Drooling on the Pillow

Monday, March 20, 2006

Our American Cousins 

An old friend who had the good fortune to be educated in England and to live most of his life in the U.S.A. sent me the following email, which he claimed he clipped from John Cleese:

To the Citizens of the United States of America:

In light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and other territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy). Your new Prime Minister, Tony Blair, will appoint a governor for America, without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium," and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in the words such as 'colour', 'favour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise." You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra'; you may elect to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you find you simply can't cope with the correct pronunciation. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up "vocabulary"). Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

2. There is no such thing as " US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."

3. You will re-learn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after carefully carrying out Task #1 (see above).

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but to be celebrated only in England. It will be called "Come-Uppance Day."

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking with a therapist, then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

6. Therefore you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

7. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All intersections will be replaced by roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric immediately and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

8. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling "gasoline") - roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.

9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps." Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with mayonnaise, but with vinegar.

10. Waiters and waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager." American brands will be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

12. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English Dialogue in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" was an experience akin to have one's ear removed with a cheese grater.

13. You will cease playing American "football." There is only one kind of proper football; you call it "soccer." Those of you brave enough will, in time, will be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the "World Series" for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.

14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due backdated to 1776.

I responded thusly:

I had to wait all weekend before my sides stopped aching. Laugh? I thought I'd plotz.

Of course, it's entirely unnecessary for us 'Mericans to revoke British sovereignty as y'all seem intent on giving it up to the frogs and huns anyway. Well, at least you're not our problem any more. If, at some point in the future you do decide to become an actual nation again I offer just a few pointers on how to stay that way.

Cars: My advice is to outlaw driving any vehicle smaller than a toaster. We'll send you a few reconditioned Hummers to practice on and you'll find, to your delight, that it no longer matters which side you drive on.

Pronunciation: you really should take into account that it is difficult to take seriously pronunciation guidelines from a people who speak essentially different languages on opposite sides of a room. One word: Llanfairpwllgwygyllgogerychwymdrobilllantysiliogogogoch.

Guns: Buy them and learn to use them. I think you'll thank us when you wake up with a French bureaucrat at the foot of your bed.

Sport: We would be happy to take your advice in regard to soccer once you learn to play the game. From my reading of the sports page the game is played in England on a level far below the rest of the world. Are you guys even trying to score? Until then, when we want to watch people in skimpy togs running around pointlessly, I think we'll stick with woman's beach vollyball.

Movies: If you want us to stop casting Brits as bad guys, I'm afraid you're going to have to kill Alan Rickman. Please wait until the last Harry Potter is done.

Beer: Try to think of the stuff as a light, refreshing quaff, not as a thick, mediciny sludge. Here's a tip: if you need a knife and fork, it's not beer.

Food: Mercifully, I'm going to let this slide.

One thing I'm afraid we're going to insist on, though. Your "Conservative" party is going to have to be renamed the Crepe-eating Girly-boys party. It looks like Tom Delay is going to have some time on his hands soon. We'd be delighted to send him over to put a little Texas in the Tories. No charge.

Lee Harvey Oswald. It was in all the papers.

Update: I have since learned from a commenter at Tinkerty Tonk who kindly linked to this posting that Snopes has debunked the Cleese connection. Which means that Ian, who sent me the email is buying the next jar of thick, medincy sludge we share
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