It’s been the same routine for several months. Once I am fully awake, I get up, go to the mirror and check; have I, overnight, become an American? So far, I am relieved to report, the mirror’s answer has been negative. I am not an American.
Let me be quite clear, I have never been an American. I have never had the slightest desire to be an American. I do not want to live in America; I don’t feel any need to visit America. My wife is not American. I have never had an American girlfriend. I drive a Japanese car. I never visited Starbucks. (For my younger readers, this was a giant American coffee shop company that tried to sell us its poor coffee but failed miserably and closed its doors after just a couple of years). So, I repeat, I am not an American.
OK, I admit it. While most of the time I watch Sky News or France24, I have been known to glance at CNN, even Fox News, but I am always careful to wash my hands after watching reports from Atlanta or New York City; just in case American citizenship is infectious. And, of course, an American company, Amazon, is selling my books, The Len Palmer Mysteries (my thanks to all those readers who have bought them – the third in the series is almost ready).
But why, you ask, should I make such a fuss about not being an American? Some time ago, through my Israeli bank, I bought a few shares in a US company. So far this has not proved to be a good investment; they are now worth a lot less than I paid for them. But, at least, my money is helping both the company and the US economy as a whole.
I didn’t expect any thanks for this, although a quick tweet from President Trump would have been nice. Something along the lines of – Thank you, dear non-American, for your trust in our greatest country – would have been sufficient.
When I bought a few American shares, I certainly didn’t expect to get urgent calls from my bank, every six months or so, to sign a declaration stating that I am not an American. Failure to do so will result in the assumption that I have somehow become an American and full US tax will be deducted, in the unlikely event that my investment shows a profit. For all I know, as a newly assumed-to-be American, I will be liable for army service with US troops in Afghanistan!
So far, the procedure is fairly simple, just a standard form to be filled in and signed. But someone in America’s bureaucracy, the world’s greatest bureaucracy, according to President Trump, is becoming impatient that I haven’t yet become an American. I fear that the next time my bank calls me in, I will be asked – Why aren’t you an American?
I’m not sure they would like my answer.