This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Great! That means, to a simple- minded American, a chance to do some business and make a shitload of money. But ‘demand’ in the UK means something different. It is something made by spoiled children who need proper discipline. ‘Well, I’m sorry, but you can’t leave


‘em ‘ere’, said Ponytail. ‘Everybody wants their bikes worked on now. We wooden have room for ‘em aw.’ This too, is understood by Ameri-


cans. There really isn’t any room. Not anywhere in England. We turn our feet sideways to get down the dollhouse steps in our flat, and we take our jeans out of the mini washer/ dryer permanently compressed into tiny crinkle balls. And the reason there isn’t any


room is that there are so many new- comers around just like us, except that since we originally came from England in the first place, it’s more like being an overgrown adult child


who keeps returning home, to sprawl in dad’s favorite chair after getting a second divorce and selling the motor- cycle on ebay. My mother’s American ancestors


gathered in my brain to argue that meeting demand is a darned good way to make a profit and keep bike repairmen off the dole. But my father’s English ancestors


argued back (politely) that patient queueing is the foundation of civi- lised society, and every experience of it is splendid for self discipline. In this instance, the queue began back in our own garage. In his closing statement, Ponytail


explained that if we had only brought our bikes in the winter, when bikes are not needed, all would have been well. So we trundled them dejectedly back home and decided to spend our last summer weekend selecting a Christmas tree, when we might increase our chances of getting one. It’s all about Following the


Rules! Not Jumping the Queue! The redcoats are still marching in straight lines, while we naughty colonists break the rules by hiding behind trees like wild Indians (as they were called in history books) because that way we win! We understood what he meant about social order, though. Imag- ine what would happen if tickets in cinemas were not sold by seat number! It would be anarchy, with viewers seated just anywhere they liked in movie theaters and shifting away from the tall person in front! Yes, my friend mentioned the other day that he lost his cinema ticket money, because by the time the evening finally arrived, he forgot to go. But on the other hand, in this country, crazed gunmen would have to book their nervous breakdowns in advance. We laugh when our British friends


nurture their petty little rules. But they have stood the test of time pretty well.


The American 33


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84