Happy 236th birthday, America. You look good for your age — a few wrinkles, a little thinning on top, perhaps a touch of dementia, but certainly no reason to retire to the old nations home.
I appreciate that you’ve invited me to your birthday party, but I’m having trouble deciding what to give you for a gift. I know you told me just to show up, and maybe pay my taxes, but I’d like to wrap up something nice that you’d really enjoy.
Everyone and their irresponsible teenage brother is giving you fireworks, which are great, but I’d rather give you something a little different.
I know at 10 years the gift is supposed to be tin. Fifteen is crystal, 25 is silver, 50 is gold, 75 is diamond, 200 is a $2 bill, but what is 236?
Are you registered anywhere? Do you have a wish list on Amazon.com? Can you give me a subtle hint by gushing over something in the window next time we go to the mall?
I was thinking about getting you a four-team college-football playoff system, but someone already came up with that, so I’ll have to look for something else. It would be great if it could last as long as that Statue of Liberty thing.
By the way, I also promise to make sure that your North American brothers don’t forget the whole day again this year. Even if it’s just a giant bean burrito and another hockey stick, it’s still the thought that counts.
How about a nice picture frame with a collage of photos — my family at a variety of your natural landmarks (Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, Disney World, the Ben & Jerry’s Factory)?
Maybe a good book? No, not THE Good Book; I still believe in the separation of church and state. You’ve probably read “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and the “Harry Potter” series. Maybe the “Game of Thrones” series for your Kindle, or something by Mark Twain?