’ll forward them to her.

Much love,
Xox

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