Eulogy for America, 1776–2016
Good morning. I want to thank you all for being here today. I know it can be difficult to take time out of your schedule for events such as these given your non-existent paid leave or sick days as well as inadequate childcare. And of course the ladies in attendance will have to work 20% longer to make up for their absence but that’s the way the cookie crumbles! At least that’s how America would’ve said it, if he was still here.
While death is inevitable, it’s somehow always still a shock. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that a year ago none of us expected we’d all be sitting here today. But instead of focusing on endings, I’d like to spend some time this morning reminding us all of what America used to be.
Born in 1776, the United States of America — who almost always preferred more casual monikers like “America” or “The U.S.” or most recently “USA! USA!” — is remembered as a rambunctious and independent youth, pulling off jolly good stunts like dumping a whole bunch of tea in to Boston harbor! So naughty! Lesser known and discussed is how America was also incredibly bloodthirsty, hacking to death, scalping, and enslaving Native Americans and doing his darn best to destroy Native American culture — a similar mission, I might add, that USA! USA! was still pursuing just prior to his untimely death. But, what can I say, boys will be boys! If you look back at historical renderings and the few available tintypes of Native Americans, I think we can all agree that they were dressed extremely provocatively and were most likely asking for it.
As USA! USA! grew, it was important to create a Bill of Rights because he had many, many rights and wanted everyone to know about them. This Bill of Rights did not extend to the aforementioned Native Americans who were actually the only “real” citizens of the land because as USA! USA! was wont to say, “Ha ha ha! Be serious!” The Second Amendment was certainly the most forward thinking of them all, allowing future first graders, churchgoers, toddlers, movie watchers, and innocent unarmed African Americans to be slaughtered without consequence. USA! USA!
Let’s fast forward a bit because to quote one of USA! USA!’s favorite sayings, “History blah blah blah bo-ring”, so let’s talk about the Sixties! Those are always fun. While America was in a great deal of turmoil, all kinds of cool white people things were happening like psychedelic posters and bell bottoms. The movie makers of the future would love to use these superficial visual cues to inexplicably encapsulate a time of tremendous social unrest — where assassinations were a particularly exciting highlight — because the takeaway should always be “The sixties were so fun and groovy, especially in terms of outfits!”
The seventies represented a period of true awakening for USA! USA! as expressed through big floppy hats and a staggering variety of venereal diseases. But towards the end of the 70s, USA! USA! began to clearly see the road ahead. The road that would be called “I’ve had my fun, so how can I ruin things for literally everyone who comes after me?” This would lead to the eighties, best captured by Donald Trump Jr. prototype Gordon Gekko, the character played by Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street. USA! USA!’s favorite part of Wall Street is how Mr. Gekko carried a phone that looked like a shoebox with an erection. Ha ha! Can’t you just picture USA! USA! wanting his own erection shoebox phone after seeing that? I certainly can!
Well, he did get that phone and he did go down that new path, and that new path with an erection shoebox phone was called Wall Street. The actual place not the movie. Anyone who knew USA! USA! during this time is probably chuckling to themselves right now, remembering his whole “nothing is more important than money stop calling me at work” motto. Oh, USA! USA!, you really knew how to tug at the ol’ wallet strings. The following years and decades really blend together as an unapologetic orgy of obscene consumption, the highest quality cocaine, and super classy hookers. Of course any sense of stability or security profoundly cratered for non-Wall Street folks at the end of 2008 but let’s remember the now immortal words of USA! USA!, “Fuck you guys, I got mine!”
However, in the past eight years USA! USA! really seemed to turn a corner and demonstrated a maturity that made us all feel that he was ready to settle down. His approach seemed more measured and thoughtful and surprise, surprise, seemed to include women, people of color, LGBTQ folks and all other kinds of human beings with feelings who were apparently wearing cloaks of invisibility in the 200 years prior. Looking back now, it was a fleeting illusion, like when you’re driving really late at night and you’re all, “Is that a deer? Or a sign? Or a person? Deer? Sign? Shit, is that a person? What’s a person doing walking on the side of 95 at this time of night? Wait, that’s a sign, okay, definitely a sign.”
Instead of a turn towards stability and long term promise, it turned out to be more like a Leonard Cohen-esque phase, one last flash of soulful humanity. For what transpired in the last year and certainly the past few days has been nothing short of a circle of life moment. And by circle of life, I mean death. Not really a circle. More like a straight flat line that dead ends by smashing into a concrete barrier going at, like, 130 miles an hour after drinking a gallon of Everclear.
I know we will all miss USA! USA! and the promise we once thought he held. But I have to say, after reading this eulogy aloud maybe it was just time for USA! USA! to go. No, no, that’s crazy. That’s my grief talking. Man, this just really sucks.
In conclusion, thank you again for coming. Peace be with you all and, please, if you’re wearing a head scarf, are gay, black, Muslim, a woman, a girl, disabled, Hispanic, a refugee, an immigrant (ha! Aren’t we all!), trans, some kind of smarty pants, and/or a minority in any sense of the word, I suggest you put on one of these red ball caps here and exit through the backdoor to the parking lot. Do not, I repeat, do not make eye contact with anyone. USA! USA!
Eulogies are meant to be shared. Aren’t they? I’m not sure that’s actually true but if you aren’t currently curled up in a ball and making barking/crying sounds with your face, please consider hitting that recommend heart shape thing because misery loves company.
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