I found this nice little story about us crazy Americans.
As the night went on, I found out that she really wanted to be a teacher, but the Government wouldn’t let her because “a cripple cannot take proper care of children.” I was outraged, and spent much of the next two nights encouraging her to fight back and not accept their stupid rules.
At one point, she told me, “You Americans are always like this. You never give up and you think you can have anything you want, just because you want it.” She said this with wonder in her voice, as if she was discovering that all she’d heard about us crazy Americans was true.
I guess that’s not a bad reputation to have but like most reputations it’s only partly justified. A lot of Americans do give up rather easily. The fighters are the ones who get all the attention. They’re successful because they do keep trying. I think most of us have some of that “never give up” spirit – we want to never give up – but we give up anyway after what is actually just a token effort. And that’s probably not entirely a bad thing for the country as a whole. Imagine what it would be like if every single person in America really tried to get what they want the most and literally never gave up. But enough people are like that to give us that reputation. We even believe it ourselves.
I don’t think I really know how to fight for what I want. The second someone shows signs of being annoyed with my persistence I retreat and quietly fume about never getting what I want. I get extremely angry but I don’t let it show because I’ve been conditioned from early childhood to “be nice.” And honestly, there are times when I wish I wasn’t quite so nice.
UPDATE: Actually, that’s not really true. Being nice is a good thing. It’s just that nobody ever gives you extra credit for being nice.