Friday, 4 July 2008

This one is just for the Yanks...

The Fourth of July eh, if it's anything like the 17th of March a lot of you will have woke up drunk. Fair play to y'all! I like America, I've never been all the same but what I know and see of the place it makes me like it. Sure there's the whole "war on terra" and your President is a bit of an arse. But is he really any worse than any of the other incumbents out there holding high office? Seriously given the choice I'd swap Bush and his inability to eat pretzels without waking up in a hospital for the rag tag bunch of loonies, both Religious and Marxist, that make up the current executive that governs the North of Ireland.

My love for America comes second only to my love of Americans. It's not just because of your fantastically generous tipping ways. Not just, but mainly. And if I'm being honest not all Americans are that lovely. That Ted Bundy was a bit of a loon and I'd rather leave my first born in a pit of vipers than with Karl Rove or Dick Cheney. Extreme examples but you get the point.

It's not very cool or fashionable to say you love America or even Americans. In fact it's quite the opposite. America is the whipping boy of the world. It gets blamed for everything wrong in the world. It's cheap and easy to attack America, verbally that is. People need to look a little closer to home before attacking the "great satan in the west". And I've done it too. I protested Shrubs visit here a few years ago. I protested with venom and anger. And if the circumstances were right I'd do it again. The right circumstances being nice weather and being off work and having no other plans. I'm much lazier now.

You see when it comes to a discussion in a bar or over dinner people just lump Americans into one big mess, Bush, war, perceived imperialism, guns, drugs, gangs, obesity, McDonalds, Mickey Mouse, Starbucks, and so on. There seems to be an inability to separate the failings of the Administration with the genuine warmth and sincerity of the American people. Saying that you did vote them in again, but that's all in the past. You have the opportunity to make amends for past sins. Get it done right this time!

If this was a speech the music would start right about now, something music hall-ish.

You see in America a weightlifter from Austria can become the Governor of the largest state. I'm not saying that's a good thing but he would have stood no chance here. Restaurant punters tip Twenty percent! You can get a burger the size of your head. You get heads as big as cars. You get cars as big as houses. The diversity of peoples is huge and fantastic. I mean think of any race of people in the world and there is an xxx-American version of them. From Irish Americans to Armenian Americans and everything in between. That's really fucking great! Restaurant punters tip Twenty percent! In America you can say what you want, really anything you want. It's enshrined into law. That's really really fucking great. Not always but still great! Restaurant punters tip Twenty percent! America gave us The Wire, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Rock n Goddamn Roll for which I am eternally grateful, Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain, and countless classic movies that are too many to even considering listing. Restaurant punters tip Twenty percent! America gave homes and opportunity to the Irish diaspora when the spuds went bad and others "ahem" closer to home did nothing. And if I haven't said it enough already their restaurant punters tip Twenty percent! And so much more.

And I know for that small list you could write another ten times the size bemoaning all the very real problems with America but for one day lets say "Fuck it" and give thanks for the good America has done. Normal order can be restored on Saturday.

I'm not gonna say God Bless ya as I don't swing that way but America, Big Up Yerself!
I hope all my American readers have a great day.

And keep on visiting restaurants in Belfast, I love your 20% tips......

(Manuel is available for a free holiday to America in January ta ta)


If this doesn't bring a tear to your eye you can Farc off.
Six years? Holy fuckarama.

34 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

bendersbetterbrother said...

I softened up a bit on The Land of The Free a few weeks ago after my first visit to Merikay. So I'll go along with you...for a day.
I can't say anything bad about my hosts, they even knew it'd be a good idea to give me a gun. Read my mind, they did.

Just remember not to say you know the whereabouts of a large quantity of oil. You're fucked if you do. We're all fucked if you do.

And don't think "Bush is a wanker" out loud in Texas (or to any Texan in your eaterie). They DON'T like it.

And there is NO biased political reporting on Fox, especially not Bill O'Reilly.

bendersbetterbrother said...

And God Bless 20%.

Manuel said...

bbb: yes......god bless 20%....sniff sniff.....I love 20%

Medbh said...

That was beautiful, Manuel.
I couldn't come up with anything nearly as warm and beneficent as that to say about my own country.
We're not all evil fuckers.

Manuel said...

medbh: far from it.....but it only takes a small cabal of evil little men to tarnish the rest of the country...

harried_dad said...

Just as an aside - my neighbour is married to an egyptian man. Every fortnight for the past 10 years odd they have been sending money to his mother in Egypt. Every time they sent it, they called her the next day and she had been down to the money transfer place and picked up her cash.

The 8 months ago the money was delayed by four days, and has been ever since.

My neighbour decide to phone the money transfer company to ask what the delay was. They have been giving her the runaround ever since. Then last month she cracked it and phoned them with all the indignant fury she could muster. After ranting at the call centre person and their supervisor they offered to put her through to someone higher up. She agreed. There was a brief wirr and crackle and a new voice piped up:

Hello Ma'am ?

Hello yes, I want to complain about the delay in sending my money overseas.

Ma'am - we have to investigate all money being sent to the middle east.

Oh for ----'s sake, she is an 80 year old woman without any income. She needs the money that we send her.

I appreciate that, but we do have to look into each transaction to confirm it is legitimate.

What right does Western Union have to investigate these things?

None Ma'am, but at the moment you are talking to the CIA....

and with that my stunned neighbour hung up.

It could be a prank that a bored operator in a call centre decided to play, but then again it could be real. And THAT is the part that scares me. The fact that I am prepared to entertain for two minutes the idea that a foreign government is investigating EVERY financial transaction to the M.E., no matter how small. And then after they satisfy themselves the first time, they continue to check it, every fortnight for at least 8 months.

Love the people, despise the direction the current administration has taken them in.

Eolai said...

Not to be a killjoy or anything, but I'm afraid I know plenty of Americans who have never tipped 20% in their life - quite a few who aim for 10% and then add a bit without ever knowing the total but I'd be adding up on the sly and know that they tipped 12.2% or 11.8%.

Most that I knew never went over 15% and frequently got upset at the Irish from Ireland (not to be confused with the Irish from Pakistan) for splashing out 20% and over.

'Tis rather a nice day, the 4th though - much more civilsed than what they do our March day, or what we do to it ourselves come to that.

Michelle said...

It saddens me to think the rest of the world lumps all Americans into one big heap of Republican trash.

Some of us may not be cosmopolitan or sophisticated, but we have big hearts and good intentions. It's a big country and trust me, we all don't get along with each other or agree on everything. I love my neighbors even though we disagree on A LOT of issues, but we just agree to disagree. That's America, you can believe whatever you want.

And I always tip 20 percent. Unless you piss me off.

Michelle said...

Oh, and thanks for the shout out to us Yanks.

savannah said...

sugar, you're the only one eho get get away with callin me a yank(ee)! i love you! (like a sister, LMM, like a sister!) ;-) xoxoxox

(and i tip 20%, did you know that?)

Jeny said...

aww you like us, you really like us!

i was just explaining to my brother today to always tip 20%! :)

Silverstar said...

I expect that people who have the money/reason to visit a foreign country also have the sophistication/money to tip 20%. During my mercifully short stint as a waitress, the price of coffee had just risen to the level where it was now subject to state sales tax. Those m-f farmers wouldn't even leave us the penny for tax, much less a tip. And they would sit there all afternoon getting refill after refill. My poor legs.

At any rate, I would warn that we do something worse than drink on he 4th. We BBQ.It's a mandatory show of patriotism.
P. S. I have been to foreign countries, both Canada and Mexico.

daisyfae said...

Awww... thanks! In London at the moment, and the next good server gets 25% due to your kindness...

Remember that 49% of Americans agree with 99% of the rest of the world. Hoping that Mr. Obama gets elected. While he can't undo 8 years of evil, i hope it sends a message. A US President, a man of color with the middle name "Hussein" will hopefully send a message from the people - "Whoops. Sorry about the last 8 years. Guess we fucked that up, didn't we?"

Deborah said...

Great post Manuel. So true what you say about it being fashionable to diss Americans. I'm no Yank but unfortunately I sound like one and people here just here the accent and start in on George Bush. It's really a shame. The Americans are the new Brits.

Funny how coming back to Ireland made me realise just how awesome the US was. When I was there I clung to every ounce of Irish I had, refusing even to apply for citizenship when I was eligible(DOH) and now three and a half years back in Ireland I would just as well be a Yank. I'd be back in a second if I could afford it.

I miss the sense of community there. You knew your neighbours and stuff... people genuinely seemed to give a shit about their community. Okay, I was in a small town, but I went to university in Chicago and it was similar there. *SIGH*

BTW, just to be pedantic I think Alaska is the biggest state! (Note none of the Yanks caught it. AHEM!) But I believe California is the biggest in terms of population and governator! :)

sheepworrier said...

I had the stereotypical view of the yanks until I went over a few years ago as a fragile 20yr old on my own.
Stepping onto the airport bus from Newark airport to NYC I didn't know that you needed exact change for the fare. Faced with having to run back into the airport and split my $10 and subsequently miss the bus, the other passengers, overhearing my plight, all threw me some change without hesitation. I was honestly stunned - I'd doubt something like that would happen over here.
It set-up a trip where I was constantly staggered by the kindness and generosity of average Americans throughtout the states (including some gang-member stopping a con-artist from getting his evil way with me, but thats a different story). So today I just wanna say Slainte, you crazy yank b*stards! (sorry savannah)

Right, I'm off to watch Independance Day. USA! USA!

Sniffle&Cry said...

Love it Manuel, really excellent piece. You captured that confused perspective. For that visit one of my pals told me that the death machine George Bush had rolled into town, another drove to the demonstration in her SUV! We deserve Merika in some ways, just like we deserve the Muppets we continually elect. Merika is our living denial and never goes away. Democrats, like Republican, will need oil to fuel their dream; we do too, to fuel our merika aspirations. BTW, you made no mention of their generosity. Bit a balance please.

B said...

they are so polite and full of money for tips it's amazing.

They dont get drunk for the 4th july though, they have a barbeque and watch fireworks.

Anonymous Boxer said...

Free room and board in Seattle, Washington you big softy.



Anonymous Boxer said...

note to "b"

we get drunk of the 4th of July.

Native Minnow said...

Wow. I didn't think anyone outside the U.S. liked us over here.

But saying our "President is a bit of an arse" is probably the understatement of the year. The bright side? He's only president until early 2009.

american.eejit said...

I was pleasantly surprised to see a blog post that mentioned the U.S. and didn't lump every individual into one large hot mess. America bashing is the popular thing to do these days, and not all undeservedly. BUT for those that do partake, keep in mind - NOT everyone voted for George (not even once), wanted a war with ANY country/ies, is pro firearms, and don't get me started on gangs - no finger pointing if you have your own, is obese or even likes McDonalds (it's shit in paper wrapping) and worst of all, loads of Americans don't tip 20% in their own country... That being said, I have to go into work today on a national holiday and earn my 12-15% on a day that I should be off at home drunkenly BBQ'ing. I am SO jealous of your bank holidays!

Old Knudsen said...

It may be cool to slag off America but then again there is just so much to slag off. If you live there you soon find out what a idiotic place it is with no commonsense, sure there are a handful of good people here but you soon see how the country turns on you if you don't have money in yer wallet because thats what its all about.

Everyone wants to piss on everyone else for some reason and higher thinking is not valued.

conortje said...

that and New York has got to be the coolest city in the world!

jen said...

What Conortje said - back to NY for more shopping and eating!

DeeDee said...

Aww, thanks for that, Manuel. I'm glad to know that we still have some friends across the pond who won't hold the actions of a few of our elected idiots against the rest of us. Hopefully we'll redeem ourselves during the next election (god help us.)
And I'll tip you 20% anytime. Give me a shout if you ever make it to NYC!

dave said...

Never been to America myself, nor do I know any Americans.

Would love to go, but the thought of handing over my fingerprints, iris scan, brain thoughts and cock size before I even get on the plane scares the bejesus otta me.

Nah, think I'll take that flight to Toronto and sneak across the border, bit like 'Armagh to Monaghan' style.

Only wanna see where they did *that* car chase in SF though!

CheeseMonger said...

Thanks Manuel, for reminding us in these tough times, that this horrible administration hasn't completely ruined the reputation of Americans.

I've seen a lot of July 4th rantings about why we should love this country, but I must say that yours really made me feel it, yours made me feel the pride that has been so eroded by our current politcal assholes. Thanks for that.

And I always tip 20% or more. :D

Anonymous said...

American's are not great tippers when they visit Australia (PS The Irish are usually the worst tippers here) I know you have issues with Aussie tippers. But American's are down right rude & shitty tippers because they are only holidays & don't have to.

B said...

well maybe you, rock, clubber lang, appollo creed and the rest of your sort do.

but from what I gather very few do in comparasion to here for march 17th.

Comrade Stalin said...

I like Americans and I really hate it when people here, as soon as they hear an American accent, launch into a fucking lecture about what a wanker Bush is. Most Americans already know that, since most of them did not actually vote for him.

I don't let myself get too misty-eyed about how great the USA is. It's not that different from other countries, there are good parts and bad parts. It's true about Arnie becoming the governor, although being a movie star and not being a member of an ethnic minority probably helped a lot.

One thing you'll really notice when you visit the USA is that the service culture is miles ahead of what we get here, even in the most basic low-end greasy spoon type places. I am sure that this is a lot to do with the tipping culture. I've been in bars over there which have been packed to the gills; the bar staff still manage to serve everyone quickly and there's even usually a decent waiter/waitress service. Here, you'll get 7-deep queues at the bar and will be waiting ten minutes before you can even get your order in.

I love this :

L said...

Thanks for some positive press about those of us from the States. I live in Belfast now and I am amazed at the kind and warm reception I've received (and the inevitable question about who I plan to vote for ...)

Merka is indeed the land of the free, home of the brave, place of the diverse and as long as we don't screw that all up I look forward to living there again one day.

For now I'm chuffed to be HERE. If you want travel suggestions or tips about the States, just give us a shout. You should visit there now while the exchange rate is so good, and your 20% tips go such a long way!


Crispy said...

You wanna go statesdie in Feb with Pops? I can make the magic happen....pancakes and maple syrup...old people in checked have a good day now...ha ha ha.
Actually pay for me and I'll go instead!!!!

PS it did make me cry.

Ayah said...

Awwww, we love you too. Americans have been smitten with the Irish for several years now(Frank McCourt and Flogging Molly, you know), and I shall relay the message to my countrymen that at least one of you doesn't loathe (all of)us.
By the way, how do you get the Americans to tip 20%? I was a waitress for 12 years and found my fellow Americans almost as stingy as our Canadian neighbors. Maybe I should have tried to sound Irish. I fear it wouldn't have turned out well, though, as my only point of reference is repeats of 'Father Ted'.

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