A lot of things about Great Britain aren’t so great. Their bathrooms are freezing and if you want a shower, you have to turn on the hot water tank and wait twenty minutes. They have class stuck so far up their ass, they still define a man by his accent. They’ve allowed Islam to bully them so thoroughly, Muhammad is the second most popular name for English and Welsh baby boys. I could list problems with the redcoats all fortnight, “But seas between us broad have roared/Since auld lang syne,” and it’s worth spending some time this holiday season remembering what we love about those pasty-faced poms.
1. THEY STILL MAKE GREAT CHIPS
Not potato chips—those are called “crisps.” I’m talking about a fat, chunky piece of potato that hasn’t been frozen and fried so severely, it tastes like someone left a pencil in the microwave. Britain still has the same chip vans it had 50 years ago and to bite into a moist, blanched potato wedge drenched in vinegar and wrapped in newspaper is to remember a time when drunken snacks were the best part of the night.
2. THEY SWEAR
I was born in England, my parents are Scottish, and I grew up in Canada, so swearing like a drunken sailor is called “speaking English.” The word “cunt” means “friend” as in, “It’s your round, you cheap cunt,” and “fucking” means “very.” In America, talking to people like that makes their faces jump and flinch like you’re lighting off firecrackers at their feet. If you do it in the South, it breaks their heart.
3. THEY’VE KEPT 100% AT 100%
British people don’t say, “I’m going to give 110%.” When they hear that, they say, “That’s mad.” Where we have let percentage inflation drift into the thousands, they’ve remained grounded and have never gone above 100.
4. THEY UNDERSTAND THE ART OF CONVERSATION
The word “like” hasn’t completely taken over Britain yet. They also understand that a conversation is supposed to actually go somewhere. It’s not just a table of people telling stories about themselves. It’s a means to an end. I’ll never forget the time I was in a pub in London and talked to a guy for about half an hour about all the horrible things England has done while conquering the world. It was a fascinating look back at history, and we embarked on the journey after he found out I was Scottish. When we were done he said, “Ah-ha! Every event I just listed was actually perpetrated by Scots.” The guy wasn’t just talking. He was sculpting an entire conversation into a double-edged sword that eloquently chopped off my head.
5. PUB CULTURE
It’s not unusual to walk into a pub and see a punk rocker with a blue Mohawk and a studded jacket sitting with an 80-year-old man in a tweed cap. If you lean in, you’ll hear the teenager say, “It’s not that I don’t love her. I’m just in over me head” and the old guy will reply, “Don’t beat yourself up about it Reg, she’ll come around.” Everyone’s your mate in the pub and they are happy to talk about anything, even pub culture. Ask a Brit about small pubs losing their business to big chains such as Wetherspoon and he will pound the bar with his fists while screaming, “It’s a bloody shame and it will be the death of us! Mark my words!” In Scotland, they’ll do it while drinking at a Wetherspoon pub.
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