Wednesday, November 29, 2006

They're Comin' to America...Today!


Ahhhh...Switzerland!

Home of the Alps, Fondue, and the weird guy who sounded like Arnold Schwarzenegger sitting next to me at dinner...

I have two friends that love to throw dinner parties and have a pre-set seating chart in order to insure conversation and create a flow for the evening. The food is guaranteed to be good so I put up with the pretentiousness of it all...including the dessert wine. It's like Gosford Park only set in Brooklyn, and instead of rich people- there's us.

Swiss guy just became a citizen so he was all about letting us know that the citizenship test he just passed made him an expert on all things in the "good ole' U.S. of A". In between courses of Hanz* asking us why in English the word "Ottoman" can describe an empire as well as a chair; We were subjected to Hanz* cross-examining us in regards to what we actually knew about our own country. Hanz* was going to give us a "friendly" dinner quiz. When someone who sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger gives you a quiz, it doesn't sound friendly. It sounds more like you are on a train somewhere in Europe duing WWII and you are being asked to "Show your papers!" When it was my turn, I was asked to name the original 13 colonies. Easy!!!! Ha!!! So I started:

1) Maryland - (I was born there, so it was a gimmie'!)
2) Virginia- ( ok, I'm on a roll)

ummmm.

ummmm.

panic.

Great! I mean, at one time I knew this. It's just buried way back in the far reaching corners of my brain. To stall for time, I casually mentioned that the 13 colonies are represented in the stripes of our flag which was sewn by Betsy Ross. (Ha! Did you know that?) I can tell you some stuff about the guy who wrote the National Anthem, a Mister Francis Scott Key. Heard of him? (Anyone? Anyone?) Nobody was impressed. I was really going to have to do this. I continued...

3) New York - ( Had to be one)
4) Massachusetts - (Tea party)
5) New Hampshire - (It was a guess, but I know a lot of white people live there.)
6) Connecticut - (Same reason as number 5)
7) Delaware - (Washington crossed it. So it had to be around back then. Wow, this is the worst reasoning ever)

Half way.

ummmm.

ummmm.

Go to the South!

yes!

Here goes nothing...

8) North Carolina- (?...Holy crap!)
9) Then...South Carolina - (For real? How can some Dixie flag waving place have been one of the original colonies? Shouldn't they have evolved just a bit more by now? Oh, at this point I'll take anything.)
10) Georgia- (total guess)

My brain was starting to hurt. Come on, already!

11) Pennsylvania- ( Why did I not think of that earlier? The damn liberty bell. Duh. First capitol.)

Then I just blanked. I couldn't do it. I wanted to eat. I gave up. You know what I forgot? Rhode Island and New Jersey. I forgot a state so small it still calls itself an island, and I blanked on the home of Bon Jovi. Whatever. I think I did pretty good, but not good enough for Hanz*. While he relished in his victory I reminded him that for someone who hails from a neutral country, he wasn't acting so damn neutral. He mentioned that the Swiss also have the largest stockpile of defense weapons...perhaps that was a veiled threat to back it up. I took it as an open invitation to mention to all the women sitting at the table that an interesting fact about the Swiss is that it wasn't until 1990 that all women in Switzerland finally gained the right to vote.

Immediately the tables were turned and Hanz* was suddenly the one being quizzed by a table of five women. As his panic set in, I sat back relishing the most recent victory at the table and enjoyed my meal in peace. Welcome to the land of opportunity, Hanz*!

* Swiss guy could have been named Franz. Not sure. Don't care.

4 Comments:

Blogger Sister Mary Lisa said...

I'm Hanz, and he's Franz, and we're gonna PUMP (hit chest) YOU UP!

I loved this post. It's so true that we are considered ignorant of historical things by Europeans sometimes. I got that from my Austrian host family on occasion. One time they made me sing our national anthem in the car, because they didn't think I really could. Jeez.

I love how you put him in his place. Too priceless.

5:18 PM  
Blogger eebmore said...

I got shredded by a mexican because I didn’t know the words to the national anthem. I have no intention of even learning the words to the national anthem - like anyone is going to ever invite me to sing at the opening of a baseball game. I’m strong on the history, and might have possibly been able to stump hanz on some swiss history questions, but I’ll be damned if I ever bother to learn the words of the national anthem past “...the dawns early light.”

12:27 AM  
Blogger eebmore said...

"blog approval?!"

12:29 AM  
Blogger "said" Woman said...

ee- I pride myself on blogging babysteps...

1:03 AM  

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