What is the most American thing ever?
I stayed in the USA for 3 years. Needless to say, my perspective of the USA is based on my travels (which I did extensively), my kids and their life, and my own everyday (largely positive) experiences.
A little foreword before I get to the point:-
When I arrived in the USA from India, my biggest concern was what will my son (6 year old) do in his free time. Before we came, my husband had already purchased a ton of gadgets and toys for my son, so that he would not get bored.
But me, being me, did not want our son to be hooked on to technology all day, so before we could land in the USA, I had already located the nearest library and had decided to join it, as soon as we were there.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46568.html 译者：Joyceliu
A word about the Public Library system in USA:-
The Library system in the USA is faantaastic to say the least. This is how it works…First of all it is free…to everybody! You just have to show your ID card and you are in.
Every public library is well equipped with thousands of books and cds for children and adults of all ages. The children's books are graded by their reading ability, for eg, learning to read, expert reader etc. There are 100’s of board books for kids under age 5 and lots of fiction and non fiction books for young and old alike…
One can borrow….(hold your breath)…100 books and 20 cds at a time! And you can do this for any number of time…. Free. Of. Charge!!
Not only that, but if that particular library did not have the book that you wanted, they would get the book for you from some other library in the county.
They also always had some wonderful events every now and then for adults and children like story time, reading challenge, knitting classes, and language classes
I mean, for a book lover like me, the libraries were heaven!
I considered myself and my son to be very fortunate to have access to such a large and great variety of books.
So coming back to the question of the most American thing ever….no, no not the libraries, but…..
The people who took advantage of this wonderful system were mostly people like me, that is, people who were not native to America.
A lot of American families did visit the library, however, ironically, they would pick only a bunch of cds and 1 or 2 or in most cases no(!) books…
While the non-American families including me, picked a whole basket of books and 1 or 2 cds and most of times no cds at all…
I used to tell my son how proud I was of him whenever he did well in math and science. But few years in the USA he did not agree with my view. Excelling in math and science was not one of the ‘cool’ things in his peer group.
The Oak Creek Public Library in Wisconsin.
Vijaya Lakshmi, Retired Finance manager at Coal India Limited
As a frequent visitor to America from past 7–8 years, I came across something which is impressive.
I was waiting in an airport lounge in USA.
A woman in her thirties came to me and said “beautiful fabric!” pointing towards my saree. I was wearing an Indian silk saree then.
“It is called saree” I said
Our Nephew took us to a shopping mall for purchasing some gifts for us. I was carrying one handbag which I purchased in India.
Two ladies passing by remarked “beautiful bag. Where did you purchase?”
“India” I said proudly. Another couple remarked the same thing that day.
We all went to a shopping mall to purchase groceries. We finished our shopping and came to the car parking area.
Our elder grand daughter was holding my hand and chatting something with me, while younger one(a toddler) was running ahead of us. Our daughter-in-law was trying to hold her. My husband and son were walking leisurely discussing something.
A lady from back who was sitting in the driver seat in a car said some thing . We couldn’t hear.
She drove the car, stopped it beside us, opened the car door and said “adorable family”.
So for me one of the American thing is not hesitating to show their appreciation even to strangers.
David Bothof, Draftsman/Designer (2004-present)
The Hamburger. (Cheeseburger is included in this)
- Like many American things, the name is confusing (it’s not made of ham nor was it invented in Hamburg).
- While it does have immigrant roots from another country (Hamburg style beef), few of us care to really know its history or geography… as long as its yummy.
- It is made out of beef. The beef industry has had a huge influence on this country. It’s where the “cowboy” culture has its roots.
- We take your stuff, like “Hamburg beef,” and de-fancy it into something less refined… and then act like it’s the best thing ever. (pizza, muscle cars, heavy metal, etc.).
- We love exporting our cultural influence around the world, whether you like it or not. We’ve even exported our hamburger culture all over the world through an over-the-top corporation: McDonalds.
- It’s not healthy and we don’t give a crap.
- It’s not sophisticated and we don’t give a crap.
- Though there is a “standard” hamburger/cheeseburger (hamburger beef patty between two buns, lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise), the types of hamburgers are almost limitless. Americans LOVE having thousands of choices of everything. Go to an American drug store and try to pick a brand of toothpaste. It’s overwhelming. So the thousands of ways to make a hamburger fits this phenomenon perfectly.
- The hamburger is like the Constitution… it’s a basic guideline within which you are free to do what you want. As long as you follow the Hamburger Constitution (a hamburger beef patty between two buns), you can add whatever you like and it’s still a hamburger.
- They are quick and take hardly any prep time. Throw the patties on the grill, cut the lettuce and tomatoes while they cook, get out the condiments and boom! 15 minutes after you started, dinner is served! Americans love things that can be done quickly and efficiently.
- Multi-tasking. Not only is it quick to prepare, it can be eaten with one hand, allowing the busy American worker to eat while working or driving, or all three.
- Americans LOVE driving and they love eating, and the hamburger, being easily eaten with the hands, influenced the onset of Drive-thrus (another American phenomenon), where you can get your food without even having to get out of your car and then eat it WHILE YOU DRIVE! Amazing.
- Out of the cowboy culture, which was influenced by the beef industry, comes “bull riding.” Yes, young hamburger wranglers actually RIDE their food for dangerous thrills.
- A hamburger is a melting pot. It’s bread, it’s vegetables, it’s meat… all at the same time. In the same way that our country is made up of many different cultures from all over the world and all the better because of this, a hamburger is a bunch of different kinds of food all working together in order to make something better.