Hey, guys? It’s me — America. We need to talk.

Phew, okay. Where to start? I just had a birthday, which, you know, HOORAY! But here’s the thing: a lot of you are really going the wrong direction for my presents. I don’t want to be that guy, but my therapist (Canada) told me I need to express myself if I want to be heard.

For example, I love that you gave me a song. That was really sweet. But, um, I don’t know if you knew this but … I don’t really want bomb imagery in my song. I don’t want to be ungrateful, but the flag is kind of your thing more than mine. I mean, you guys created it as a sort of tally of the plots of land you stole, so … look. I don’t mean to be a dick. It was a nice gesture. But I actually kind of like that song “America … Fuck Yeah!” That was nice! Or maybe “America the Beautiful” but only the first verse and less religious?

Aw, man. Am I micromanaging your composing? Sorry. But I’m only a country. I DO want to feel beautiful. And, okay, here’s a big request: [deep breath]. I’d like for you to not use my song to keep citizens in line or oppress them. I don’t want to feel like people HAVE to sing my song. Like, I know you’re just being protective, but … it’s really awkward for me when you do that. It kind of puts me in the middle, you know?

Another thing we need to talk about: the Statue of Liberty. It seems like she’s being ghosted in favor of just more flags and aggressive America imagery. It’s nice that you like me and all, but the Statue of Liberty is a really good friend. And it sort of feels like the whole “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” is just, like, not fitting in with your narrative so you’re just canceling her. That’s fucked up, man. She’s a friend. Also, I didn’t really want to say anything, but you all immigrated here. Your families were the tired and huddled masses. I don’t know if you know this, but I used to have a lot more purple mountains majesty before some of you all showed up (through IMMIGRATING here) and dumped a boatload of Walmarts and Pandas Express on my fruited plains.

Phew. That was weighing on me.

Look, it’s not like I don’t like you guys. But it seems like every year it’s kind of YOU celebrating my birthday, not me. How would you feel if every year on your birthday your friends and family just showed up drunk at your house with your face on a shirt and exploded shit in YOUR yard? Because that’s pretty much what my birthday has become at this point. And I didn’t want to have to get too real here, but don’t you think it’s a little fucked up to make such a big deal about the fact that some football players won’t stand for my birthday song because of the troops when y’all are mainlining Coors and setting off fireworks without giving two fucks about the veterans in your neighborhood?

I know what you’re thinking. Whoa. America. This sounds like some liberal bullshit. But, you know what? You never asked me what my affiliations were. The truth is I’ve been trying to tell you this for a really long time. I’m a country that likes ALL of my people, and I’m willing to change and learn new things. I guess, given the definition of liberal, that makes me a liberal.

And while we’re on the topic, I have to say I’m going to take a lot more kindly to people who are desperate to immigrate here and get to know me than I will to unendurable racists who wear hats suggesting I need to be made great AGAIN. Kind of passive aggressive, don’t you think? I don’t go around wearing a hat (wherever I’d wear one — Minnesota? Vermont?) that says we should make YOU great again. Because that would make me a douche.

And another thing. I don’t want to, like, Americasplain to you, but I think you’re doing patriotism wrong. I was reading all these articles this week linked from my friend’s MySpace (I know, I know, I’m old!) and I gotta say, the message is pretty disheartening. A lot of it reads like a high school pep rally in which cheerleaders are lecturing girls who they’ve teased into anorexia about school spirit. I gotta say I’m not suuuuuper comfortable with my name being attached to that. I mean, I’m all for coming together. But shouldn’t we maybe stop acting like phenomenal dicks to people before the coming together part? Wouldn’t coming together work better if we weren’t calling the police on Black people for merely existing? Or referring to people trying to seek asylum as animals? I feel like that would work better. Just a thought.

Well, I’ve got to run, but here are a few ideas for my present next year:

  1. A selfie stick (I’d love to get a good dating profile pic but you guys just can’t quite get all of me)
  2. The latest season of The Americans on Blu-ray. Compelling!
  3. A framed photo of Therese Patricia Okoumou. That lady GETS me.

Good talk.

H & K,



Notes from the author: If you feel inclined to read more from me, you can find my “hilarious” cancer survival tale here, my Nancy Drew Review Project on Blogger and my writing in fiction form in Suspense Magazine and The Sleuth. Also, follow me on Medium, Instagram, and also Twitter even though it’s garbage.

Thanks for reading!