What do you like best about your country? What sort of things spring to mind when you think about your homeland? If you're an American, did you immediately think of mom, apple pie, and baseball?
I only ask because I saw a really inspiring art display at the library the other day. It featured paintings by a bunch of 5th graders with the theme "50 Great Things About America." As an amateur painter myself, I was eager to check it out. (Yes, it's true. In addition to being a poet, dancer, romance writer, chainsaw juggler, and three time yodeling champion, I am also an amazing artiste. Is there no end to my talents? Truly I am a 21st Century Renaissance Woman!)
Anyway, I loved this. The poster boards were divided into fifty little squares with a drawing in each and what the drawing was supposed to represent written underneath in case you had any doubts. Since this was obviously a school project, most of the beginning squares were of the usual school history stuff: George Washington, the flag, the Statue of Liberty, the Declaration of Independence, Betsy Ross, pilgrims, etc...but once all that was out of the way there was some really great pics that made me laugh.
You know, it's pretty hard to come up with fifty patriotic things. One kid, obviously trying to stretch out the George Washington theme listed "wooden teeth" with a great drawing of some gnarly brown chompers. Another wrote "freedom" and illustrated it with a picture of a guy smiling and possibly getting jiggy - the squiggling lines surrounding him suggested dance to me. Well, how else would one draw freedom? I thought it very fitting.
But my favorites were the oddball things near the end as the kids were obviously struggling to come up with anything to fill in those damn squares! Here they are in no particular order: monster trucks, Hannah Montana, soup (Soup! I love this kid!), George Bush (d'oh, future Republican voter!) Jesus, karate, Batman, vitamins (what???), and Dollywood (with a fabulous picture of Dolly Parton featuring her giant boobs.
Now I'm dying to make one of these paintings! I plan to go to Michael's Art Supplies today for a canvas, some acrylic paint, and a ruler to make those fifty little squares. That part will be easy, but the question is - what should I fill them in with? What are my favorite things about America?
So I started making a list. This is what I have so far:
1. Paula Dean and her sticks of butter
3. Magic 8 balls
6. Venus Flytraps
7. Intercourse, Pennsylvania (the name makes me snicker every time)
9. shrunken heads
10. the TV show "What's Happening?" (I loved Big Shirley)
12. Viking helmets (as everyone knows the Vikings discovered America)
13. Jesus riding a dinosaur (the Creationists assure me it was so)
14. filthy limericks
15. chicken waffles
16. knife throwing hillbillies
17. Charles Nelson Reilly (the most famous knife throwing hillbilly of all)
18. robot butlers
21. the Bermuda Triangle
22. Christian rappers
23. taco trucks
24. the flying monkeys of Oz, Kansas
25. the annual Women's Tobacco Chewing competition (I can't wait to enter one day!)
26. urine therapy (very big in Chattanooga I hear)
27. the boogeyman
28. coniferous forests
29. the ancient and bitey feral cat people of Norco, California
30. peyote fudge
31. chimps that speak sign language
32. bouffant hairdos
34. heated toilet seats
35. eye patches
37. TV's MacGuyver (Patty and Selma are right, he is dreamy!)
39. Frankenberry Cereal
41. Senator? Al Franken
42. goat sacrifices to the internet gods
43. the space aliens who will be landing here in 2012 to guide us into a new era
44. Hello Kitty panties
46. Cobra wrestling
47. chocolate covered bacon
48. Ouija boards
49. penciled in cholita eyebrows
and last but not least
50. 14 karat gold, Elvis collectors plates for only $29.99
Whew, it was hard trying to come up with fifty uniquely American things that rock, but I think I got her done. What would you add to the list? What am I forgetting?