May 14, 2004

Mail Me America

Coleen, Diana and I were talking this afternoon and a very interesting question was raised. Let's say you had to put a package together and mail it to a foreign country. What would you send that best represents America?

Here are the rules:
- You can include one item, or multiple items;
- The whole package can only weigh a couple of pounds and not cost a huge amount of cash to mail; and
- The recipients can understand English.

And if you're not American, as I know a few of you aren't, what would you expect to get?

Posted by Chris at May 14, 2004 02:22 PM

A bag of McDonalds greasy crapburgers; a subpoena to McDonalds for a lawsuit involving an obese person claiming McDonalds forced the burger and extra-large fries down his/her throat; and a dictionary (and possibly a book of grammar) with all the pages ripped out.

=) Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Posted by: pie at May 14, 2004 02:40 PM

Okay, this happened because my cousin's wife IMed me the question. Only what she included (and Chris left out) was that you can't ship FOOD.

That takes out everything great about America, in my opinion.

Send 'em baseballs, Frisbees, and Silly Putty.

Posted by: Coleen at May 14, 2004 02:44 PM

I'd expect to get a draft card, ammunition, remote control & an NFL football. :) Ask me again in November - some of my answer may change.

Posted by: Kimmie at May 14, 2004 03:36 PM

Subway tokes and US Weekly.

Posted by: Diana at May 14, 2004 04:07 PM

I would send a beauty magazine, a hand gun (maybe a toy one), a video game, and a never been used gym membership card...

Posted by: Skitz at May 14, 2004 04:21 PM

How about an assortment of candy bars? That's pretty American.

Posted by: cassie-b at May 14, 2004 04:36 PM

A bag labeled Ideals with the following in it: a card explaining the symbolism of the Flag and directions for proper care, pamphlets on every major religion in the world, a copy of Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

Another bag labeled Reality: A voter registration card that had never been used (not mine), My last gas receipt, My last hospital bill, Pamphlets from the Christian Coalition, a newpaper clipping for every gun-related death that week (big bag).

Given time, I could probably think of up something better though. :-)

Posted by: gesikah at May 14, 2004 04:39 PM

Hmm...the whole gun thing doesn't actually say America to me at all. I can think of lots of other countries that I'd associate ammunition and guns with.

I like the football idea. Other countries have adopted baseball, but football (the pointy kind, not soccer) is still pretty exclusive to the US.

I was going to say peanut butter...but no food kinda ruins that. J.Lo perfume? Hehe.

Posted by: Anne at May 14, 2004 04:47 PM

I'd expect to get a Big Mac, a can of Coke, an American flag, a miniature Statue of Liberty, and a letter of apology from George W. Bush.

(Maybe I'm aiming too high with that last one, I know.)

Posted by: Mel at May 14, 2004 05:36 PM

I would send:

A diet coke
A starbucks gift card
a tv guide
a pocket dictionary
a copy of the constitution
and a nice juicy steak

Posted by: Amy at May 14, 2004 05:42 PM

I'd Mail a Monopoly Game, A copy of the pre-amble to our Constitution, an American Flag, a baby jar filled with soil and aloe seeds, and a pair of Levi 501's.

Posted by: Lee at May 14, 2004 07:43 PM

A tattered, unrecognizable flag
Pieces of tornado debris
A letter of apology

Posted by: Tonya at May 14, 2004 08:04 PM

(whoops.. I just read back and saw someone else said letter of apology)

But maybe it should come from all of us.

Posted by: Tonya at May 14, 2004 08:14 PM

I'd probably send:

diary of some common middle-class person
a KISS cd
DVD of "Jackass the movie"

Posted by: Maureen at May 14, 2004 09:19 PM

I would expect: a US flag, a one dollar bill, a hamburger, a football, a cheerleader (they don't weigh much don't they :)) and a donut.

Posted by: Sweety at May 14, 2004 09:47 PM

I don't think that I could ever come up with a package that I think totally represents America. It's impossible. America may mean "sports" to one large group of people, but there are just as many people in this country who don't know which state the Cowboys play for. America may have an overwhelming abundance of fast-food restaurants, but that doesn't mean that I'd ever send a hamburger (has anybody ever read "Fast Food Nation?"...I haven't eaten red meat in years).

My point is, like it or not, America still represents a huge variety of cultures, colors, tastes, and individual preferences. I think it's impossible to include something that even a large number of people would consider to be a true representation of American life.

Sorry...I probably took this question too seriously, and I know it's probably not be the kind of response you were looking for. It comes from my lack of a typical "lighthearted" answer, I suppose. :)

Posted by: Zandria at May 14, 2004 10:33 PM

I would send a copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, Peanut Butter with a history of Booker T. Washington, a copy of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, a copy of Sports Illustrated (preferably one with Lance Armstrong on the cover), and a picture of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

Why? The Constitution gives us our freedom and is what everything America has is based on. The Peanut thing is to show that America while not always admitting to its wrongs, creates a place where former slaves or the children of slaves could create something wonderful. In 1947 when The Fountainhead was published only in America could a woman from Russia print such a book. Sports Illustrated to show America's love of sports and how athletes can come from humble beginnings and again be something great. The Picture of Neil Armstrong is the epitome of the American Spirit. Give Americans a challenge and (well at least we used to) join together and bust our asses to get a solution to it. An entire generation of engineers busted hump to get us to the moon because exploration is part of the American dream.

Posted by: Goodsnake at May 15, 2004 09:05 AM

A big bottle of attitude
A prescription for Xanax (for which you'd have to pay top dollar, even if you have a prescription plan)
A huge bag of crap from Walmart
And an itinerary

I guess that sums up my feelings of what we must look like to other countries. A bunch of arrogant, screwed up, mega-consumers on a tight schedule.

Or maybe that's just me...

On the other hand, we have some really beautiful scenery and wildlife and a whole lot of really good, talented, intelligent people in this country. I just don't think those are the things that leave an impression. So if we packaged all of that up, the recipient might think they got it from some other country.

Ask me again when I'm feeling a little more optimistic about this country!

Posted by: Empress at May 15, 2004 09:10 AM

Ugggg...I say diddo and kudos to Goodsnake. Except I would add one more thing, my Army Achievement Medal so I could show that despite all the stuff in the previous packages, some people still love this country and are proud to serve it.

Posted by: Ginny at May 15, 2004 09:43 AM

i would expect to get.... er....

a nuclear warhead,
a jar of peanut butter and jelly,
a pair of silicone tits,
a syringe of emergancy botox,
a compendium of all the best box office smashes,
a small lawyer,
the best looking version of chinese in a small carton of take out anyone could want to dive into with chopsticks,
therapy vouchers, for a year on the couch!
A marvelous pink cadilac (sp?)

(ok ok so the weight rule might be a touch out now hehehe)

Posted by: Fluffy at May 15, 2004 10:19 AM

- a beevis and butthead dvd (to give an accurate representation of america's youth)
- an american flag (because that's the best physical representative entity of our country)
- some american money (i always love looking at money from other countries)
- fortune cookies, frozen pizza, frozen burrito (just to show a sampling of the food we eat ... and to show the american twist on international food)
- "john adams" by david mccullough (to send the story of how america started and the ideals our country was founded on)
- bowling for columbine dvd (to show how tragedy affects the average american and that we can criticize our government without persecution)
- a great book of pictures from around the country (to show the beauty of the united states)

Posted by: tj at May 15, 2004 11:19 AM

I love how half of the answers are very serious, thoughtful responses...

...and the other half all are, "I think I have some crap in my garage I can send. Let me check."

Posted by: Coleen at May 15, 2004 11:43 AM

I'd send:

- some New Jersey pizza, Tjej says it's awful there.
- peanut butter, because it's just my favorite food
- a jazz album, Ella Fitzgerald perhaps
- some The Far Side comics
- top secret strategic military plans I hacked from the CIA... no, I'm kidding about that one
- and a comic that mocks Bush, like this,to show that not all of us support him

Posted by: Chrissy at May 15, 2004 11:50 AM

I would send:

A baseball
A Jar of Peanut Butter
A tape of Howard Stern
A gift card to L.L. Bean (with catalog).
A high school yearbook from the current year.

Posted by: feisty girl at May 15, 2004 05:11 PM

-a stack of maxed out credit cards
-anti depressants
-a list of every diet program available

Posted by: Dana at May 16, 2004 07:56 AM

I would send CD's representing the various music that America has contributed to the world (or inflicted if you include boy bands); a book on the history of the United States; & various pictures from around the country showing the beauty of America & her people (we're really not all that bad, world).

Posted by: Jay at May 16, 2004 10:43 AM

I would send a voodoo doll labelled "American" with a journal detailing things that I think our country as a whole represents to much of the rest of the country, things like "Monday, Brought McDonalds to the huddle masses of other countries. Tuesday, didn't watch the news, didn't care. Wednesday, pissed on the flags of every country I could find. They aren't like us, and they talk funny." S/he would come with a bag of "American" things: a carton of "Freedom fries," a God Bless America t-shirt, a portable TV set, an SUV, stuff like that. S/he would be fat.

Then, I'd include photos of my friends at protests and things which show that we're not cookie cutter people. I think that people are learning that, but it's never bad to remember that we're different.

I'd also make sure to include my address to see what they'd send me about their country.

Posted by: Del at May 16, 2004 12:29 PM

... something to add to my previous comment: TiVo! Send me TiVo please :)

Posted by: Sweety at May 16, 2004 12:33 PM

I'd send a short documentary - go to the largest playground i could find and film the children at play. Its title would be "My Country 'Tis of Me" and the theme would be diversity and hope. Perhaps ask some of the children what America means to them or what they'd do to make the world a better place. You'll find it all in a playground - laughter, innocence, honesty, tears, hurt, anger, and smiles. Left to their own devices, children tend to interact well regardless of ethnicity, religion, culture, income, and in spite of barriers such as language. What better ambassadors for our country than our children?

Posted by: Anne at May 17, 2004 12:16 PM

A DVD player and one season of each reality tv series there has been and is. They'll either laugh or back away slowly.

Posted by: etherian at May 17, 2004 01:40 PM

Well I'm American, but I don't live there... Hell! I'd settle for that box of Girl Scout Cookies!!!

Posted by: Amber at May 18, 2004 09:03 AM