becoming ‘merican

… living in America … got to have a celebration …

I moved to the Bay Area in April, 1995, then to Los Angeles in April, 1998. I’ve travelled a bit around the country, seen many things and while I’ve been here for almost ten years now, I don’t consider myself American.

I can apply for American citizenship next year, once I’ve had my green card for five years. You have to take a citizenship test and if you pass, you get a fancy ceremony that you can have your photo taken at, and from there, you’re all official.

I think that they’re missing a couple of pre-requisites, however. It’s my belief that to be considered an American, you must be able to perform two particular life skills that the citizens of this fine land have mastered. Ideally, they would become instinctual, or else you might find yourself being looked on as an outcast somewhere down the line.

Firstly, you must be able to effectively, and safely, perform a high-five. You must be able to execute this at the appropriate time, typically during a sporting event, and usually in concert with the people sitting near you at the time. Once the basics have been learned, you can, if you desire, reach across a table or bar to give someone a single-handed high-five, but this takes practice and should not be attempted lightly. Apart from the danger of a finger to the eye, a missed high-five is regarded as an indication of weakness and you may be shunned from your group as a result.

While the high-five is a physical skill, there is also a vocal skill that needs to be mastered. The “woooooo!” or “woohoo!” (hereafter, grouped together simply as “woohoo!”) has been refined over two hundred and fifty years, and is probably the single most heard cry in sports-related activity the nation over. For a foreigner to attempt a “woohoo!”, it is best for the subject to be in an inebriated state, as the relaxed condition of the body and mind will make the sound easier to produce. For maximum effect, the “woohoo!” and the high-five can be attempted in unison, but should only be attempted by trained professionals — or American citizens.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever really be able to perform either of these — naturally, or otherwise — so the likelihood of me becoming an American citizen is probably slim. Eating all of the junk food under the sun and having a gun rack in my pickup’s cab probably isn’t enough to push me over the line.

say something

… hey… why didn’t you call me … I thought I’d see you again …

I went out on a date a while back with a really nice girl, a doctor, in fact. She was interesting, friendly, and very nice on the eyes as well. We chatted the night away over a few frosty beverages at a pub that she’d picked out, and then I walked her to her car. I told her I’d had a great time and asked if we could get together again. “Sure,” she replied. “I’m going to Atlanta for the weekend, but next week for sure.”

I gave her a call on the Monday night and left a message. No response. I tried again on Wednesday night. Again, no response. I didn’t hear anything for another week, so I sent her an email to let her know that I understood that she wasn’t interested, but that a simple “thanks, but no thanks” would have been appreciated. That got a response.

“Now I feel like an ass,” she wrote. “I was trying to save your ego.” There was more, but that’s the gist of the email.

Hmm, so instead of simply telling me that you weren’t interested, you decided to leave me in the dark for a week, and make me wonder what you were thinking. And, just how does that save me from taking a hit to the ego? My thinking is that she thought it would be uncomfortable for her and for me. I’d just rather know. People need to learn how to communicate, especially where relationships are concerned. We’d only been on the one date, so it wasn’t a big deal at all. Maybe it’s just me, but I like to be up-front with people, and let them know the situation.

I met a wonderful girl about a week later, so I was actually glad that the doctor put the kibosh on me.

The questions remain however. If you don’t like someone after a first date, do you tell them straight away, or let them work it out for themselves when you don’t contact them? And is one way better on the ego than the other?

spare a nickel?

… say don’t you remember … I’m your pal … buddy can you spare a dime …

The NBA All-star game is on this weekend, thankfully, not in L.A. Last year when it was here, I tried going to a pub to see the band Buchanan play and stupidly forgot my wallet, which meant I only had $15 in my pocket. Usually, that would get me in the parking lot ($8) and in the door ($6), with a whole dollar to my name, and no beer in my hand! The joys of capitalism fell upon me, however, when I arrived at the usual parking lot to find their going price jacked up to $20. Needless to say, with no street parking to be found, it was a short night.

That’s all kind of irrelevant, but I figured I’d throw it in anyway. My real question is this: why do basketball people call assists, “dimes”? I’ve thought about how it might have come to be, but haven’t come up with anything that might border on being valid. I know, I hear you yelling, “Google is your friend”, but that would just ruin the mystery.

Making nicknames for things, and abbreviating words is pretty common in the sports world, but basketball has some doozies. I remember once hearing someone say that a player hit the three pee jay in two oh tee for the double ewe. Just seems like a waste of thought to me. Oh, translation for those who preferred the sandbox to sports in school — he hit a three point jump shot in double overtime to win the game.

Of course, if I had had some more dimes, nickels, washingtons, jacksons, or even benjamins in my pocket last year, I could have seen the band play.