I hate America.

I just said that to drive up my readership numbers. Sorry if I offended anyone.

There are certain phrases that guarantee increased government attention and I’m committed to seeing my military/government readership grow to at least 5%. It’s still hovering at 2% and I’m not at all satisfied with that. I want for markmaynard.com to be the first thing the National Security Council reads in the morning, before scanning Al Jizzeera (That looks too dirty. That can’t be the right spelling.), or the most recent Dilbert cartoon.

While I don’t really hate America, my recent trip to Italy has reinforced a few things that I was already thinking about. I don’t have time to go into them all right now in detail, but here’s a high-level view.

1. We are too isolated from the rest of the world.
2. We are too fat.
3. We drive cars that are too big.
4. We don’t enjoy life as much.
5. We don’t foster viable communities.

Now, while I think all that is true, I do think that there are some good things about this country. Here they are…

1. We invent things and solve problems.
2. The American work ethic.
3. The American breakfast.
4. Entrepreneurship.
5. Our willingness to risk failure.
6. Film, comedy and other forms of entertainment.

The most important of these things is the American breakfast. I’d forgotten just how poorly they eat in the early hours in Europe. They are happy with a two-inch by two-inch piece of toast and a shot glass of coffee syrup. This is not right or good. Bacon (either real or fake), eggs, pancakes, hashbrowns. These are the things that make an ideal breakfast. Europe puts all of their effort into dinner, which, by the way, they eat much too late. We, on the other hand, spread the meals around. We don’t put all of our eggs in one basket.

There is nothing wrong with big breakfasts. It’s in our make-up as a people. We need it. It has to do with the fact that we work hard and burn calories. When European men were trying on their fancy clothes, smoking cigarettes, and looking at themselves in their mirrors, my great-grandparents were turning over the land and breaking their backs. That calls for a Cracker Barrell-calliber feeding.

I guess that’s all I wanted to say. I’ve thought quite a bit about it and I think that I’m right. There are quite a few things that we can learn from the Europeans about enjoying life, but there is absolutely nothing that they offer when it comes to the most important meal of the day. I will NEVER accept their vision for the first meal of the day. NEVER. I would sooner end my life than see this great country of ours follow them down that croissant road.

The road to hell is paved in croissants.

Hmmm… What else do I want to say?

“Why are the Europeans so lazy,” you askf. Well, I think that they’re lazy because they understand history and they know that our time here is limited. Americans are an odd bunch in that we don’t understand that. We feel, somehow, that we have stepped out of time. We don’t have a real understanding of this thing the Walt Disney Company calls the “circle of life.” If we did, we’d probably be happier just sitting on our asses smoking cigarettes and drinking wine. When you accept the fact that you will die, and when you’re happy living for the here and now, solving cancer becomes a lot less important than making a good pasta or sitting in the center of town, chatting with your neighbors.

I feel as though we could afford to lean a little more in that direction, but I like the fact, and I’m proud of the fact, that we set our sights a little higher in this country. We want to send men into space and cure cancer, even though, in the whole scheme of things, it probably doesn’t matter all that much.

OK, I need to go and start on Crimewave now. See you later.

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