God Save The Queen

I keep threatening to do it.

After all, it’s only a short hop over the pond to merry ole England. But the real question is: can the grass really be much greener in a nation that refers to a pack of Kools as “fags” and continues to drive on the wrong side of the road? Well, yes. Yes it can.

So today I looked up the address for the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. As a back-up plan, I also filched the address of the British consulate in Canada. It occurred to me (in a state of giddy paranoia) that someone might try to stop me from carrying out my plans. I might have to slip across the border into Canada to make contact with the Brits.

But as soon as I resolved to covertly contact the Brits, the paranoia began to whisper into my left ear. I don’t have a clue why it’s always my left ear, but I’m not sure that fact is really very important. 

“They’ll never let you go!” the paranoia told me. “They’ll stop you, and drag you off to Guantanamo Bay!”

Within a few minutes, I was peering furtively out the curtains. The CIA might have read my mind. They can do that, you know. I figured maybe they might try sending an operative down the street behind the converted 19th century textile mill where I currently live. Oh, I know what you’re thinking: Greg, the CIA doesn’t even have a mandate for domestic intelligence gathering.

Tell that to Lee Harvey, you fools.

Eventually, I calmed down. The ice cream man drove down the street, attracting a horde of little Mexican children. Most of the houses behind where I live (in northeast Alabama) are part of an ethnic neighborhood of Mexican immigrants that came here in the early 90’s to work in the hosiery mills that make up a large percentage of our economic base. Which is a tad ironic, since as soon as most of the Mexicans arrived, the descendants of the carpet baggers who built the first sock mills closed up shop and moved to Mexico and Central America to take advantage of sweat shop wages.

For a few moments, I considered the ice cream man. He looked like a crystal meth addict from my vantage point behind the curtain. I was wearing a metal collander on my head, ostensibly to defeat the mind control devices. But maybe that’s just what the CIA wanted me to think.

I ducked when a couple of kids (already half-finished with their root beer popsicles) looked up and saw me staring down. They laughed and said something in Spanish. I didn’t do too well in high school Spanish, but (if I’m translating right) it sounded something like “crazy white man’s got a collander on his head.”

The ice cream man, pushing the last of his sugary dope off on the kids, turned up the horrid, jangly ice cream man version of “Freebird” and drove away, never once looking up. Of course, that might be just a clever ploy to get me off my guard. When you let your defenses down, BAM! Just like Emeril, but with a silenced 9mm.

This might be harder to pull off than I had anticipated.

But maybe that’s part of their plan, too. I’ll have to be careful.

And what, you may be asking, has got my underroo’s in such a wad?

I’ve decided to become an Englishman.

I mean, I already speak the language. And I suppose I could get used to saying “mum” and “p’raps” and adding a “u” into words like “flavor” and “color” (thus becoming “flavour” and “colour” and looking pretty sissy if you ask me).

You see, I’m just about tired of America. I’ve always considered myself a pretty patriotic guy, but jeesh! How much can one guy be expected to take? This is just not the America the Beautiful described in my fourth-grade history book. Where did that America go? What happened to the red, white, and blue?

Beats me. But I’ve never been one to believe in going down with the ship. And this ship, neighbors, is headed straight for Davy Jones and that locker we keep hearing so much about.

Oh, some folks are still clinging on. Country music singers need to eat, after all. So they play to this market, even throwing one of their own (that Dixie Chick, for example) to the wolves once in a while; to make sure everyone knows that they’re REAL Americans, by God.

(a completely unnecessary diversion:)

These are the same folks who are really uncomfortable with the term “gay cowboy”. Actually, now that I mention it, I don’t know how comfortable I am with the term, either. I admit it: curiosity (of the cat-killer variety) got the best of me, and I rented Brokeback Mountain. Not one of my favorite movies, as it turns out (of the closet).

Please don’t misunderstand. Just because I used “fag” (its cigarette-related meaning) and admitted that I’m not comfortable with the concept of gay cowboys doesn’t mean I am homophobic. One of my favorite cousins (who I think hates me) is gay. I have gay friends. Okay that was a lie…but I wouldn’t mind having gay friends. That should count for something, right? It’s just that, to most of the kinds of folks I’m talking about, gay cowboys represent a radical shift in paradigm; a movement away from traditional American appetites and values (like mom, apple pie, and those stickers you see on Chevy pick-up trucks that show a kid peeing on the Ford logo).

But those same people would probably love to string me up even more than the Dixie Chick that said she hated George Bush. Or whatever it was she said.

After all, I hate George Bush, too! And I’m not too big on country music, either. Those two facts alone make me pretty much a commie.

But you see, I’m just sick of America. I don’t mean the apple pie and mom part (though I don’t really have an opinion on the whole Chevy/Ford debacle, as I drive a Honda).  But how much am I supposed to take?

Time after time, our politicians, our military, our corporate executives, and Wal-Mart have disappointed me. The military industrial complex is determined to keep spending gazillions of pounds (oops! got a little excited; i meant “dollars”) on instruments whose only purposes are to kill and destroy. Is that what constitutes “intelligent spending”? We can’t provide our citizens with basic medical care, and we’d rather spend money on prisons than education, and we make fun of the French for a so-called “culture of surrender” yet can’t admit the War on Drugs has failed.

One of our own presidents warned us not to let the military industrial complex grow too far, too fast. Did we listen? Nope.

So what do we have now? We’re the world’s policeman, and as such we seem to be fixated on repeating the Rodney King beat-o-rama whenever possible. We sacrifice the lives of our young men and women, and tell their grieving parents they died for “freedom”.  A “freedom” that we buy with blood and trade for oil; a “freedom” we impose on the freewill of others. A “freedom” we seek to win (at any cost), even as we prop up dictators and psychopaths who take away the very intangible ideal from their beaten-down populations.

We’ve gotten to the point where we can look each other in the eye and carry on a serious debate about what is an allowable level of torture that can be inflicted on others.

No. I don’t think I’m a bad American. I think I’m a disgusted American. And maybe one day I’ll be a disgusted Englishman. 

So how do I plan to become a born-again Brit?

Well, the way I look at it is this: my ancestors left the shores of Ireland and Scotland in a leaky, rat-infested ship with all they owned on their backs and in their pockets. They came seeking a better life. And, from what I understand, they found it. But no one ever asked me how I felt about leaving the mother country for the savage and wild New World. Maybe I missed the memo. But I’m of the belief that they had no right to make that decision for me, as I was not even a twinkle in my great-great-grandpappy’s eye at the time.

So I’ve decided to write the British Embassy and demand my rights as a British citizen be re-instated (after-the-fact or not). The first draft looked something like this:

“Dear Your Majesty,” I write, “I, Gregory Purvis, being of (mostly) sound mind, wish to hereby surrender my American citizenship, which was foisted on me without my consent or approval. Please find enclosed a copy of my family tree, produced on “Family Tree Maker”, which, Your Majesty, is pretty cool and fairly easy to use, too. I can burn you a copy if you wanna check it out.

“Anyway, as you can see from the information, which I got mostly from my Uncle Jimmy, I am your basic Scots-Irish. But don’t worry, Your M! I have absolutely NO plans to protest or throw Moltov cocktails or join the IRA. I’m totally a pacifist, though I’m not a hippie or anything. I DO kinda like the Sex Pistols, and I know you and Johnny Rotten aren’t on that great of terms, but I am not an anarchist, either. In short, Your M, I promise to be a good subject and to bow if I should ever get the chance to stop by Buckingham and take tea with you or whatever. What kind of tea do you like, anyway? Well, you can tell me later. I’ll probably need some lessons on how to be English, but at least I already speak the language!

“The fact is, Highness, I am kinda a little pissed that my ancestors even came over here. I mean, I guess they had their reasons. I think Uncle Jimmy said some of them might have been starving. And we DO have good food, here, so I can kinda see the reasons. Hunger’ll do that to you, won’t it? Oh, well, I guess that sounds pretty stupid. I’m sure you have never been hungry, because you’re the Queen and you guys drink all that tea, anyway. But my point is, I’m sure my ancestors got sick of eating weevil-ridden potatoes and their own stillborn children.

“But they should have at least consulted me, don’t you think? So if you’d send along a new passport to the address enclosed, I’ll start packing.”

I’m really excited. I printed it out and mailed it earlier. If I can just keep the damn mind control rays from learning my plans, I’ll be wearing women’s undergarments before you know it.

God save the Queen!

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1 Comment

  1. Living in the UK , or in pastoral Ireland, sounds too good to be true; it probably is. Our band will settle for touring there one day. Great blog! Keep ’em coming!
    -The Magic Words


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