Today, America turns 237 and I have but one thing to say – Holy Shit, I Love You.
And here are fifty reasons why.
1. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
I love the fact that Americans don’t ask for perfection but continually strive towards it as if every day is a promise to be a little better than the day before.
2. Heterogeneity. When I was in college, this bubble-headed girl asked me what I was. When I replied, “English,” she responded with, “You don’t look English.” That chapped me a little. I mean, what does an English person look like? Then, it got me thinking about what an American looks like and I realized that there is no answer to that question. There is no idealized portrait of an American for we are straight. We are gay. We are transgendered. We are black. We are white. We are various shades of brown. Some of us were born here and some of us came here from far-flung lands. And yet – we are all American. There’s something really beautiful about that.
3. Pixar’s ability to break your heart (if you didn’t sob hysterically during the first ten minutes of Up, there’s a strong likelihood that you are a serial killer) and heal it better than new within the span of two hours.
4. Dan Marino – also known as the right arm of God Himself, the promise of Ryan Tannehill, Don Shula, JT, Zach Thomas and the 1976 Miami Dolphins. Keep poppin’ that champagne, boys.
5. The smell of the Atlantic Ocean.
6. Sesame Street. I still count to 12 using the cadence I learned on this show.
7. The silver-lined cynicism of Charles Bukowski, the black tar noir of Raymond Chandler, the lush lyricism of Jack Kerouac and Walt Whitman, the way F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway will break your fucking heart and the way Rob Sheffield writes as if we’re best friends, hanging out and just shooting the breeze about music.
8. Nighthawks by Edward Hopper
9. Diners – open all night, buzzing with neon and cup after endless cup of strong coffee served in thick ceramic mugs by a waitress who calls you ‘hon.’
10. Bruce Springsteen – a man whose words I believe in so much and hold so dear, I want them indelibly inked upon my flesh.
11. Christmas lights on palm trees.
12. The Federal Highway Act of 1956 which made the United States of America a little more united.
13. Drinking an ice-cold Bluecoat and Tonic with a lot of lime on a balmy summer afternoon and feeling civilized once again.
14. The look on Neil Armstrong’s face after he walked on the moon.
15. Blue jeans, white tees, aviators and Chuck Taylors.
16. Joss Whedon, Bill Hicks, Tina Fey, Matt Taibbi, Brad Bird, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Ken Burns, Mel Brooks, Bill Simmons, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Dave Grohl and Aaron Sorkin – tellers of stories and truths.
17. Public libraries and the wrath of public librarians when it comes to fighting against banning books.
18. Singing Sabotage by the Beastie Boys really loudly in the car.
19. Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
20. “It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.” Badlands by Bruce Springsteen.
21. The view of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge.
22. Free refills.
23 The stars on the Stars and Stripes. That is excellent design work. Thanks, Betsy Ross!
24. The Rock. His quads are bigger than my entire body and his Instagram is my new favorite thing ever.
25. American Thighs. The Veruca Salt album and pretty much any lady with some luscious curves.
26. The fact that you can totally get a quesadilla at Chipotle if you ask for it. Dudes, it’s so good. The cheese gets all gooey and when you dip in guacamole, there’s this like, two second moment where you swear you’re gonna pass out from happiness.
27. The National Park Service.
28. Policemen, Firefighters, Paramedics and anyone who runs towards the danger instead of away from it.
29. The implicit understanding that all sandwiches are to be served with some sort of potato-based side.
30. Ron Livingston. Particularly the fact that he’s going to be in the new season of Boardwalk Empire. Can we please take a second to appreciate the fact that I get to see this man dressed up 1920s style?
He pops up around the 0.14 second mark, winks and then I pretty much black out because I legit cannot handle how handsome this man is.
31. The Grand Canyon, sequoia and banyan trees, Hawaiian volcanoes, amber waves of grain and the majesty of purple mountains.
32. Southern men who call you ‘honey’ and ‘darlin” and ‘sugar.’
33. Coach and Mrs. Coach. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose y’all.
34. Thug Kitchen. Because I eat like I give multiple fucks.
35. The first ever ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon.
36. Anthony Bourdain, Julia Child, Jose Garces and David Chang.
37. Appalachian bluegrass + zydeco + SoCal punk rock + Southern rock + Chicago blues + Chicano rock + Miami bass
39. Senator Robert Kennedy. Senator Patrick Leahy. Senator Al Franken. Mayor Cory Booker. State Senator Wendy Davis. Senator Elizabeth Warren. President Barack Obama.
41. Marshall Raylan Givens
42. The Goddamn Batman.
43. Axel Foley. Particularly his laugh.
44. Fender Strats and gold-top Gibson guitars.
45. Thanksgiving. It’s the greatest day of the year – you get together with the people you love, you eat so well, you express genuine gratitude for your life and there’s football. And possibly a nap. It’s perfect.
46. Photobooth pictures
47. The Great American Roadtrip – open windows, loud music and blue skies for miles.
48. Calvin and Hobbes
49. My parents and my sister who, after twenty years, are finally Americans.
50. Americans. A vast majority of whom are kind, decent people eager to share their stories and hear yours. People who are always down to grab a bite. People who are quick to laugh. People with a sense of ingrained unabashed optimism because tomorrow is another chance.
Happy 4th of July. Be happy, be safe and remember – if you use Miracle Whip instead of mayo, you’re a jerk and the Founding Fathers hate you.