Americans are a peculiar people. They work like mad, then give away much of what they earn. They play until they are exhausted, and call this a vacation. They live to think of themselves as tough-minded business men, yet they are push-overs for any hard luck story. They have the biggest of nearly everything including government, motor cars and debts, yet they are afraid of bigness.
They are always trying to chip away at big government, big business, big unions, big influence. They like to think of themselves as little people, average men, and they would like to cut everything down to their own size. Yet they boast of their tall buildings, high mountains, long rivers, big state, the best country, the best world, the best heaven. They also have the most traffic deaths, the most waste, the most racketeering.When they meet, they are always telling each other, "Take it easy," then they rush off like crazy in opposite directions.
They play games as if they were fighting a war, and fight wars as if playing a game. They marry more, go broke more often, and make more money than any other people. They love children, animals, gadgets, mother, work, excitement, noise, nature, television shows, comedy, installment buying, fast motion, spectator sports, the underdog, the flag, Christmas, jazz, shapely women and muscular men, classical recordings, crowds, comics, cigarettes, warm houses in winter and cool ones in summer, thick beefsteaks, coffee, ice cream, informal dress, plenty of running water, do-it-yourself, and a working week trimmed to forty hours or less.
They crowd their highways with cars while complaining about the traffic, flock to movies and television while griping about the quality and the commercials, go to church but don't care much for sermons, and drink too much in the hope of relaxing － only to find themselves stimulated to even bigger dreams.There is of course, no typical American.
But if you added them all together and then divided by 226 000 000 they would look something like what this chapter has tried to portray.excerpt:from Why We Behave Like AmericansBy Bradford Smith