A Ridiculous List of American Life

Taken from a Twitter thread created upon my return to the US after three years abroad, this re-organized polished ridiculous list was my way of managing the reverse culture-shock of returning home. While it is in no means comprehensive, I think it provides a different viewpoint on the mainstays of American culture which are often glossed over in ‘listicles’ of the Top x American food items or the ‘top x strange things Americans encounter when they travel to Y.’ I largely left off the deeper societal issues that everyday Americans face. It is not a slight, nor ignorance of the issues. I welcome their discussion but that’s not the focus of this list.

Photo by Melissa Newkirk on Unsplash

Shopping and Clothing
1. Warehouse (membership) stores
2. “The customer is always right”
3. Black Friday and general obsessions with sales, discounts, and coupons
4. Millions of credit card offers and store credit cards
5. Constantly returning things and stores with crazy return policies
6. White framed sunglasses
7. Cargo shorts
8. University sports shirts (especially if you are a middle-aged man
9. Khaki pants/Dockers
10. Men wearing their pants low and/or too loose
11. Sweatpants in public
12. Polo shirts
13. Baseball hats (bonus points for backwards
14. Plaid of all colors and sizes
15. Cowboy boots and hats (and culture)
16. Hunting gear and camouflage

Photo by Illumination Marketing on Unsplash

Daily Life
17. All dogs on leashes
18. Dogs wearing clothes
19. Dogs in stores, shopping carts, and airports
20. BIG American flags
21. An intense love of parades
22. Awards & rankings
23. Braces & straight white teeth
24. Witty church signs
25. Old oversized vintage neon signs
26. Amish
27. High fives
28. Thumbs up
29. MM-DD-YY

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

Transportation

30. Automatic vehicles
31. Pickup trucks
32. Bumper stickers (and other dangly bits on trucks)
33. Driving everywhere and giving time estimates, not miles
34. Yellow school buses
35. Drive thrus (and drive-ins)
36. Classic cars (I’m from metro-Detroit aka car city)
37. Yellow and orange cars
38. Road trip culture (& convertibles)
39. Motorcycle culture (and some states with no helmet laws)

Photo by Vladimir Proskurovskiy on Unsplash

Sports and Hobbies
40. Football (rivalries) and tailgating
41. Cheerleaders
42. Baseball
43. Laser tag
44. Tubing (boating)
45. Red solo cups
46. T shirt cannons
47. Bowling alley leagues
48. Marching bands
49. (Ranked) workout classes w/ *a lot* of yelling
50. Martha Stewart
51. Scrapbooking
52. Quilting (especially folksy style)
53. Massive arts and crafts stores in general

At Home
54. Garbage disposals
55. Massive appliances (washer/dryers)
56. Mobile home parks
57. Home renovations DIY
58. Obsessions with tiny houses

Speech
59. Droppin g’s off words
60. Changing er to a in words
61. Overuse of very, really, and literally
62. ayyche not Hhhayche (H), zee not zed
63. Our love of z’s in words (disorganized vs. disorganised)

Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash

Entertainment
64. Folk music
65. Dave Matthews Band (culture)
66. Country music
67. Sweet caroline ba ba ba
68. Simple organized dances (hustle, Ymca, cha cha slide)

Photo by Terry Jaskiw on Unsplash

Eating and Drinking
69. Complicated food orders (“sauce on the side”)
70. Splitting the bill. Never buying each other a round
71. Tipping everyone for everything
72. Free refills
73. Dressing on everything
74. Mayo on everything
75. A deep love of casseroles
76. Checking the ID of anyone under 50 before buying alcohol
77. Low calorie alcoholic beverages (new trendy one every 10 years)
78. Watered down coffee in massive amounts
79. Ice cubes (more than half the glass of course)
80. Meatloaf
81. Meatballs the size of your fist and massive portion sizes in general
82. Jerky
83. Alligators (tastes like chicken!)
84. Mac and cheese
85. “Cookie parties” around Christmas time
86. Pumpkin everything
87. Jelly beans
88. “Fun-size” candy
89. Peanut butter everything
90. Mint and white chocolate
91. Oreos
92. Rice krispy treats
93. A million choices of sugary cereal
94. Marshmallows
95. Cotton candy
96. Kombucha
97. Cold brew
98. Whipped cream on everything
99. Craft beers and the massive brewery culture
100. Cheap boxed wine
101. Marketing autumn/fall
102. Cider mills
103. Hay mazes
104. Apple picking
105. Caramel apples
106. DONUTS and donut holes
107. Also, calling it fall, not autumn
108. Trick-or-treating

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