Living in Europe for the past ten years might, just might skew your perspective on things. Although I have had a few chances to come back, mainly for work, nothing beats visiting family – for showcasing how bat-shit whacky this place really is. Coming back to the U.S. for work means, hotels, meetings and hotel bars, boring. Coming to spend a week near Fells Point in Baltimore means distilled crazy, and I love it. Next week we head to upstate New York where I hope there’s nothing more to make fun of than cows and well cooked food – Baltimore it ain’t.
Holy shit the news isn’t lying. Has 33 percent of America spent the last ten years in a non-stop donut eating contest? Fat jokes are easy to make, easier when you’re skinny sure, but easy none the less. I can’t say I was shocked by the overall weight here but I was shocked when visiting, all you can shove down your food-hole franchise, the “Golden Corral.” Having made the rookie mistake of ceding that night’s dinner choice to a 17-year-old (‘Let’s go to the Corral, they have a chocolate fountain’ – should have been a clue that bad decisions were afoot) we set our GPS to deep-fried mistakes and off we went.
I want to call the Golden Corral a war-zone but that is very disrespectful to war-torn cities across the world. Gluttonous, filthy and all around ‘gross’ seem more appropriate descriptions but they lack the ‘holy fuck are you eating MORE’ eloquence I was hoping to convey.
Fine, I’m being uptight prick, but dear lord the this plastic dinnerware, heaping plates of half eaten food and the micro layer of something best described as ‘sticky’ that covers every surface (including I think the food) made the meal interesting. One wishes they had a sociologist friend alongside that could help define or at least attempt to explain the ravenous herds of people vying for a plates full of pan fried shrimp covered in turkey gravy (I’m only sort of kidding). Sadly, I think I can explain it without the use of a doctorate. American’s like to eat, they like to eat NOW and every dish can be made better by deep frying.
I confess I’m very used to being the drunkest person in situations where no one is drunk at all. I think nothing of having a beer(s) at the airport bar at 9 a.m. I have no issue navigating a check out line in Germany with a head full of beer. Eyes forward, greet the check-out lady, hand her the cash, bag the purchase and get out. It’s really quite simple.
Here in Baltimore, I’m an amateur. At 1 p.m. on a Tuesday while the girls shopped for groceries I ventured across the street to pick up a six pack of beer. Beer, wine and liquor can only be purchased in liquor stores here for some reason. I was going to spend some time making fun of America’s draconian laws regarding liquor until …
While the young lady behind the counter and I had a pleasant discussion about the location of Heineken I was accosted by what I’m sure is the drunkest person in the world. First, after stumbling into the store in what I was sure was the start of some brilliant street comedy skit, she corrected my greeting the clerk, informing me (with breath that would kill a lesser man) that she was not to be referred to as “Ma’am” but as “Mom”. The 50-something African American Mom could barely contained her look of disgust and I can’t blame her. The drunken 30-something Caucasian lady would have been (correctly) drown at birth if “Mom” had her way. Then the drunken lady notices I’m purchasing cigarettes and loudly, but in the drunk loudly-slurish way, asks that I provide her with a cigarette. This, and it’s obviously testament to my lack of dealing with drunk skills, seems like a way to sever the conversation so that the clerk and I can continue our discussion of the weather. Cigarette in hand my drunken entertainer then informs Mom that I’m also going to buy her a 40 ounce … I’m not making this up, a 40 ounce.
I loved every fucking second.
Dear America. For a country that seemingly has the automobile as a centerpiece of its culture you fuckers can’t drive. No one, that includes you reading this right now, bothers to signal a lane change. Everyone passes on the right and that’s because there’s always some shithead in the passing lane doing exactly the speed limit. Any attempts to merge are seen as a direct threat to the other driver’s manhood, patriotism or sexual orientation. In fact most every maneuver that doesn’t include driving forward at a constant speed is met with a string of profanity that has taught me several new swearing lessons. For instance I did not know I was a “rat-shit bastard fuck stain”.
You Baltimore, you’re the guy; right there you’re the guy.
Point is, for a nation that literally forces you to drive to the bathroom, the ‘rule of the road’ seems to be, ‘fuck you, go around.’ Look Germans are funny for a lot of reasons, driving isn’t one of them. There are, to be sure, asshole German drivers. I cannot count the times I’ve been passing a truck on the autobahn only to discover mister, my penis is too small
so I bought a Porsche, ramming the hood of his car up my ass while vigorously flashing his light in an attempt to let me know that he would like to continue driving at a safe and reasonable 310 Kph and I should kindly complete my lane change. But it really is the exception and not the rule. When German’s merge lanes they use the zipper effect meaning that if you’re in the lane being merged into you let a car merge in front of you and the driver behind you does the same. Generally it works out for all parties involved.
Not here. In a quick and simple trip to the mall I watched at least 5 different drivers fly into spittle flying, fist shaking rages of self-righteousness all due to some dickhead that had the balls to (without signaling) pull in front of them. You need to watch it fatty; you’re ticker’s already working overtime keeping the blood pumping around all that girth.
Okay when the hell did fucking pajamas become acceptable attire anywhere outside the home? Even the endangered slim and attractive American female seems to have embraced this crime against the eyes. Pajama bottoms, baggy sweatshirt and flip-flops? Sign me up for the ballet, I’m ready to go! At the airport rental car counter there was one young lady, who was either pregnant or a typical American, whose choice of apparel that evening seemed to say, yes I am fat and here’s a direct look at my fat. Yes sir, I’m keenly aware that my shirt does not only fail to cover my ample stomach but that it literally screams look at my fried-food educed blubber.
I used to love, literally I would become giddy and start to giggle, to make fun of the American Forces Network. I’ve devised hours and hours of ways I could make fun of their command information commercials espousing those of us overseas to be good neighbors, pick up after our dogs and to not rape women.
Here’s my apology AFN: I’m truly sorry from the bottom of my heart American Forces Network. You provide quality programming to those of us living overseas at little or no cost and your commercials are generally (if not comically) correct, raping women is bad, turn down your goddamn stereo and pick up your dog’s poop.
I mean it. My step daughter has something called ‘on-demand’. Which, with a simple push of a button, shows you every television show ever made, anywhere in the world, in any language and at any time.
Look, I know I can come off as a prick and saying things like “I don’t watch TV” makes it worse but fuck, I think I understand why America is fat (aside from deep-fried everything). America is fat because holy fuck there’s ANOTHER show I want to watch and it’s on right fucking now. Such wonderful television adventures as ‘Mob Wives’ ( what’s wrong with that woman’s mouth) to every single ‘I want to be famous show’ is available whenever you want. No waiting until next week, no waiting until its 7 p.m. It’s on right fucking now so grab that extra large bag (available at Walmart) of chocolate flavored Doritos and have a seat.
Sure making fun of one’s country is fun but man did I forget some of the good stuff. America is convenient. Anything you want, at anytime you want it is available with minimal effort. I was informed at a clothing store that if they didn’t have the size of jeans I needed they would happily deliver them to my house. They would literally call the other stores until they found the size jeans I needed and then DELIVER them to my house while I ate Doritos watching Tosh.o reruns using ‘On Demand’. If you decide you need a chainsaw, lubricant and a blow up doll at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday (and who hasn’t) you can get it here, no questions asked with minimal effort.
While dinner at a restaurant in Italy can, and typically does, take four or more hours German is not much different. Waiter service isn’t bad it just not speedy. Here my beer is barely drained before the server is sloshing down another frothy cold one and asking what else I might desire. Service is beyond good, the scientists studying the hadron collider should look to American restaurant staff member if they’d like a better understanding of how objects react at or near the speed of light.