America is such a land of opportunity that even our dog seems to have smelled it, and for that he didn’t even need to sniff much. Where else would he find his personal chef, not to mention two doctors waiting to clean up after him while he fusses over the perfect spot to do his business?
The open doors of this land never cease to fascinate me. In fact, thanks to the media for wanting to neutralize the abundance of bad news, every day there’s a success story or two sprinkled between headlines.
Based on ethnicity, newcomers may have different expectations, but greed has little to do with one‘s origin. We live in a virtual Disneyland with a variety of attractions designed to please all types. If one has a goal and stays focused, there’s often a payback and I mean a good payback. You work hard? There’s a pot of gold awaiting you. You don’t have a valid visa or a work permit? Even better because there’s plenty of work for you and payment comes in cash without the bother of tax deductions.
When immigrants are asked the reason for leaving their homelands, by far the most popular response seems to be “searching for freedom.” Sometimes I wonder if such respectable excuses were designed to restore some of our dignity. No matter what reason we give, deep down we know that is hardly the whole truth, because even if we came here chasing a dream, the dream isn’t necessarily as noble as “liberty”.
Folks move across the globe to achieve what may be unobtainable at home, be it a good education, a secure home, or just good old money - lots and lots of it. Surprisingly, those who have already made a fortune seem desperate for more. They often sit around waiting for their stash to miraculously multiply. Ironically, big money does just that. There’s nothing wrong with the rich getting richer as there seems to be plenty for all and I’d like to believe that the poor only get poorer because they give up.
America pleases even her less ambitious. Here, young people have a chance to actually enjoy their youth, the elderly are often well cared for, homemakers have machines that do part of their hard work, and husbands find more Sunday sports to watch than is humanly possible. But like all fairy tales, there seems to be a glitch, and if you are headed for life in a castle, you’d better be prepared for a huge price tag.
I used to think that the million questions I was asked at the border, followed by a keen body search and finger printing were the price I had to pay for my new and improved life. Then again, one can be that naïve only in youth. The border treatments are only the down-payment for what comes later and they are only triggered by our “place of birth” which is clearly marked in our American passports. It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been a citizen, how clean your record is, or in what ways you have served your community. In the end it all comes down to that dreaded “place of birth.” Just look at how an ex-senator / now-president’s birthplace is questioned. Who am I to complain?
I don’t like watching the gossipy news, but sometimes there’s no choice. It is through such reports that I see icons broken, if not mutilated. No matter whom I may idolize, there’s no question that at some point the media will trash them. Much like the afterlife punishment, I can see all successful people ending up in that unwanted H spot. I watch reporters go through celebrities’ closets, read their mail, listen to their private conversations and before I know it, people’s most private moments have become my business.
“Why don’t these reporters respect privacy?” I once dared to ask.
“Privacy?” my neighbor said. “The price of fame is lack of privacy!”
People are no longer required to perform their jobs well because now they also need to be saints. Few are famous without being dragged through the mud and indeed “The higher they go, the harder they fall.” We’ve seen the damnation of CEOs, movie stars, famous singers, senators, athletes and artists. We’ve heard the whole truth, not to mention multiple lies, to question if success is indeed worth the aftermath. In a country where tabloids never go out of business, being unknown is apparently a true blessing.
So I sit back, smile, and raise my glass. “Here’s to the significance of being nobody!”
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