Deep Thoughts

10 Great Things About the Brits

December 27, 2013

John Cleese

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, “€œBut 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 “€œcrisps.”€ 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.

“€œI was born in England, my parents are Scottish, and I grew up in Canada, so swearing like a drunken sailor is called “€˜speaking English.”€™”€

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 “€œspeaking English.”€ The word “€œcunt”€ means “€œfriend”€ as in, “€œIt’s your round, you cheap cunt,”€ and “€œfucking”€ means “€œvery.”€ 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, “€œI”€™m going to give 110%.”€ When they hear that, they say, “€œThat’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 “€œlike”€ 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, “€œAh-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, “€œIt’s not that I don”€™t love her. I”€™m just in over me head”€ and the old guy will reply, “€œDon”€™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, “€œIt’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.

Pay to Play - Put your money where your mouth is and subscribe for an ad-free experience and to join the world famous Takimag comment board.