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June 24, 2009

America is like a really nice bathroom

We live in the greatest country in the history of this or any other planet in all the known and unknown universe.

I was reminded of this recently when I used the automatic soap dispenser in the men’s room in one of our city’s finer saloons. As I positioned my palm beneath this hi-tech device, which dispensed exactly the right amount of just the perfect texture of pink, silky soap into my palm, I wondered how our lives could possibly get any better.

I also wondered what my great-grandfather would have thought of that fully automated men’s room. Consider: You enter a tastefully decorated room where adult album alternative music softly wafts from hidden speakers. Humming along with The Decemberists or Son Volt, you do your business, lather, rinse and dry without having to touch a handle, tug a lever or press a button. The only time great-grandpa had such a carefree whizzing experience was in utero. Well, and pretty much every time he peed because he just went out behind the barn, but my point is: America is awesome. And we take this kind of routine pampering for granted.

Experiencing this glorious symphony of carefree hygiene, how could I not be reminded of our ingenious American way of life? The various electro-laser bathroom fixtures so perfectly mirror our well-oiled branches of government: the political branch, the corporate branch, the Christian branch and the media branch. Each has its important role to play in keeping America the greatest country in the history of this or any other planet in all of the known or unknown universe.

The corporate branch is like the automatic toilet. It knows just how to do the behind-closed-doors dirty work that produces the masterpieces of public policy that truly make us all proud to be American. The Christian branch is like the soap dispenser, sudsing our souls and breaking down our nasty, dirty sins. Taking its instructions from the corporate and Christian branches, the political branch rinses away our cares with refreshing slogans and cascading television appearances that inspire and entertain us. And the media branch makes the critical link between our government and its God-fearing, freedom-loving, consumer-Americans, dispensing the truth like an automatic paper-towel machine, exactly as it has been determined by the corporate, Christian and political branches of the American Way.

And if any one of them failed to hold up their end of the bargain, what would we have? Cuba, that’s what. Or maybe Mauritania. Here’s a summary of my discontent: My arms aren’t long enough to give America a hug.

Now, I realize naysayers will claim that our country has led the world into a devastating economic collapse. And that our addiction to cheap patio furniture and Xboxes has brought our very planet to the brink of ruin, not to mention made it impossible for Target to close a store for remodeling without throwing thousands of desperate shoppers into frantic fits of withdrawal, ultimately selling their bodies on the streets of St. Matthews in order to get enough gas money to drive to the J-town or Bashford Manor Target for one more soothing bump of Xhilaration. And, thanks to our aggressive exporting of capitalism, China, India, Brazil and Russia are going to crush our economy, enslave our people and force our children into sweatshops, where they’ll work 20-hour days making chopsticks, iPhones and nesting dolls out of the smelted metal of our own guns (because, as every political theorist and seventh-grade boy knows, “he who smelt it, dealt it”). Also, “American Idol” is rigged.

All true enough, but it is our duty as Americans to trust that these events are happening according to a plan laid out by the leaders of the American Way. Leaders who are, like the great American bathroom, perfect.

Now, true perfection is, of course, exceedingly rare and highly elusive. But it’s important to remember that what might seem like imperfection can in fact lead us down our proper path. Or, as Gotama the Buddha told the young Siddhartha beneath the shade of the Banyan tree, “On the path to enlightenment, it’s important to remember that just because a chick is fat doesn’t mean she isn’t hot.” And so it is with America, which, like a really nice bathroom, is something so awesome our ancestors wouldn’t even recognize it. 

*This story is part of LEO's Fake Issue.