So, last week we got a notice over email at work. The guy in the deli downstairs has passed all the tests and become a American citizen. I've only been on this job for two months, and I only barely know deli guy. I've heard his name, but did not retain it, though I wouldn't use it on the blog anyway out of concern for the man's privacy. I'm sure he doesn't know my name either.
According to the email, he's your classic American immigrant success story. He was really poor when he came here from Pakistan, where he wasn't allowed to get an education because he is bahai. He worked his way through school, got an education and now he runs a deli. Now, I wouldn't want to run a deli, but I'm pretty sure that running a deli sucks less than whatever job you end up with in Pakistan when you're the wrong religion and you don't have an education.
Anyway, the owners of my office building are throwing the deli guy a party this afternoon and we were invited to bring him a small gift that said something about America, symobolized how we saw America or some such.
I'm actually quite patriotic. I know our country has done a lot of bad things, but I don't know any country that has achieved much that hasn't. And we have achieved a lot. The idea of deli guy wanting to be an American enough to go through the difficult process of becoming one stirs me a bit. I almost get misty-eyed when I think about him sitting down to take that Citizenship test. This guy played by the rules in a way that would make Tom Tancredo blush. I don't doubt he will be a credit to my country.
In the end, I did an informal survey and nobody I work with got this guy a symbolic gift. So if the rest of my firm is showing up empty handed I guess it's no crime that I will, too.
I just couldn't think of anything that seemed right.
Well, I considered getting him five dollars in McDonald's coupons because in America, everybody's out for a free lunch, but sarcasm didn't seem appropriate to the occasion.
But deli guy isn't going anywhere. I could always bring him something a little late.
Anyone have an idea for a symbol of unironic appreciation for our country?
I'm still thinking about it.