Yeah so I bumped into My Nationality the other day...

My nationality: Hey! Hello! Oh my God! It's me! Remember me!?

Me: Oh no thank you, I'm not buying any carpets, I'm just...

My nationality: What? No no no, it's me, don't you recognize me? Hello?!

Me: I’m sorry, do I actually know you? 

My nationality: Come on, you don't remember me? Look closer!

Me: Guy Fieri?

My nationality: No silly, it's Your Nationality!

Me: Ooooh, right. Okay. Hi.

My nationality: YEAH! Come here give me a hug, come on, no no, don't be shy. There, was that so hard?

Me: Wow, how much cologne do you have on?

My nationality: Half a bottle every morning. Image is everything in my line of work.

Me: Okay well I really have to...

My nationality: It’s been such a long time! So so so good to see you! How have you been?

Me: Fine, fine. Pretty good. You know, can’t complain.

My nationality: Me too! I am SUPER! Seriously, couldn’t be better! Just tearing it up, you know?

Me: Oh cool, that’s great. Listen, I don’t mean to be rude but I really have to get a...

My nationality: Coffee!? You wanna get a coffee?! I’d love to, we have soooo much catching up to do!

Me: Um, no, I have to get a cab to…

My nationality: WAITER! TWO CAPPUCCINOS! You like cappuccinos, right? Lots of sugar?

Me: I just like black coffee, look I really have to…

My nationality: Here’s your cappuccino! So tell me, man, how come we haven’t seen each other for so long, I feel like it’s been years!

Me: Yeah, I don’t know, I guess I’ve been busy you know…

My nationality: Busy!? Too busy for me? Come on, bro. I’m your NATIONALITY! I should be the most important thing in your life! In fact I would say I AM the most important thing in your life!

Me: Really? Well…

My nationality: Uh, DUH! What’s more important!? Your whole identity and being should be indexed to me! Am I wrong?

Me: Well, no offense, but that's a little presumptuous of you, don't you think?

My nationality: Name one thing that's more important than me?

Me: To be honest, in order of importance I would place you in about, I don’t know… 687th spot? And that’s just off the top of my head.

My nationality: HAHAHA!!! You still have that sense of humor!

Me: No seriously. 687. If not lower.

My nationality: STOP ALREADY! HAHAHA!!! I have tears in my eyes. Seriously, what could possibly be more important than me? I can’t think of a single thing... oh wait, except God and religion, obviously. But they're my best friends anyway.

Me: I can think of 686 things that are more important than you, dude. my wife and kid, toothpaste, my bicycle, every single book I own, our dining room table, pizza, underwear, tennis, my favorite t-shirt…

My nationality: STOP IT! HAHAHAHAHA! Too funny!

Me: Rubber bands, sex, my phone, Google, fruit, almonds, Wikipedia, Lego…

My nationality: Okay seriously, stop now, you had me at toothpaste…

Me: eggs, my chin-up bar, basketball, football, swimming, skiing, my favorite hoodie, paper, pencils…

My nationality: I’m going to cut you off there Mr. Funny Bones! You are still the card! As we both know, of course, I am in fact AMAZING! Come on! Look at me! The glory, the conquests, the great achievements spanning centuries, the great heroes you are so proud to associate with, the military victories, sporting accomplishments, delicious dishes that I‘ve invented. I’ve done it all! I’m perfect! So why haven’t you stayed in touch, hm? I just don’t get it!

Me: Okay, let's not exaggerate. You're a nice guy, okay, let's just leave it at that. You're fine.

My nationality: Fine? Just fine? I have a steam bath named after me. I invented a syrupy pastry dessert. I've got like a million trophies in weightlifting. I have lots and lots of guns. I am PERFECT!

Me: Look, see, you’re doing it again. This is why we don't see more of each other. You’re delusional. You skew everything so it all looks great, you invent truths and propagate half-truths to suit whatever image you want to convey, you leave out all the unsavory things that reflect very poorly on you and pretend they never happened, and you’re constantly harping on about how great you are to everybody. You look like you’ve lost all touch with reality. You live in your own little fantasy bubble and see the world through completely distorted lenses. Listen, don’t take this the wrong way, but… look, it’s not that I’m embarrassed when I’m around you… it’s just that…

My nationality: Oh my God! You’re embarrassed to be around me!?

Me: No no no, I said it’s NOT that I am embarrassed to be around you…

My nationality: It’s the same thing! That’s just a polite way of saying you ARE embarrassed to be around me.

Me: Okay, look, I’ll be honest. And please don’t take this the wrong way. Think of it as constructive criticism… it’s just that you’re, well… obnoxious.

My nationality: OBNOXIOUS! How am I supposed to not take that the wrong way?!

Me: Look, hear me out… you’re obnoxious, you’re loud, you’re conceited, and you’re… man, how do I say this? You’re kind of…

My nationality: Yes?

Me: I don’t want to offend you…

My nationality: I think we’re past that. Just tell me straight up.

Me: Okay, well, here goes: You’re kind of a... psychopath.

My nationality: Whoa. Whoa whoa whoa. Did I hear that right? What did you just call me? Can you repeat that please?


My nationality: Wow. Please enlighten me. How am I a psychopath?

Me: You are completely self-involved, you have no empathy for other nationalities, you’re constantly building yourself up with a bunch of false facts while putting everyone else down, and you do only what gives you pleasure and what is in your interests, regardless of the consequences for others, to the point where you can even justify hurting others for your own pleasure and gain. That’s why you are a psychopath. I’m sorry, I didn’t want to say it like this, I was happy to be cordial and polite with you hoping we could just say hi and be on our way, but there, I said it.

My nationality: No. No. You don’t really believe that. Nope, I don’t accept it. Who’s making you say this?

Me: See you’re doing it again. Nobody is making me say this, I am saying it.

My nationality: Are other nationalities putting you to this? Which ones? How did they brainwash you? Why have you become their servant and pawn?

Me: What? Nobody is making me say it. I’M saying it. Me. My brain, my opinions, ME. I think that you are a psychopath. And so are all the others, by the way. Although some are more psychopathic than others. Take my Icelandic friend's nationality, for example. He's cool, chill, down to earth, not the most interesting nationality, but he's just himself, you know. He's cool to hang out with. He's not all loud and pushy and abrasive and arrogant and in everyone's face all the time. He's just a nice guy, you know what I mean?

My nationality: No, I don’t know what you mean. And I don't believe a word you're saying. That nationality you described is a pussy, they're all pussies. I, on the other hand, am SUPERIOR. I am pure as the driven snow. I am only success, victory, grandeur, and righteousness. That’s it. And I don’t care what anybody says.

Me: There you go, spoken like a true psychopath.

My nationality: I am the greatest. The best. Number one. Numero Uno. To be with me, as you are, should be a great honor and privilege. And yet…

Me: Look, no offense, but come on… you have murdered, pillaged, raped, slaughtered, massacred, stolen, lied, manipulated, tortured, and bribed your way to get to where you are today. You know it, I know it, we all know it. In fact, they all have, all of the nationalities, not just you, although some have more than others. A lot more. So don’t take it personally. You are ALL assholes, it's just some of you are a little more assholey than the rest. Or a lot more assholey.

My nationality: I don’t know where this is coming from. Who’s putting these ideas into your head?

Me: NOBODY! These are MY ideas! I have the capacity to think for myself! That’s another huge psychopathic assholey trait of yours, you think anyone who thinks anything different than you has been brainwashed by someone else. I haven’t!

My nationality: Okay, I will grant you that all the other nations are assholes, but let’s just agree that I am completely innocent, okay.

Me: Oh my God, it’s like talking to a doorknob.

My nationality: Any bad thing attributed to me is the result of propaganda on the part of other jealous nationalities because they can’t take how amazingly awesomely magnificent I am.

Me: Can you hear yourself now? I’ve literally never heard a bigger douche bag than you ever talk more douche baggier than that, ever.

My nationality: And they can’t take how handsome and strong I am.

Me: You can’t even hear me can you?

My nationality: And how sexy I am.

Me: Hello?

My nationality: And how just and moral I am.

Me: Earth calling my nationality, do you copy?

My nationality: And how everyone is envious of me.

Me: If I walked away now you wouldn’t even notice, would you?

My nationality: And how big my hands are. Big, strong, masculine hands.

Me: You. Are. Deranged.

My nationality: And how God is on MY side, and only on MY side.

Me: Wow. This is now just creepy.

My nationality: And everything bad that happens is their fault because they are all plotting and scheming to tear me and everyone with me down.


My nationality: So anyway, I’m so glad we had this little powwow and we smoothed things out. You are a hard man to convince, but I’m glad you finally see things my way.

Me: You didn’t hear a single thing I said, did you?

My nationality: We should get together some time! I mean, come on, you and I are best buddies! We are flesh and blood you and me!

Me: Not really. The fact that you’re in my life at all is just an accident of birth, to be honest. The fact that I have to associate with you at all is kind of really only a bureaucratic matter for me. You are basically just a means to a passport so I can get the fuck away from you.

My nationality: Exactly, destiny! It was meant to be!

Me: That’s the opposite of what I just said, but whatever, I’ve given up believing that you can hear anything you don’t want to hear, so, sure, destiny it is.

My nationality: I knew you’d come around!

Me: I am NOT high-fiving you.

My nationality: Don’t leave me hanging bra!

Me: Please put your hand down.

My nationality: Still waiting! Come on!

Me: For fuck’s sake, okay okay, there… now just stop.

My nationality: YEAH! THAT’S THE SPIRIT! I KNEW YOU’D COME AROUND! It was close there for a while… I mean, we wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to you, would we?

Me: Wait a minute. Are you threatening me now?

My nationality: Let’s just say that the state apparatus that was built around me won’t have to perform the unpleasant task of exerting any coercive maneuvers to ensure that it can continue to count on your loyalty without having to seek recourse to any… how do I put this… any “unsavory procedures” that may be necessitated… for purely persuasional purposes, you understand… if you get my drift. It is all of course for your own good, and the good of your friends, family, and loved ones.

Me: Oh, yes… sure, sure. Okay. Yes, I totally understand.

My nationality: So we're cool now?

Me: Yes, we're cool.

My nationality: GREAT! We really have to see each other more now that we’ve bumped into each other again. Why don’t you give me your number and I’ll call you right now to make sure you didn’t accidentally give me the wrong number by mistake what with all the excitement of having seen me again and all.

Me: Uh, yeah, sure…

My nationality: Are you trembling? Is something making you feel a little nervous?

Me: No, no, of course not.

My nationality: Oh hey look, isn’t that Your Religion over there!? What a coincidence! Hey, wait, why are you running away!? Okay, bye! I’ll call you later tonight, maybe we can get a bite? DON’T WORRY, I’LL FIND YOU!

My proposed post-referendum victory speech for the winner

So there it is. I win. And I don’t just mean “I win again”. I mean, I win, period. If you’re with me, you win too. If you’re not, you lose. You lose big time. You’re just fucked basically, let’s put it that way. And now that I win, that means no more beating about the bush, no more toning down or hiding my true intentions or any of that nonsense anymore. There is no need for it now, because I have just become absolutely unaccountable. Therefore, here goes. This is it guys, here it is, I’m just going to tell you once and for all what’s what from now on: I am the King. There, I said it. Is there anything unclear about this? Does anybody have a problem with this? Good. Let me state clearly and openly for the record, now that there is no law or institution that I have to answer to or give account to or that has any power over me whatsoever: I do not like republics. I do not like democracy. I do not like secularism. I do not like pluralism. I do not like constitutions. I do not like any national or religious identity outside of mine. I do not believe anybody has any rights outside of what I grant them. I do not like to hear or read any criticism of what I do or any counterarguments to anything I say. Did everybody hear that? Do you want me to repeat it? Can I make it any clearer? Are all these cameras and microphones on? Is everyone recording? Read my lips: I. AM. THE. KING. And you know what else? I don’t just want to be the King of this country. I want to be King of everything. Everything. The Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus, yes North Africa, yes even the rest of Africa, and yes, fuck it, even Central Asia and Southeast Asia and North Asia and South Asia and West Asia, all the fucking Asias. Yes yes yes yes yes. ALL OF IT. Okay? If you want a secular republic with democratic institutions and a pluralist political system with constitutionally enshrined checks and balances safeguarded by an independent judiciary that guarantees the rule of law for any and all citizens, TOUGH SHIT. You know what you can have instead? ME. That’s what. Let me make this crystal fucking clear: YOU CAN HAVE ME AND ONLY ME. I am EVERYTHING now. I am the LAW, I am the CONSTITUTION, I am the STATE, I am the SOLE REIGNING SUPREME MEGA ENORMOUS SULTANIC MONARCHICAL MEGALOMANIACAL SOVEREIGN OF EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING. Okay? Fuck it, I might even call myself that, because I can. What has two thumbs and will be your leader forever? This guy. Oh noooo, does the EU not like it? Well they can suck my fat one. Oh noooo, the USA says hey you can’t WELL I DID. Oh nooo the UN says I’M SORRY, I CAN’T HEAR YOU CAN YOU SPEAK UP UN? NOPE STILL CAN’T HEAR YOU SORRY YOUR VOICE IS VERY WEAK. Oh nooo our media says OH HEY LOOK AT THAT THEY CAN’T SAY ANYTHING ANYMORE BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL IN JAIL FOR BEING TERRORISTS. Oh nooo our opposition parties say HAHAHA OPPOSITION? I JUST BOUGHT ONE OF THEM, LOOK, HE’S IN MY POCKET RIGHT NOW, SAY HI DEVLET! The other party is all in jail for being TERRORISTS and the last remaining one has become so marginalized they’ve basically become margarine. Bad joke? I don’t care, you have to laugh at it now, because I say so. That’s how powerful I am. So it’s time to suck it up everyone. This is it. Your future is finished. Your dreams of living in a tolerant, civilized, democratic, progressive country have been flushed right down the poop shoot. Seriously, forget it. I cannot stress this enough. You are now staring down the barrel of a full on RUTHLESS TOTALI-FUCKING-TARIAN THUGOCRATIC POLICE STATE THAT WILL NOT HESITATE TO CRUSH YOU AND ANY HOPES AND DREAMS YOU HAVE FOR A LIVABLE CIVILIZED FUTURE FOR YOU OR FOR YOUR CHILDREN OR FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS TO COME. If you can’t accept that, then seriously go kill yourselves. Seriously. I can’t even believe you people bothered to run a “NO” campaign in the referendum. What did you think was going to happen? First of all, you think a NO result would’ve even come out of those booths? I control those booths. I control the whole process. We’re under EMERGENCY FUCKING RULE you dipshits. And let’s just assume as a hypothetical brain exercise that there was any chance of a NO result. You think I was just going to sit back, raise my hands, accept defeat, and say “WELL THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN, I GUESS I SHOULD JUST RESPECT THEIR DECISION”??!!! Uh, hello? Do you not know me by now? Has your head been buried in sand for the past 15 years? Why would you even waste your time? Guess what I did, I built a 1000-room palace (<-not a="" about="" actual="" alcohol="" all="" also="" am.="" an="" anarchy="" and="" anything="" apparatus="" appear="" applied="" are="" army.="" as="" at="" away="" banished="" banned="" bars="" batshit="" be="" because="" become="" being="" blown="" br="" bread="" brutal="" buckle="" bureaucratic="" but="" by="" camps.="" camps="" can="" child="" coal="" complete="" compulsory="" concentration="" constitution="" continue="" corrupt="" country="" cowed="" created="" daily="" delusional="" deteriorating="" dissuaded="" do="" down="" education="" empire="" everyone="" everything="" existence="" fearful="" feeble="" female="" first="" flappety="" flippety="" floop="" focus="" for="" free="" from="" full="" fully="" functionally="" going="" gone="" good="" heard="" hell="" highly="" hope.="" how="" i.="" i="" in="" increasingly="" indoctrination="" instruct="" into="" is="" it.="" it="" just="" king="" know="" leader.="" led="" let="" like="" little="" lording="" m="" machinery="" male="" managed="" many="" mass="" may="" mayhem="" me="" men="" mice.="" militaristic="" mine.="" minors="" moral="" more="" morning="" move="" my="" nay-sayers="" new="" newly="" news="" nightclubs="" no="" nothing="" now.="" now="" of="" off="" oh="" okay="" old="" on.="" on="" one="" order="" ordered="" our="" over="" own="" personal="" pissy="" places="" plunging="" police="" polygamy="" poof.="" poorly="" presto="" proclaimed="" public="" ramshackle="" re="" rearing="" reinstated="" reiterate:="" religious="" repression="" rest="" ride.="" right:="" right="" rituals.="" rounded="" rule="" ruled="" s="" sacks="" said="" savior="" says="" schools="" scurry="" seat="" segregation="" shipped="" shortly.="" sight="" silenced="" so="" sole="" speak="" state-backed="" state="" stop="" subjects="" supreme="" system="" terrorists="" that="" the="" them="" then="" there="" they="" thing="" think="" this="" those="" thousand="" throughout="" thrown="" to="" tobacco="" too="" typo="" up="" us="" vote="" wait="" want.="" we="" wed="" went="" what="" where="" who="" why="" will="" win.="" women="" worship="" yeah="" yes="" you="" your="">


Hi Ricky, it’s me, the girl who was Living La Vida Loca!

I was recently waiting in line to buy some bananas and a box of pasta at the local Safeway when Living La Vida Loca came on in one of those surreal supermarket moments where you're doing the most mundane thing imaginable surrounded by a bunch of strangers and you all suddenly find yourselves having to listen to an entire song about crazy kinky Latino sexiness. Desperately staring ahead and avoiding eye contact doesn't seem to work as well as we'd like to think. Acknowledging the song and dancing is also out of the question. You just have to stand there and pretend you're not panicking that the next song will be Don't Stop Believing as you peruse the headlines of the National Enquirer and wonder whether to throw in an additional packet of Reese's Pieces into your shopping bag of sadness. I think they must play that kind of music on purpose so they can laugh and mock us while they watch on their closed circuit cameras. There was another time like that when I was picking dishwasher detergent and Highway To The Danger Zone came on. That shit doesn't happen by accident. Anyway, as I stood there shuffling uncomfortably and trying not to think of how everything in my life had culminated in that moment when the full realization of the meaninglessness of my existence was pressed up to my face by a cheesy pop song, I wondered what the girl from Living La Vida Loca is doing now and what would happen if she wrote a letter to Ricky Martin 20 years on. Why would I bother? Because I am unemployed and I have a lot of time on my hands, okay?

Hola Ricky!

It’s me, the girl who was “Living La Vida Loca”! Loved that song, by the way. Really. God, those were crazy times! Really really crazy. How are you? I know it’s been almost 20 years, but I just thought I’d say hi and let you know how I’m doing since undergoing treatment for what it turns out was my severe mental illness. I’m sure that explains a lot. So I just wanted to let you know that I’m finally dealing with these issues, and this letter is an important part of the healing process that I’ve embarked upon with the help of a dedicated team of psychiatrists and mental health professionals. It’s also an attempt at an apology and closure on my part, so thank you for letting me reach out to you after everything that I put you through. We could really just go through the song you wrote about me line by line and deal with the issues in that order, since it was such a detailed and accurate description of both me and our time together—which I completely understand you had a need to come to terms with, so I don’t blame you at all for depicting me or our relationship the way you did.

First of all, my addictive personality and attention deficit disorders are finally under control. I’m still into superstition, although not so much black cats (you should know that Gargamel passed away eight years ago, and I’m still devastated by it, even though I know you weren’t too fond of him). You’ll be relieved to know I’m no longer into voodoo dolls. I know those dolls all over my house freaked you right the fuck out, especially the ones smeared in that devil red lipstick I used to wear. You’ll be happy to know they are all gone, every single one of them replaced by just normal dolls. I’m also no longer into new sensation as much as I used to be. I can appreciate the things that are already in my life without needing something new and exciting all the time to hide how unhappy I was or to fill the gaping hole of depression that once festered inside of me. I have also learnt to deal with my manic depressive behavior, using various antidepressants along with diverse stress-reduction techniques, and I never go anywhere without a stress ball in both hands at all times. I should also mention that I don’t need constant kicks in the candlelight (sorry about the dripping wax burns) and I no longer have a new addiction for EVERY living day and EVERY goddamn night. Man, that was tiring even for me, so I can imagine how it was for you. I’m so sorry, chacho.

I should take this opportunity to especially apologize for making you take off all your clothes and go dancing in the rain. That was just plain idiotic, not to mention cruel. I just wasn’t thinking straight, subjecting you to my clinical insanity like that, so I’m really glad you didn’t end up ever putting that bullet to your brain when you were hospitalized with pneumonia after the arrest. I really couldn’t have lived with that kind of guilt. Once again, so so sorry.

As you’ll no doubt remember, I was just upside inside out, pushing you and pulling you around, but I’ve finally learned to control my violent urges and am taking antipsychotics which have really really helped with those kinds of violent tendencies, not to mention all the delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thoughts I’d been having, especially during one of my dancing-naked-in-the-rain breakdowns.

On a positive note, I have since ditched that “devil red” glossy lipstick for a far more subtle matte Alabama crimson. My skin, on the other hand, is still the color of mocha, albeit slightly faded considering I’ve been spending a lot of time indoors of late, mainly due to the photophobia that’s an unfortunate side effect of the diabetes medication I’m taking. As you can imagine, “Living La Vida Loca” wasn’t really conducive to a style of living that could sustain a well-balanced diet, so I’ve inevitably put on a few pounds over the years, and the antipsychotic drugs haven’t helped with the weight gain either.

And then of course there’s that time in New York City where I: Completely. Fucking. Lost. It. Where to begin? To be fair, the “funky cheap” hotel was NOT my choice. Nice euphemism, by the way. Let’s face it, it was a by-the-hour hooker hotel. But it was cold, it was late, we needed to sleep, and it was right there. We BOTH made the decision on that one. It WAS my fault, however, that I kept lighting innumerable candles and skewering voodoo dolls while dancing naked in the shower to the point where you ended up screaming “ENOUGH!” over and over again until I slipped you a sleeping pill, stole all your money, and then proceeded to order all that French champagne to the room, which was particularly pernicious because you had no way of paying for it. I can only imagine the conversation you must’ve had the next day with those huge Albanian guys at the front desk. I know it’s hard to forgive anyone for doing something like that, and I know I nearly made you go literally insane. But I just want you to know I was very very sick at the time. Once again, I’m so so so so sorry. On another positive note, you’ll be glad to know the antipsychotics I'm on seem to have also cured my kleptomania.

I could see how you would never ever want to be with a woman again after dating someone like me, but I hope you could at least find it in your heart to forgive me. Hey, you got a pretty good hit song out of it at least! So in a way, I kinda helped launch your career. That’s what my lawyer boyfriend whom I met at AA says anyway. Maybe once all this madness is past us we can drop by for a coffee and have a laugh about all the crazy times we had?

Anyway Ricky, time to sign off. On a final note, I just want you to know it took all of my resourcefulness to find your mailing address and pluck up the courage to write you this letter. Mr. Martin, you are a hard man to find! I actually even drove all the way down to Miami and made it right to your front gate last week to deliver this letter in person! I know, it’s silly of me, I should’ve just rung the buzzer a few more times, but in the end I thought better of it and your security guy insisted I leave. I’m just saying this because I want you to know how much this means to me.

Love always,