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Ten Reasons Why I Love America

Russian-born novelist Gary Shteyngart loves America for many reasons-one being that we're willing to pay him to explain why.


10. I love how people treat me with respect in America. Sir this and sir that. I'm 33 but I look like I'm fifty so when I walk into a store, service people practically get down on their knees and beg me to share my old man's wealth. I can live with that.9. I love how this is such a big country but when I travel around everyone speaks a fairly standardized kind of English. Sure there's the famous Southern drawl, but from what I understand the influx of Yankees into the sunbelt is slowly killing off Southern culture and diction. Sweet!8. I love how young this country is. I don't have to study what happened two thousand years before Christ to fit in around here. Federalist Papers, the cotton gin, "Let's go Yan-kees! Let's go!" and I'm golden.7. I love how I can dress all informal in America. I don't even own a freaking tie! And if someone gets married or dies, screw them. I'm an American. I'm wearing my duck cufflinks and my "sports blazer," whatever the hell that is.6. I love how American women smell. Whether they're native or immigrant, small or elephantine, everyone smells like the height of freshness even in the summertime. I can respect that.5. I love how cute and powerless the American intelligentsia is. Keeps it honest.4. I love how Americans can be so innocent abroad. On the rare occasion the dollar rebounds they can still act pissy with the waiter, but when I see a middle-aged couple in some freaky country these days it's like, "H-h-h-h-help us, mister. We've just been r-r-r-r-robbed and s-s-s-s-stabbed." And I just wipe their blood off with my sports blazer and say, "Dere, dere, li'l chile, no cry you."3. I love how every tiny thing I do in America they give me money. Little musings, overused anecdotes, mindless gum flapping. Anything I do-money. I don't know what I'm getting for this article but I'll bet ya it's gonna be a lot of money. And money means I can indulge in my passions and pursuits and contribute to this nation's idea of itself. Or as the youth like to say, "Whatever."2. I love how most Americans believe some supernatural higher power is going to lift them up into paradise once they expire, but at the same time they work ninety hours a week to invent new technologies that make my earthly life long and comfortable, although, come to think of it, largely static and meaningless.1. Four p.m. cheeseburgers with extra onions and tepid American sex on a day when the stock market's closed. I love it.