Friday, December 7, 2007

As American As...

Baseball, Mom and Apple Pie...

I debated leaving out that phrase to let the reader fill in the blank as part of the conceit.

Everyone and their dog has used this cliché to describe some aspect of life in America, from illegal immigration to massive credit card debt to the latest model SUV with extra cargo space, a DVD player and heated leather seats. Googling the phrase to discover its orgin only muddied the waters of what it means to be “as American as” that game with a stick and nine players, your biological maternal unit and granny smiths chopped and mixed with a good heaping of sugar and tapioca baked to gooey perfection.

The web search for “American as…” lead to Music, Drugs and Movies, a tag for a Flowmaster Exhaust system and a What kind of Chocolate Pudding are You quiz that I refused to investigate. There was an ad for Jim Salestrom, a musician who someone loved as much as…you guessed it. I also found a screed on how politicians HAVE to like baseball, Mom and apple pie, as though those were bad obligations. Though I suppose cherry lobbyists would appreciate slight modifications, not to mention Hockey Players or for that matter, Dads.

Even old Bartlett Quotations let me down as I could not trace the source of this tried and true phrase that has been used to describe so many and so much while revealing so little. These words have been used to justify cookies and milk at snack time for kindergartners from super unctuous nutrition police in Lembke, though I don’t actually think Lembke is in America. Money management used it to describe the need to save for retirement. Five pages back in the Ask Jeeves search, were sites dedicated to both love and hated of all things Walmart, and a promotional page for a Portland Oregon Radio Station. Ten pages deep into Google, there was a scary website I also wouldn’t visit, hotboxingnews. I'm sure it's very heart warming and patriotic though.

I guess the need to equate one thing with another and ascribe virtue and appeal is very American. Think I’ll grab a pizza, watch some football and call my Mom.
What can I say? I’m still something of a traditionalist.

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