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Accept or Adapt; The Fizzy Water Argument


I hate fizzy water. You know, the kind with bubbles in it? Here’s an odd fact that you might not know. Germans love fizzy water. In fact, if you order a glass of water at a bar or restaurant in Germany, they will automatically give you fizzy water, unless you order ‘no gas.’

Yeah, I know it’s weird, but it’s true.

When I was in Berlin during the 1999 Love Parade, I woke up one morning with a massive hangover and a serious case of dry mouth. I went to a café nearby and ordered a huge bottle of water. Then, I took an equally huge gulp…

And promptly vomited fizzy water all over the floor.

I, of course, realized my mistake. In Germany, it’s part of the culture that fizzy water is their default water. I apologized to the waitress, paid for the fizzy water and ordered a bottle of flat. She was actually very nice about the whole thing.

I didn’t berate the waitress for not understanding that because I’m an American, she should have known I didn’t mean fizzy water. I didn’t demand that the café comp me the bottle of fizzy water and claim it was their fault I threw up. I didn’t do either of those things because the incident was MY fault.

It wasn’t the waitress’s job to adapt her standards to my culture. It was my job to adapt myself to German culture. After all, I was a guest in their country and in their country, fizzy water is just water.

This post isn’t about my dislike of fizzy water (though I do deeply hate it). Instead, the anecdote was kind of designed as a metaphor for the cultural ‘tolerance’ that is overtaking this country right now.

Tolerance for other cultures is somehow becoming intolerance of our own.   I see news story after news story about people being told to remove American flags from their properties because others might be offended. I see people who are against kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance because they think it disrespects the culture of their birth. I’ve even met people who think that the official language of the US should be Spanish because so many Spanish immigrants have moved here.

Here’s the deal, the land doesn’t adapt to you. You adapt to the land. Americans shouldn’t have to hide our heritage because people from foreign countries don’t like it. Not to sound like a redneck buffoon, but if they hate America so much, why the fuck do they live here?

Awhile back, my mom went to WalMart. While she was there, she bought a pork roast. When she got to the register, the woman behind it told my mom that she’d have to scan and bag her own groceries because she couldn’t touch pork.

To which I say, get bent. It wasn’t my mother’s job to ensure that her grocery cart fit the dietary restrictions of a minimum wage cashier’s religion. It was the damn cashier’s job to pick a job that didn’t contradict her religious beliefs.

The second your religious beliefs impinge on my freedom, you are in exact contradiction to one of the founding principles of this country. Your personal Jesus does not trump my freedom and if I feel like hanging bacon Christmas lights (patent pending) this year, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I don’t give a fuck what your wacky god things.

Oh, and by the way? Yes, I think your god is wacky. As long as I’m not committing a crime, I am in no way required to respect your religion. Deal with it. I think being Muslim is weird. What are you going to do? Spank me or take away my birthday? (Just so you know, I’m kind of into spankings and I haven’t celebrated a birthday since I was 29.)

Oh, right, you can actually do NEITHER of those things… because it is my right as an American to express my opinion…using the English language.

Accept that fact that Americans aren’t a multilingual people. We speak English here. Yes, I am aware the rest of the world thinks we’re idiots for only speaking one language, but that’s the way it is. If you want to come as a guest, feel free to speak your own language. But if you want to live here, learn to speak English.

It’s called adapting to your surroundings. Try it; it will make life a shitload easier.

Our founding fathers fought for this country. They fought for freedom of religion and free speech. They fought for the right to speak English without having to spell color with a ‘U’ or call an apartment a flat.  Respect the damn culture or get the hell out.

Look, foreigners who come here expecting America to change just for you… it’s incredibly awesome that you’ve got the whole American arrogance and sense of entitlement down. But all the entitlement in the world isn’t going to make this country change. That’s another part of being an American you might dislike. You have freedom of speech, but there is a very strong likelihood that no one gives a fuck what you have to say.

America is a lot like that bottle of fizzy water I got on that hungover Sunday morning. It might not be exactly what you were expecting. Hell, it might even make you throw up. But you can’t change the fact that it’s fizzy water. You either need to learn to like fizzy water or you pay for your water and walk away before the waitress notices you just puked on the floor.



6 thoughts on “Accept or Adapt; The Fizzy Water Argument

  1. I appreciate the usage of the the phrase “adapt”. Knowing that when you move or visit another place you must and should adapt to your surroundings is a valuable life lessons because it is those who adapt that survive. Interestingly enough, though, when the country was first settled we didn’t do a lot of adapting then either–it was mostly changing to fit our own needs and forcing those around us to change then too so in a way–it is the American way. Not that I agree with it it, but it is one of the great ironies of our nation.

  2. Several years ago I visited a Latino bar in Dallas with a friend over July 4 weekend. I wore my American flag vest. My friend told me I shouldn’t wear it to that bar; if anything, I should wear a Mexican flag vest. I told him I didn’t have a Mexican flag vest and didn’t give a shit if my American flag vest pissed off anybody. No one said anything to me anyway.

  3. Lmfao i love it u hit the nail on the head sick of ppl bending over backwards to accommodate ppl that cant stand us!!! Its 2014 if u dont want to be offended go live under a rock or do us all a favor and dont leave your house!!!

  4. Similar thing happened to me in a German airport or ferry or some other travelling station. Fun fact: even if you leave the lid off the container for the next few hours, it stays fizzy. It is the demon water. Just throw it away.

    And as a British immigrant to the USA, I am always seeking to adapt rather than change the culture, though ‘culture’ might be too strong a word for a place without spotted dick in a can or powdered custard. Either way, great article.

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