An interview with … America
Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham
“So … is it tough, being you, and all?”
I was nervous as all get-out – if you can tell.
I’d been working for weeks to secure the big interview – the biggest interview, actually, of my life.
I mean, it’s not every day when you get to ask questions of the beacon of freedom and democracy.
Yep, you guessed it.
“No. I only know what it’s like to be me, I suppose,” America said to me.
The embodiment of all that is right with the world.
In the flesh.
Talking to me.
I had a million questions – but my time was cut short.
We were in a Ford Ranger (don’t fret, Chevy lovers – if it’s American-made, America owns one) on our way to a Happy Birthday fete being held in America’s honor.
“Twenty minutes, max,” America’s personal assistant, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, insisted.
“We’re on a tight schedule. Imagine how many of these we have to go to today,” Blair said.
So I had to keep it simple.
“Does it bother you that so many people around the world seem to … hate you?” I asked.
Getting right to the heart of the matter.
“Yeah, sure. It bothers me,” America said, over Blair’s protestations – something or the other about how “this was supposed to be a fluff piece, you bloody bloke …”
America grabbed Blair by the hand.
“It’s OK,” he said, then turned to me.
“I love mom, baseball and apple pie, and I don’t mind pitching in when somebody else needs help. I work hard, and I make good money. So, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why that makes people hate me,” America said.
“Do you think to yourself sometimes that you’ll just …”
“I can tell where you’re going with that. No. I’m not going to tell the rest of the world to just shove it,” America said.
It was as if the whole country was reading my mind.
“I have a little extra, you know?” he said. “I feel like, if I can help, I ought to.”
“But they sent planes into buildings in your two favorite cities. And they were going after the White House or the Capitol with that last one …”
“I’ve dealt with bullies before. The British …”
He turned to Blair, patted him on the back.
” … Burned down the White House in 1814. It’s just a house. I rebuilt it. And Britain is a friend now.”
Blair was on his cell phone.
Speaking French, it sounded like.
America’s assistant was chatting up the traitorous …
“And no, I’m not mad at France. Or Russia. Or anybody, really. Life’s too short.”
I scribbled that into my notebook.
America: ‘Life’s too short.’
“It’s not a bad way to go through life, Chris, when you think about it.”
Now America was counseling me.
A nation of millions, trying to hold me back.
“We all want to take on the world at one time or another. But in the end, you’re only worth as much as the friends you have. And I have friends all over the world.”
As I jotted this down, I realized …
Practically every enemy that America has ever had is now an ally.
The Brits. The French. The Russkies. The Japanese. Spain.
“I’m still working on the Middle East. They’re good people. They just … they just feel wronged. I don’t know why. But …”
“We’ll work through it.”
“You sound so sure of it.”
We were almost at the birthday party.
Our time was running out.
“It’s been nice talking to you,” America said, reaching out his hand.
“Likewise, of course,” I said, grabbing and shaking the right hand of opportunity the world over.
“Come on. Join us. Have a slice of cake,” he started to say.
“I don’t know …”
“I won’t take no for an answer.”
As you might guess, it’s hard to turn down America.