I love Esquire Magazine. I’m not really their key demo (XX chromosome and all) but hey, good writing is good writing and it transcends gender.
They recently did a feature on the 162 Reasons It’s Great to be an American Man. I agreed with a lot of it (#2, #12, #30, #94, #122, #144) and started thinking about all the reasons I love this country.
I’m not an American (yet) but I am wholly mesmerized by this place — it’s all open roads and guitar solos and opportunity and taking disgusting gourds and turning them into delicious pies.
So, in a nod to my favorite publication and the land I love, here are 50 Reasons I Love America:
1. The First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
2. Shane Black writing, “The kind of house that I’ll buy if this movie is a huge hit. Chrome. Glass. Carved wood. Plus an outdoor solarium: A glass structure, like a greenhouse only there’s a big swimming pool inside. This is a really great place to have sex,” in the Lethal Weapon script.
3. Sitting at Citizens Bank Park on a warm summer afternoon with crab fries on your lap and beads of condensation from a cold Bud Light sweating all over your hand. Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight blasts through the stadium and you get excited ’cause you know that Carlos Ruiz is up to bat and you get to scream ‘CHOOCH’ at the top of your lungs without anyone thinking you’re insane/a foul-mouthed pervert.
4. The Great Gatsby.
5. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live. Especially when Brother Bruce takes the pulpit.
6. The 1972-1973 Miami Dolphins, Don Shula and the Right Hand of God also known as Dan Marino.
7. Bluecoat Gin and Tonic with lots of lime.
8. The Hollywood sign, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Smurfit Stone building, the Lincoln Memorial, Mount Rushmore, the Space Needle.
9. Batman’s Rogue’s gallery.
10. Blue jeans, white t-shirts, Chuck Taylors and aviator sunglasses.
11. Southern rock, Motown soul, Appalachian bluegrass, East Coast hip-hop, Miami bass, SoCal punk, Chicago blues, zydeco and Chicano rock.
12. Barbecue smoke.
13. Reef leather flip flops
14. “If you go home with someone and they don’t have any books, don’t fuck ’em” — John Waters.
15. When I Heard The Learn’d Astronomer by Whitman, Howl by Ginsberg, There’s A Bluebird In My Heart by Bukowski, For Jane by Bukowski. Barfly by Bukowski. Actually, pretty much Bukowski’s whole catalog.
16. Back To The Future
17. Lisa Vs. Malibu Stacy (The Simpsons), The Dinner Party (Seinfeld), The Constant (Lost), In Exelsis Deo (The West Wing)
18. The smell of the Atlantic Ocean at Lake Worth Beach.
19. Senator Robert Kennedy, Senator Patrick Leahy, Mayor Cory Booker, President Barack Obama
20. The implicit understanding that all sandwiches must be accompanied by some potato-based side.
21. Southern men who say ‘darlin’
22. Fender Stratocasters.
23. Hell in a Call Cage Match between The Undertaker and Mankind.
24. The iPod. Hey, you know every song that you’ll ever want to listen to ever? It fits in the back pocket of your jeans and you can listen to it whenever you want.
25. Security in the knowledge that right now, there is a diner open where the waitresses call you ‘hon’, the hash browns are crispy and the coffee is hot, bottomless and served in those thick, ceramic mugs.
26. “Hey! How are you?” – Six years ago, my sister and I were in London. We popped into Marks and Spencers to grab a bottle of water and headed to the check-out. When it was our turn, we stepped up and smiled at the cashier — “Hey! How are you?” Typical, right? Everyone does this because….well, it’s what you do. I think the cashier would have been less shocked had I pulled out a snub-nosed .38 and held up the place.
27. Joss Whedon, Bill Hicks, Tina Fey, Rob Sheffield, Matt Taibbi, Brad Bird, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, Ken Burns, Mel Brooks, Bill Simmons, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert.
28. Primo Hoagies Veggie Diablo with bruschetta, no long hots. You can’t get a sandwich this good anywhere but America. Hell, you might not be able to get a sandwich this good anywhere but the Mid-Atlantic. It is glorious.
29. Sesame Street. If you’re under 40, this show taught you how to read, write and count. Also, if you don’t love muppets – I don’t love you.
30. “Smart girls have more fun and you’re one of them,” – Aaron Sorkin. See also: The Bartlet administration, Matt and Danny and, “I love writing but I hate starting. The page is awfully white and it says. ‘You may have fooled some of the people some of the time but those days are over, giftless. I’m not your agent and I’m not your mommy, I’m a white piece of paper, you wanna dance with me?’ and I really, really don’t. I don’t want any trouble. I’ll go peaceable-like.”
31. Muscle cars – all gleaming chrome and butter-soft leather.
32. Stevie Ray Vaughan. His music settles deep down in my bones and after listening to an album or two, I get angry. Like, irrationally infuriated. Stevie Ray Vaughan should not be dead. He should be an old man with graying hair and soft, crinkled smile. He should be crafting blues music so tasty, so drippingly delicious, you need a biscuit to sop it all up. But he’s not and that’s a goddamn tragedy. BUT, despite it all — the music lives. Fate is a malicious bitch goddess but even she can’t take away the music.
33. Public libraries.
34. USPS. You can send a letter from San Francisco to Brooklyn for like, $0.44. How does this not amaze more people?
35. Central Park in summer, the Philly suburbs in the fall, South Florida at Christmas.
36. Brian Fallon’s tattoos
37. Tex-Mex cuisine.
38. Carl Sagan
39. Grams — she makes you breakfast potatoes and dessert, gives you hugs and tells you she loves you.
40. Boston Terriers
41. Boston accents. Particularly Matt Damon’s in Good Will Hunting.
42. “Got to got to, na na na. Got to got to na na na” — the scatting in Otis Redding’s Try A Little Tenderness is unmitigated joy.
44. Cinnamon-flavored gum.
45. The American Brown Bear. It can swim, it can climb, it eats pretty much everything and one swipe of the paw will end your life. If the Zombie Apocalypse comes and it turns the bears, we are beyond screwed,
46. Everything Bagels
47. Food trucks.
48. The way Axl says, “Oh My God…” in the beginning of Welcome To The Jungle.
49. Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
50. Americans. A vast majority of the people I’ve met here are good people. They’re kind, warm and quick to laugh. More often than not, they’re down to grab a bite, hear your stories and share theirs. And above all, they’re hopeful. And with good reason. I mean, look at the bedrock of their nation — believe in whatever you wish, speak your mind and if you don’t like the way things are going – you have the power to change it and make it better.
There’s a lot wrong in America and to believe otherwise is delusional and does a massive disservice to the nation. However, the spirit of America is indomitable. Americans believe in the prospect of a brighter, better tomorrow and from what I’ve seen, they want to work towards that reality. I know I quote it all the time, but when it comes to America, Fitzgerald said it best — “Tomorrow, we will stretch out our arms farther, run faster and one fine day….”