American Culture


American culture is one of perpetual acceleration. It’s a culture of addition. It’s a culture of hyperbole and one-upmanship.

When an American gets heartburn from eating too much, he doesn’t stop consuming things, he adds to it by popping a couple of antacid tablets.

When making a sandwich, an American doesn’t stop with the lettuce or the tomato, he adds bacon, turkey, avocado, and don’t forget the chips!

When an American company takes over another company, they don’t simplify the processes, they try to make them more grandiose, more immane. The products become bloated. The services more exaggerated. The branding more colorful. The logo more arabesque. That last one is kind of funny, isn’t it? Are the Arabs the same way? Did they invent the exaggeration of detail?

When an American takes you to court, he never sues for just one thing. On top of litigation he tries to pile his offense taken, and his physical injury, and his post traumatic stress disorder, and don’t forget how you squashed his loaf of bread, bruised his apples, and crushed his chips.

Injury of commodity. That’s definitely an American concept. Even American oranges are offended. But the good thing here is that oranges can’t litigate. They can only be entered as evidence.

Speaking of evidence, as an item of evidence to prove my point: fireworks. We all know that fireworks were invented in China, but Americans have taken fireworks to the extreme. Fireworks, in America, are shot off during holidays, county fairs—and now during funerals.


Not only is there a “Fireworks Package” at funeral homes, but you can also add your cremated ashes to the fireworks. I am really not making this up. Forget the urn and the mausoleum. Your remains will not be consigned to one place on earth, but many. I guess the rationalization there is, “What better way to scatter yourself on the wind? Shoot yourself into the stratosphere and get lost. Add yourself to the sky in a puff of smoke and some momentary sparks.”

This brings to mind a lot of different questions. Will these firework funerals be held at night? Will they be scheduled for the summer months? The cremation can happen immediately after death, but the show might have some restrictions. If it’s too windy, if the grass is too dry, if there’s a pouring rain and the fuse can’t seem to be lit, if the pyrotechnic expert has religious issues about shooting off remains, then the funeral fireworks might have to be postponed.

There are endless jokes to go along with this. If uncle Bert was a smoker in life… If he was a firefighter… If he was a pyrotechnic expert… If he was on the bomb squad… He sure knew his stuff, and proved it on his way out of this world.

It all started in America.

Published by Kurt Gailey

This is where I'm supposed to brag about how I've written seven novels, twelve screenplays, thousands of short stories, four self-help books, and one children's early-reader, but I'd rather stay humble. You can find out about things I've written or follow my barchive (web archive, aka 'blog) at or follow me on twitter @kurt_gailey. I love sports and music and books, so if you're an athlete or in a band or you're a writer, give me a follow and I'll most likely follow you back. I've even been known to promote other people's projects.

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