Even Our Beavers Are Different

I’m a fan of a bunch of ex-patriate blogs here on WordPress (check out Ellen Hawley’s blogroll on Notes from the UK for a great list of bloggers straddling cultures), and after years months of reading these blogs study, I think I’ve stumbled across the difference between Americans and Europeans: it’s all about beaver.

See, there are only two varieties of beaver in this world, the European Beaver which looks like this:

677480_44997684and the North American beaver, which looks like this:

677480_44997684
As you can see*, they’re a lot alike, and, according to the scientific journal Mammal Research, both European beavers and their American cousins inhabit similar ecosystems and lead similar lives, dividing their time between chewing down trees and building up dams.

Except there’s this one perhaps not inconsequential difference: European beavers are monogamous, while American beavers sleep around.

I’m an American who writes about science law Dr. Ruth Westheimer beavers sex, so this bit of information absolutely delights me, because of course American beavers are out there slutting it up. I’m sure there’s a few whole bunch of Europeans who read this blog and are nodding their heads right along with me, but for different reasons.

“Isn’t that just like an American?” I imagine them saying. “Even their beavers are vulgar.”

Since my knowledge of Europeans comes mostly from watching Masterpiece Theater, I could be wrong about what they might think. Perhaps when they hear about our sexy beavers they’ll think something like “How wonderful!” or “Isn’t that interesting?” rather than express disgust at our aquatic mammals who are unable to resist their baser instincts.

I guess I’ll never know for sure what Europeans think unless I travel outside the US. As readers of this blog know, I’ve been contemplating a trip to Great Britain where I could observe the inhabitants up close in their natural surroundings, just like the scientists who researched the mating habits of beavers, rather than long distance, via an episode of Downton Abbey.

In the meantime, I’ve been reading all these ex-patriate blogs, trying to prepare myself, and I’ve come away with the distinct impression that the rest of the world has a few problems with Americans. And South Americans have a problem with us even calling ourselves “Americans” because aren’t they Americans, too? What’s with these self-centered, self-absorbed, conceited, narcissistic  norteamericanos thinking they’re the only Americans that matter in the whole entire world?

Anyway, if you Google the phrase “American stereotype” you’ll find out what much of the world thinks of us. To them, Americans exist as a dazzling array of unpleasant characteristics.

  • We’re violent. We all carry guns and shoot one another at random.
  • We’re loud. We talk loud, we laugh loud, we breathe loud, we just have to announce our presence everywhere with noise.
  • We’re obnoxious/rude/uncouth/arrogant. Take your pick. Or all of the above.
  • We’re ignorant about the world, and most everything else.
  • We’re obsessed with money.

And maybe we are all of those things. All I know is that when I travel to Europe, I want to make sure that no one ever says after I leave a room, “Of course, she’s American.” Instead, I want to absolutely explode the stereotype of Americans in the minds of the Europeans I encounter. When I leave the room, I want them to say, “Can you believe she’s American?”

I'll even eat French food.

In my effort to prove that not all Americans are provincial, I’ll even eat French food.

I haven’t yet figured out how I’ll do this. Maybe I’ll wear a beret. Maybe I’ll chain smoke cigarettes out of a skinny cigarette holder. Maybe I’ll drop the names of world capitals into conversation. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to lose my accent, which sounds like I’m from New York to people who have never been to New York (I’m actually from Connecticut originally), but I’m thinking I might have to pretend to be mute, which would at least solve that “Americans are loud” thing, too.

So I’m prepared to do all that, and explain our lecherous beavers to them.

*The actual title of this photo, and I swear I am not making this up, is “Wet Beaver.”

Royalty-free stock photos, including the images in this post, can be found at freeimages.com.

If You Ban Sex, I’m Going To Take My Ball and Go Home

 

My leftovers will look deceptively edible!

A deal at any price!

As an American, I’ve found it hard to get aroused excited about the 2014 FIFA World Cup, currently being held in and around Rio de Janeiro.  Oh, wait. I better take a moment to explain to my American readers what I’m talking about: the World Cup is this global soccer football soccer tournament held every four years.  A really big thing in other places not located in the United States.  It really is.  I know, I can’t believe it, either, but I’m not shitting you, it’s a very big deal.  I even saw a huge pile of US team jerseys for sale at Costco this past weekend that I, along with all the other shoppers, ignored as we headed off to buy the 42 pound bag of Scoop Away cat litter and the 128-piece Rubbermaid food storage set.

1998163_full-prtEvery so often, I’ll come across a World Cup news story that is so unusual that it piques even my American interest. For example, I was particularly startled by this story, US Team Defeats Ghana. After reading that headline, I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.  Yes, the United States team, led by their captain, Clint Dempsey, managed to win its opening match on Monday!  My red white and blue heart swells with national pride. On the flip side, how depressed is the entire nation of Ghana right now?  I mean, they lost to the Americans.  The Americans!

I’m not sure why Americans, who are exceptional at every thing else, suck at soccer football soccer. Perhaps it has something to do with what you have to do to be good at it. From cbssports.com:

Mexican national team coach Miguel Herrera wants his team thinking about football during the World Cup, not sex.

As such, Herrera has banned his team from having sex during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

You can't even get to first base in this game!

Ooooooh. Now I understand why they never score.

And the Mexicans went out and beat Cameroon, 1-0, last Friday. Then the Mexican team went on to play one of the tournament’s favorites, Brazil, to a tie on Tuesday. Those of us here at Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please can only hope that their powers of abstinence are waning. And if the Mexicans lose their next match, I’m calling a victory for sex.

Go Croatia!

You can catch all the exciting World Cup action televised on ABC and ESPN/ESPN2 and streamed on WatchABC and WatchESPN.  Or you can watch paint dry.

Royalty free stock photos including the image in this post can be found at Stock.XCHNG.  The image of the happy lady with all her lovely plastic containers comes the Rubbermaid website and is believed to comply with fair or acceptable use principles established in U.S. and international copyright law.  The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil official poster is used in accordance with the guidelines published here.