I’m an Aussie. But people oddly mistake me every day for an American.
I let them. It’s kind of fun.
The truth is I was born in Australia and have lived here my entire life. Our culture is so closely tied to America that we fool the locals on the ground all the time.
I’ve spent a lot of time studying the US because more than 60% of my readers come from there. So do some of my best friends, including my business partner.
Here are some strange observations I’ve had about the US from my trip there and extensive research.
Not a lot of public toilets
I piss like a fish.
Part of my diet involves drinking a lot of water. This means I can’t go long before I’ve got to go, if you know what I mean.
The US doesn’t have a lot of public toilets. Every time, I had to go on a safari just to find one on my visit. It made me uncomfortable.
Living within a knife’s edge of clean underwear and potentially piss/poop-covered jocks is my worst nightmare. That’s the game you play in America.
Putting up with obvious lies
There are two American lies I find weird.
1. Inflation was transitory (temporary) and will go away
It hasn’t gone away at all.
In fact inflation is at record highs in America. Yet the folks in charge told us not to worry. It affects me as some of my income is paid in US dollars.
When more than 40% of US dollars ever to exist in history were created out of thin air in the last two years, what do American leaders think will happen? Nothing? Some mild price rises?
Australia follows America’s lead. Monkey see monkey do. We created a bunch of free money from nowhere too. Our inflation just peaked the same as the US. We’re bleeding from price rises.
Why aren’t US leaders hauled over the coals when they blatantly lie?
2. The definition of a recession
I never thought I’d see the day. Recently, the White House released a statement trying to change the definition of a recession.
What the hell dude?
They argue that if there are two quarters of negative GDP, but employment numbers look good, then it’s all gravy baby. They’re, like, so wrong. We all know their employment numbers are BS.
You can have a one-day-a-week job and be employed, and still be in desperate poverty. I don’t get why the US leaders can keep changing definitions to suit their own agenda.
A recession has always been two quarters of negative GDP. Too late to change it now just because a few grandpas have got egg on their faces.
Big bad guns
In Australia only cops and soldiers have guns.
Everybody else doesn’t want or think they need one. In America guns are everywhere. It was scary to walk into a diner and have a large man with a beer belly walk past me with a gun down the front of his trousers.
It felt like if I said one wrong word I could have a bullet lodged in my brain. No thanks. So I kept my potty mouth quiet, you know, just in case.
This weird obsession with guns didn’t make sense to me. Then I wrote about it. While I still don’t believe in it, I did learn why it matters from the hundreds of replies I got.
Some Americans believe that if their country ever gets invaded, then the right to bear arms is a second line of defense after the protection they get from the US military. Finally it made some sense to me.
Again, I don’t agree but I crave to understand.
Adults who love Disney
Fairytales are nice.
Once you become an adult you normally forget about them. I don’t know whether it’s the “American Dream” or some other odd reason … but US adults can’t get enough of Disney.
The Disney virus has spread into everything — including Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel. I swear, if I have to see another Marvel hero movie I’m going to puke.
Disney sucks. There are way better storytellers out there.
If I go to Florida one day I’m not going to Disney world. No. I’m going to visit Sean Kernan … oh … and have some fun with Tom Cruise at the sci*ntology center of the world with some good ol’ fashion brainwashing.
Throwing tantrums in courtrooms
It feels like the solution to every problem in America is to sue each other.
Going to court seems to be a last resort in most countries. In America it’s the first resort. The poor judges.
I watched Judge Judy growing up. People would literally argue on that show over $2 of milk. How Judy put up with it, I have no idea.
Arguments can be settled with reason, listening, and humility.
The obsession with flags
In Australia hardly anyone has a flag on their front lawn. We love our country, don’t get me wrong. We just don’t want to let it all hang out.
As I trekked through America it felt like most houses had a flag. As a non-American it sent a strange message: if I’m not American does that make me somehow inferior?
The chemical romance with hamburgers
Trying to get a salad sandwich on my US trip was hard.
But hamburgers? Hamburgers were everywhere. There was always someone in a fast food place willing to throw a sloppy joe on the grill and put me in a grease coma.
All that grease isn’t good for us.
The hamburger sauces are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and all sorts of chemicals that automate obesity.
A hamburger once in a while is a nice treat. But on every corner? It felt obsessive. Don’t get me started on all the glorified sugar water.
I learned recently that most US males are circumcised. I asked a few US friends and none of them could tell me why. In Australia we don’t get the chop. It hurts.
We like our man bits the way they get delivered at birth.
An obsession with religion
I’m not religious but I respect anyone who is.
In America religion is huge. It’s more than a belief in a god or a bible. There are whole theatre performances. Churchgoers get the devil sucked out of them on stage in front of thousands of people and then drop to the floor.
There are healers. There are people claiming they’ve crossed between multiple worlds. It just seems … I don’t know … too much.
Religion exists in every country. In America it feels dialed up to the max.
A love of football
Football is a cult in the US.
The Super Bowl is bigger than the 4th of July or Santa Claus. Call me simplistic but it’s a ball being passed around a football oval isn’t it? We have football in Australia too. Just not so big.
Football is an escape for us Aussies rather than a religion.
Dog shows and kids’ beauty pageants
Look, I love freaking dogs too. Their faces are so cute and I want to kiss them. Ask my wife. In fact, ask one woman I went on a date with.
“We can’t be together. Your obsession with dogs is gross.”
Now admittedly I did kiss her dog on the lips and then kiss her — but that’s beside the point.
In America they have dog shows. Cute pets get turned into circus animals for the enjoyment of … I don’t know who, actually.
Dogs aren’t the only cute creatures made to jump through hoops. Kids’ beauty pageants are a thing in the US too.
Innocent kids who’ve got their whole lives ahead of them are turned into young adults overnight for the sake of fame and, of course, prize money for the parents.
Both dog shows and beauty pageants feel like exploitation.
Maybe I’m crazy.
Despite all these weird observations I still love America.
Every culture has its differences. When you’re not from there it can seem weird. But for those in the middle of it, it’s a way of life.
In case you’re wondering, Australia isn’t perfect either.
We’ve got out of control wombats, snakes, spiders, and a circus of leaders running the country too.
Oh, and the rate of natural disasters here is faster than at any time in history. Yet Aussies love to tell you “everything is fine here, nothing to worry about. She’ll be right mate.”
The best way to learn about different cultures is to visit different countries and experience them. What’s weird to you might be normal to them. We’re all different. What makes us different can make us beautiful too.
God bless America.