What the huddled masses are yearning for now

observations

October 16, 2006|By John Woestendiek | John Woestendiek,sun reporter

Your country 'tis of three.

Three hundred million, that is.

America's population will hit that milestone figure tomorrow morning, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's "Population Clock" - quite an achievement considering it's only been a country for 230 years.

Think about it: more than 300 million served - maybe not to their total satisfaction, maybe not without a wait - but, hey, that's life in a fast-food nation.

Next, please ...

Welcome to America. We're glad you're here. May I take your order, please?

Yeah, uh, we'll take the House in the Suburbs, ummm, one SUV, and, let's see, 2.5 children.

Will there be anything else for you today?

No, that's it.

OK, thank you. Please pull up to the first window ...

Welcome to America. May I take your order, please?

Yes. Could I please have the No. 4 Combo - College Scholarship and Guaranteed Job?

Would you like benefits with that?

I thought it came with benefits.

Yes, those are free for another 50 cents.

OK.

Please pull up to the window ...

Welcome to America. Your order, please.

You kids hold it down. Don't make me come back there. Yes, can you hear me?

Yes ma'am. Your order?

Can I have the Safe Schools, please.

OK, do you want that with or without the education?

Oh, I think I'd like the education, too.

OK, pull up to the window ...

Welcome to America. May I take your order?

I'd like the Health Plan, please.

Could you be more specific?

Umm, I guess the No. 7 - full coverage, free prescription drugs, no co-pay.

Uhhh, that's temporarily unavailable, would you like to try the No. 6, with 80 percent coverage?

OK. Sounds good.

Would you like to try our new Cheesy-Sour Cream Fries with that?

Sure ...

Welcome to America. What's your order?

I've been in this line 30 minutes. What's wrong with you people?

I'm very sorry, sir. How can I help you?

I want the Strong Military, and I want it now.

Just pull up to the window, sir.

Wait a minute!

Yes?

Supersize it.

OK, sir.

America ... Please stop honking your horn. We're working as fast as we can. Your order, please.

That's not me, it's the people behind me.

All right, your order, please?

I'd like the Wide Open Spaces, an order of the Unspoiled Nature and lemme try some of the Trail Mix.

Pull up to the window ...

America, order please.

Hey, you've got a madhouse out here. The line stretches on forever. And there's some guy panhandling. Either that or he's robbing people. I'm glad I'm in my Hummer.

Your order, sir.

Yes, could I have the Criminals off the Streets, the Lower Gas Prices and a Ban on Immigrants.

Anything else?

Ummm, maybe a chicken burrito.

Pull up to the window ...

Order, please. Hello. Order, please.

Oh, do I just talk into this?

Yes ma'am. What's your order?

I wanted to see if you had any of the Social Security left.

Hold on. Lemme check. ... No ma'am, all out.

Well, then, just a salad.

What kind of dressing?

Does it cost more?

No ma'am, condiments are free.

Ten thousand packets of the bleu cheese then, please, and 50,000 packets of ketchup.

Pull up to the window ...

What do you want?

Could I have the Anti-Terrorism Special, but could I get that without the Sending Troops to War.

I'm sorry, sir, we don't serve it that way.

Whatever happened to "Have it Your Way?"

This isn't Burger King; it's America.

Ok, just a chocolate shake then.

Pull up to the window ...

Yes, what is it?

You sound cranky.

I'm sorry. It just never lets up; it's getting to me - give me this, give me that. Gimme, gimme, gimme. Do you have any idea what it's like trying to serve 300 million people a day, most of them annoyingly impatient? I can only be stretched so far, you know. Whatever happened to "Ask not what your country can do for you ... "

"But what you can do for your country?"

Yeah, I think that's how it went.

That was the 1960s. You only had 200 million people to deal with then. I guess the bigger you get, the more stressed out you get.

I guess. So, what's your order?

I just wanted to say, have a nice day.

What?

Have a nice day, and congratulations on hitting 300 million.

Well, gee, thanks ...

Welcome to America. We're glad you're here. May I take your order, please?

U.S. population clock

www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

One birth every 7 seconds

One death every 13 seconds

One international migrant (net) every 31 seconds

Net gain of one person every 11 seconds

[U.S. Census Bureau]

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