The world is a funny place.
Take Mr. Bean for example. I sat watching Youtube clips of Mr. Bean all day today before work. While most Americans 'get' and understand the humor of Mr. Bean, we as a closed minded nation are incapable at times at understanding other UK humor. We understand Mr. Bean because his comedy is purely physical. He is the Three Stooges rolled into one man. He's brilliant, he's funny, and the whole world loves Mr. Bean.
What about "Are You Being Served," an English comedy that was on the BBC channel here in the states when I was a kid? Few people I've ever talked to even know what it was. "The Vicar of Dibley" was another of my favourites, and again, Americans have never heard of it.
My own nation blew me away when I returned from Scotland. I was defending the wonderful people of the proud nation steeped in history and progress against young adults that had spent more than 2 years in college already.
"What did they wear?"
"What do they look like?"
"What do they do for fun?"
"Do they wear kilts all the time? That's so cool."
I couldn't believe the reactions I got when answering these same questions with the honest answers. Well educated American youths were amazed that the people of Scotland wore wind breakers and blue jeans like us. They were disappointed when they found out people didn't wear kilts every single day, and actually looked very much like the majority of Americans, since that's where the majority of our ancestors are from. What do they do for fun? Again, I was met with shock and awe when these college students found out that the people of Scotland watched TV, read books, played video games, went out with friends and flirted with the opposite sex like any American would. We're all human.
Why are American's so closed minded? Does this nation really believe that the sun rises and sets on our heads? Do Americans really believe that we're so much more advanced than other cultures that there's no possible way they've evolved to having cell phones, microwaves and digital cameras?
The Scottish are not only a proud nation of brilliant minds, wonderful hearts and kind spirits, but they're steeped in a history of invention and success! Had it not been for the people of Scotland, the world itself would be seen through entirely different eyes.
Let me explain.
The raincoat, patented by chemist Charles Macintosh from Glasgow, Scotland. Well, it's no mystery as to WHY a Scotsman invented the raincoat.... It rains quite often in Glasgow.
The street surface you drive on every day, discovered by John Macadam of Ayr, Scotland.
The tires on your car were invented by John Boyd Dunlop of Dreghorn, Scotland.
The steam engine, invented by James Watt of Greenock, Scotland.
The coffee thermos, invented by Dewar, a Scotsman from Kincardine-on-Forth.
The Post Office adhesive stamp, invented by James Chalmers of Dundee, Scotland.
Even the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh, Scotland. I am entirely ashamed to ask how many of you did NOT know this fact. I'm equally ashamed to admit that I myself didn't know that until it was pointed out to me.
The bicycle, invented by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, blacksmith of Dumfries, Scotland.
The TELEVISION, an invention of John Logie Baird of Helensburgh, Scotland.
The United States NAVY, founded by John Paul Jones of Kirkbean, Scotland.
The first man mentioned in the Bible is a Scot, King James VI, who authorized its translation.
Even when it comes to disease and the medical profession, the Scots are leaps and bounds ahead of their time. Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming of Darvel, Scotland. The anaesthetic was discovered by Sir James Young Simpson of Bathgate, Scotland.
We seem to think that the English are a civilized people and mystery surrounds those of Scotland, but get this: the Bank of England was founded by William Paterson of Dumfries, Scotland.
So why would Americans be so dumbfounded to find that the Scots are NOT daily kilt-wearing, heavy drinking, screaming, wild heathens? They are not straight out of a horror movie like Deliverance. They don't sit on their porches and pick banjos. They wear Abercrombie and Fitch shirts, they drive nice cars with wooden panel dashes like the Jaguar, they love comfortable jeans, have some of the nicest Universities in Europe, and work regular jobs, just like us. They worry about their children, kids rebel against their parents, and life in Scotland is not that different than life here in the States.
I always though that Americans were such open minded people. That is, until I returned from my vacation abroad. We, as Americans, are some of the most closed minded, opinionated and ignorant people in the world when it comes to other nations.
It's time to broaden our horizons. Take a look around you. There's more to life and the world than your own back yard.
The world is a funny place. Go enjoy the humor.