Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond
Send your nonfictional open letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Open Letter to America from a Dissatisfied Immigrant.
BY Maria Melnik
When you’re born in a Siberian town that is said to be built on the bones of Gulag prisoners it’s fair to assume you have nowhere to move but up. Well, America, I’m not impressed. After ten years you have obliterated my roots and built up expectations that are completely inappropriate for an immigrant. You have sucked me dry of gratitude unless fueled by tryptophan. You have made me think that life isn’t worth living unless I have every new model of the iPhone within 24 hours, and you’ve made me believe it’s appropriate to compare the line outside the Apple store to the breadline in Stalinist Russia. You’ve made me take well-stocked grocery stores, where only the deli items are under protective glass, for granted and then somersaulted that comfort by convincing me I need quarterly juice cleanses if I want a fighting chance at staying “centered.”
One of my fondest childhood memories is getting a slinky as a birthday gift, America—a slinky! Now look at me! My disillusionment with the mundane day-to-day is only slightly alleviated by the “Stars Are Just Like Us” vignettes. This is a monster you fucking created, Dr. Amercanstein!
Furthermore, America, they’ve oversold you. When I was walking four miles to elementary school in a blizzard, nothing but my eyes exposed to the elements to guide my weary way, dreaming of fun in the sun with Mickey, they didn’t tell me that Disneyland is actually in Anaheim and that Anaheim exists for the sole purpose of housing convention centers for low-ranking Midwestern executives so that their wives can impress their friends at the PTA meeting by saying their husbands are on a business trip to California. Let’s be honest, America, if they told me that I would be disenchanted on a weekly basis upon seeing how short leading men are in real life while shopping at Whole Foods, would I have packed up my chilled-to-the-bone ass and rowed across the Bering Strait? Unlikely! Do you think they warned me that getting post-graduate education would lead to countless hours on YouTube watching FAIL videos to make myself feel better about my employment? Now there’s an opiate of the masses if I’ve ever seen one!
America, why do you mock my nostalgia re: simpler days when I was wailing “My Heart Will Go On” into a hairbrush with an undecipherable Russian accent and spending every last ruble of my allowance to see Titanic in our one, one-screen movie theater by releasing it in 3D? Why do you spit on everything my parents sacrificed by making me jealous of Snooki every time a get an insufficient funds notification?
America, you’ve been making every day a dream inside of another un-fucking-attainable dream like a set of Russian dolls before Chris Nolan ever held a pen. We get it, America, the joke’s on us. You’ll be sucking on our dissatisfaction like those generically attractive actors on The Vampire Diaries until the second coming. You may have won this round, America, but don’t you for a moment think I don’t have options. I’m sorry, have you heard of the Moon? Oh yeah, you may have made it there first but I’d venture to say that crater-filled purlieu is a prime opportunity to give redistribution of wealth another chance. Sorry, student loans, I’ve spent all my savings on a Virgin Galactic ticket. See you never, America.
by Randy Cohen (2/2/1999)
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