America Week 2015

The 22 Things You Must Do to Truly Be an American

<a href="">Joseph Sohm</a> / <a href=""></a>

As much as we love to complain about the line at the Starbucks drive-thru being so damn long, you’d be hard pressed to find anybody -- short of, maybe, Edward Snowden -- who's not proud to be an American. 

But in a country that’s made up of people from everywhere, it’s hard to pin down exactly what makes someone an American; you know, other than a reflexive inclination to sing along with that Lee Greenwood song from Desert Storm. Which is why we tried to figure it out, and in the process came up with this handy checklist of 22 things that, if completed, should technically get you into the fast line at customs when you land at JFK.

Put something you don’t need on a credit card

Sure, you bounced your last rent check and your six-month-old iPhone works perfectly fine, but can you really put a price on the humiliation of being the only guy in the office with a "5"?

Drive an SUV

And not one of those sissy hybrid ones that gets better gas mileage than a Kia. Anything over 20mpg, and you’re basically European.


Shoot a gun

Preferably a large one with no practical use other than being large.

Go to court

Next time you stub your toe at the grocery store, remember: there are thousands of Americans out there with $150,000 in law school debt who desperately need your help. And Safeway’s got plenty of money.

Take on student loans

And speaking of debt, having the common sense to realize you don’t need a college degree to be a corrections officer somehow flew out the window the minute the housing bubble burst.


Don’t even worry about who’s playing. Just eat your burger, take your beer pong shot, and start yelling “ROLL TIDE” for no reason whatsoever.

Supersize something

Most Americans can attribute at least 2in on their waistline to that extra 39 cents they threw down when the "Large" fries didn't look as if it would hold them until the next exit.

Drive two blocks to the gym

No need to wear yourself out before that rigorous half hour on the elliptical.

Go to Disney World

If you lack the requisite screaming kid to entertain you whilst you spend hours in line for the It's a Small World ride, see if you can borrow one. It takes the edge off the stifling humidity, trust us.

Show an unsettling amount of pride in where you went to college

Only in America can you give someone $100,000 in return for a piece of paper, and spend the rest of your life telling everyone how your paper is better than theirs.

Shop at Walmart

Bonus points if you wear a pair of ill-fitting, brightly colored stretch pants and/or anything in camo.

Eat aerosol cheese

Even if you've gone completely vegan and wouldn't touch it now, at some point, the highlight of your day was a mouth full of pressurized Velveeta.

Google a metric conversion

Those cookbooks really need to understand that the only people in America who know how much a gram is have probably spent time in prison.

Judge someone by their area code

818? Ew. Just... ew.

Drink your body weight in coffee. Before noon.

America didn't become the greatest country in the world by sipping espressos. And if you're taking time to rest, you're not working hard enough.

Humble-brag about how much you work

And speaking of working... If spending your life inside, never going on vacation, and popping pills to control your high blood pressure are cool, then Americans are Miles-freaking-Davis.

Spend an entire weekend watching football

Eating is an option. Leaving your couch is not.

<a href=";pl=edit-00">Settawat Udom</a> / <a href=";pl=edit-00"></a>

Eat at a chain restaurant abroad

Why spend a whole day scouring Yelp for restaurants with $40 hamburgers when there’s a perfectly good McDonald’s right in the heart on Monaco?

Develop an unhealthy obsession for a reality TV show

This should require you to lose at least four nights of sleep wrestling over the plot line, and stay in one weekend to "catch up." You know, instead of living your own life.

Party on a boat... or on an inner tube

In some parts of the world, a day on the water is a chance to peacefully relax. In America, it's a chance to Mardi Gras at the nearest sandbar or party lake.

Wear a large article of clothing made of the flag

Or, if you’re female, a very small bathing suit is perfectly acceptable.

“Stock up” at Costco

Does it really matter if you end up throwing away 10 boxes of pizza rolls to make room in your freezer for the 20lbs of chicken strips you just bought? Of course, it doesn’t! This is America, there’ll always be more!