Paris Portingale

America: Oh, How I Want to Be Inside Thee

Australian Paris Portingale wants to live in America. He relates the rejections trying to gain entry, and his desire to be sheriff.


I like America, I like it a lot. I don’t live in America, I wish I did. I applied to live in America once. I suppose I should have written off, but I turned up in person at your Embassy. In hindsight, that was a mistake. I see now that some cards are better held close to the chest.

I tried writing off after that. I sent my details and a photo of my dog. I guess they must have had my name on a list or something because that didn’t work out, so I sent off again with a different name and a different dog. I stopped there because the reply contained threats.

I don’t hold it against America though, I can see their point.

But even with that, I still love America. Sometimes I drive down to the coast and look out over the water and imagine I can see it. It looks like a kind of Disneyland, way off in the distance there, it’s very nice. I know I could always save time and pop a couple of reds and see America lying on my couch, but I enjoy the drive and you can still do the reds anyway. We have 40 kilometers an hour speed zones [25 miles per hour] around our schools here and if there are kids in the street I like to wind down the window and shout out, “I can still kill you doing 40, you little bastards.”

Mainly, you can’t speed and you can’t drive drunk here in Australia, which I think is pretty much universal the world over. Interestingly though, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this written down on any of the official road rules, you can’t drive with your eyes closed, like if you want to find out how far you can get. You get arrested. Remember that if you ever come over.

One of the things I like about America is you had a Wild West. We never had one of those. We had a west of course, but it wasn’t all that particularly wild. And we didn’t have Indians. Maybe if we’d had Indians to shoot at it might have been a bit wilder, I don’t know. We had natives. They were like, “So, are you guys just here for the weekend, or what’s the story?” and you can’t really shoot people like that.

We never had cowboys either. I don’t know why. I mean, we had cows. And the thing I like about your cowboys is they always had a couple of guns strapped on. Six shooters. Everyone had six shooters strapped to their legs. I think that’s kind of romantic if you want to know the truth.

And I like the way the West was lawless. We had laws from day one, it was very limiting. Of course, laws eventually came to the Wild West. It’s not good for population growth if everyone can go around shooting anyone you want. Also, nothing ever gets done. Your workaround, which incidentally I think is a piece of genius, was to have a sheriff. We just had the police, but you had “The Sheriff.”

Sheriffs had a couple of guns and a couple of rifles as well. The rifles were mainly used for smashing the windows of the jailhouse when there was a shootout. They didn’t care, they just smashed the windows out, SMASH, with the rifle butt, because they were sheriffs. Here, we didn’t do that, we took a more measured approach and opened the windows. We didn’t have your zing and crazy, devil-may-care attitude. Glass was hard to get, I suppose, but that didn’t seem to matter in the West. That’s what I like about it.

“Here they come, Sheriff, better open the windows.”

“No, I’m just going to smash the glass out.”

Whenever I talk to people about America, I always get a positive reaction when I get to the glass thing. People get excited. I can’t see it working here though.

“Here comes the postman. Better smash out the windows.”

Wife, “Give me the rifle, Jeff. And the other one.”

If I ever get to live in America, I think I’d like to be a sheriff. I’m going to put that on my application.


Paris Portingale

Paris Portingale is a writer and dog owner. While having a somewhat indifferent attitude towards abstemious self-restraint, he does follow the safe guidelines of four standard drinks a day, although his standards are a great deal higher than most, certainly the medical profession’s. Paris is visited often in the night by God, and the meetings are anything but pleasant.

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