Justin Reamer

Freshman - 967 Points (2 October 1993 / Holland, Michigan)

John Davis' Vacation - Poem by Justin Reamer

Halloa, mate!

I am John Charles Davis,
And I am a Briton,
Or an Englishman,
To be exact.

My friends call me 'Johnny'
Since that is a nickname.

I am here to tell
You a hilarious tale,
An anecdote of mine,
About a foreign adventure,
Or...well...a foreign misadventure,
I would probably say
To be exact.

It is a story about me
Travelling to America,
That place where we Brits
Were so humiliatingly defeated
Out there in history,
If you are an Englishman
And you remember what you
Call the American Revolution
And the War of 1812.

Well, I guess I will
Tell you my story,
Since it is quite funny,
Actually,
So if you are one
Of my fellow countryman,
Then you will probably
Get a laugh out of this,
But if you are American,
You might laugh
At the guilty humour
I have to present to you,
Or you just might laugh
At the many knuckleheads
That live in your country.

If you are Canadian,
You might be embarrassed,
Since these people are
Your neighbours
And may have had
Problems in the past,
Or if you are Australian,
You just might not care,
And if you are Indian,
You probably will not care, either.

But, anyway, I will
Tell you my lovely story,
Just for entertainment sakes,
If you know what I mean.

First, let me tell
You that I live in London,
So that you know where I live
As a reference to the story.

So, yes, I was walking
In London one day,
Coming home from work,
After working as an accountant,
When I decided that I needed a vacation.

I did not know where to go,
So I decided to go to
A travel agency,
So I could get an idea
Of where to go
To get away from my dreadful job.

All I knew was that
I did not want
To go anywhere on this
Side of the world,
For I have driven
All over continental
Europe and saw all there
Was to see,
And I had been to Africa,
And did not want to go
Back there due to the
Political upheaval,
And I have been to Asia,
And saw the impoverished India,
That colony that England
Once called so great,
Communist China,
Who are not friendly at all,
Totalitarian North Korea,
Who are all conceited in
Every way there is;
Struggling Vietnam,
With Vietnamese people
Who barely speak a
Word of English;
Laos and Cambodia,
Which are filled with
Nice people;
Thailand,
Which is scary,
Tibet,
Which is also scary,
Singapore,
Which will scare
The living daylights
Out of you,
And will make you hold
Onto your genitalia
With your dear life;
And Friendly Japan,
Whom I would like to
Go back to anytime
I could.

But, let's just
Say that I wanted to
Go somewhere in
The Western Hemisphere.

So, I went to
The Travel Agency,
And I went to the attendant
And asked where I could
Go for an exciting vacation.

'Where do you
Want to go? ' she asked
Me, in the politest
Way she could.

'I will go
Anywhere, ' I told her,
'That is in the
Western Hemisphere.'

'Do you have any
Place in mind
In which you
Would like
To travel? '
She asked.

'I do not
Have any preference,
Ma'am, ' I said
To her,
'So do you have
Any recommendations? '

'Let me look, '
She said,
And she browsed
Through her
Computer.

I waited long
Enough for her
To find a result.

'What do you
Think of America? '
She asked,
'Have you been there before? '

'No, I have never been to
America before,
And I do not have
Any bad opinions about it, '
I said,
'So I might just go there.

'All right, you can
Pay for your ticket, '
She said.

And so I did.

The flight left
For tomorrow,
And I was bound to
Make it there,
So I went to the London Aeroport,
And I boarded the aeroplane
That was bound for New York City.

We took off,
And I flew to America
On an unknown vacation,
Which I was bound to regret.

I was going to America,
With no prior knowledge
Of American culture,
And no knowledge of
What they were like.

I guessed I was going to
Enjoy this vacation
Unless something bad might happen.

The aeroplane ride was about
A 10-hr. flight,
And I knew this was going to
Be awhile,
But the plane arrived
The next day,
And I was off into
NYC,
As the Americans called it,
And in the midst of a great city.

So, I got my luggage,
And I decided to find something
To eat in the aeroport.

I found a McDonald's,
And I went into the restaurant,
And I saw the cashier coming to me,
Awaiting for my order.

'Hello, sir, ' the female
Cashier said in a perfect
American accent that
Was Northern, from
What I knew,
'What can I do for
You today? '

'Halloa, ' I said,
'I am rather famished,
So I would like to get
Some food, if you don't mind.'

The lady seemed to pick
Up on my British accent,
And smiled at me.

'So you are a Brit? ' she asked.

'Yes, I am,
My dear, ' I said.
'I am an Englishman.'

'That's cool. I am
Lizzie, and I am
An American,
And I am pleased to meet you, '
She said happily,
'So what are you doing
In this neck of the woods? '

'I am on vacation, ' I said,
'And I just arrived.'

'Cool. So what do you need? '

'Well, I just need some food,
That is all, ma'am, ' I said.

'Well, just order up,
Whenever you're ready, ' Lizzie said.

'All right. First, I will
Have a hamburger, ' I said.

'All right.'

'And I will have some
Chips on the side.'

'Chips? What do you
Mean by chips? '

'Chips, ma'am. You know,
Things you eat.'

'Chips? Like potato chips?
We don't have potato chips, sir.'

'No, I do not know what
You are talking about,
But I want chips.'

'When you say chips,
Do you mean chips like
Doritos? We do
Not carry any of those.'

'No, those are crisps!
I do not want crisps,
I want chips, ma'am.
I am sorry if I am being
A burden to you.'

'Not at all. So what do
You mean by 'chips'? '

'I mean the little
Potato pieces that
Are long, chewy,
And full of salt,
And are capable
Of putting catsup
On it.'

'OH! You mean French fries!
Oh, that's okay, I'll gladly
Give you French fries;
I am sorry that I did not
Understand you.'

I grimaced,
'They're still called
Chips, ' I said.

So, yes, I guess
That was a bit frustrating,
But, there was more.

'And may I have a shake, too? '
I asked.

'Yes, you may.'

'All right, ' I said.

'Is it for here
Or to go? ' Lizzie asked me.

'Eat-in, ' I said.

'I guess that means
'For here, ' so I'll make
A check by that, ' she said.

I grimaced,
For what was this
Girl's problem?
I guess it works.

'That'll be $8.25, please, ' the
Cashier said, smiling at me.

'All right, here you go, '
I said,
And I gave her the dollar bills,
Which are much different
From British currency,
The Pound.

So, I paid her,
And I picked up my
Nash and ate it.

I then went to get a rental
Car, and there I got
The stuff I was going to need.

I then went out, and
I met a hitchhiker waving his thumb
At me. I stopped
For him to let him in,
And he got in my car.

'Hey, man, thanks
For the ride.
What's your name, man? '
The hitchhiker asked.

'I am Johnny, '
I said,
'And I am from
England.'

'Whoah, dude! ' he shouted,
'You're a Brit, and that
Is awesome!
My name is Dylan,
And I am pleased to meet you.'

'Nice to meet you, Dylan, '
I said,
'It is always a pleasure
To meet new people.'

'So, man, do you,
Like, play checkers at all? '

'What are checkers? ' I
Asked him.

'Dude, you don't know what
Checkers is? It's the game
Where you move tokens
Diagonally to collect
All of your opponent's
Tokens.'

Suddenly, I knew what
Game Dylan was talking
About, and I
Was going to inform him
Of his error.

'The game you speak
Of is called draughts, '
I said to him.

'What do you mean draughts? '
Dylan asked me,
'And what the hell is that?
Dude, the game is checkers,
And I do not know if you are
Misinformed or something,
But the game is called
Checkers, man.'

'No, it is draughts, '
I said to him.

'Dude, it's checkers,
And I do not know
Where you get these stupid names
From, but it is like
Calling tic-tac-toe
Noughts and crosses
Or something.'

I rolled my eyes,
For Dylan was an idiot,
And I was not going to argue
With him about it.

We did not talk
The rest of the way
Until a 'Check Engine'
Light came on my car,
And I had to do some things
To fix it.

So, I went to the car
Mechanic,
And I had him check out
The problem on my rental car.

The car mechanic got back to me,
And he said,
'You just have an oil
Problem, sir,
And you have nothing else
To worry about,
And we will just change
It for you.
However, do you
Want us to do a check-up? '

'Yes, please, ' I said
To him, as nicely as possible.

'All right, sir,
Pop the hood.'

'Hood? What hood? Does
It look like I am around
A hoodlum
Or does it look like
I am wearing a hoodie
To you? '

'No, the hood, sir,
Of the car, ' he said,
Hitting the bonnet of my car.

'That is the bonnet, sir,
Not the hood.'

'Whatever. Just pop it.'

So, I popped the bonnet
Of my car,
And he checked it.

He changed the oil,
And he looked at
The rest.

'It's all good,
Just let me check some
Other things,
If you do not mind.'

'No, problem, ' I said.

'Turn on the ignition
For me, all right? '

'Yup, ' I said,
And I did that.

'Turn on the left blinker.'

'A blinker? What the bloody hell
Is a blinker? '

'The thing that blinks
When you are turning.'

'Oh, an indicator,
Now I know what you mean.'

I turned on the indicator,
And he said the 'blinker'
Was good to go.

'Turn on the brakes.'

I did that.

'They're good;
All right,
Turn on the head lights.'

That I did.

'It seems your license plate
Light is out of order.'

'Licence plate? What is
A licence plate? '

'The thing on the back
Of the car with all the numbers.'

'Oh, you mean the number plate! '

'Yes, whatever. Would
You like to replace that? '

'Yes, please,
For I do not want
Any dicks looking
Out for me.'

The mechanic replaced it,
And he then did more check-up.

'Put your gearshift
In reverse.'

'What the hell is a gearshift?
Do you mean the gearstick? '

'Yes.'

'All right.'

I put the gearstick in reverse,
And he said,
'I am checking your backup lights.'

'Backup lights? What are those? '

'The things that indicate
That you are in reverse.'

'Oh, you mean reversing lights,
Well that works.'

'The backup lights
Are good to go. Do you
Have any problems with your trunk? '

'You mean the boot? I do not
Have any problem with that.'

'How about your windshield? '

'It's called a windscreen,
And no, I do not have any
Problems with that, either.'

'I guess you are good
To go. May I see your
Driver's license? '

'My driving licence,
You mean? Yes,
You may see it.'

He checked it,
And he said,
'You are good to go.'

I paid him,
And I drove
With Dylan in my car.

'So, where do you want to go? '
I asked him,
'I will dropp you off
Anywhere you need.'

'Just dropp me off at
The bar, ' Dylan said.

And I took him to the bar.

The rest of my vacation
Was very weird,
For it is great that
Americans are so amiable,
But it is frustrating
That they are so misinformed.

I mean, they call
Drink-driving
Drunk driving
Or a DUI,
And they call
Pedestrian crossing
A crosswalk.
They even call roundabouts
Turnarounds,
And it is just weird.

Apparently, Americans
Do not learn maths in school,
But rather they learn 'math.'

They call an eyebath
An eyecup, and that
Is just weird, too.

I also had a conversation
With a young mother,
And I talked to her
About her baby.

I remember her saying that
Her baby sucked on a
'Pacifier' instead of
A dummy and that her
Child slept in a 'crib'
Instead of a cot.
She also said her
Baby was in a 'stroller'
Instead of a pushchair.
That was weird, too.

I also talked to
A man who was bleeding,
And he said he needed
A 'Band-Aid, '
And I thought what in
Bloody hell was that,
And he told me,
And I realised that
That was what Americans called
A plaster. And that was
Weird, too.

I also realised that
They called washrooms
Restrooms or bathrooms
And the loo
The 'john, '
Which was kind of
Insulting,
If you know what I mean.

When I went to check
Into my hotel,
The clerk asked me
If I wanted the European Plan
Or the American Plan,
And I did not know whether
He was joking,
Or if he was being insulting,
Or if he was being an idiot,
But, I said, 'Full board.'

When I went to my room,
I found out that Americans
Call lifts
'Elevators, '
Which is weird,
Isn't it?

I went to my room,
Unpacked,
And then decided to
Go shopping for some
Supplies I would need.

I found a tram,
And I took it down to
The department store.

On the tram, I
Found out that Americans
Call trams 'trolleys, '
Which is just weird.

Well, I made it to a
Walmart, and I
Went into go shopping.

I managed to get a shopping trolley
To put my supplies in. I found
Out that Americans called this
A shopping cart,
Of all things in the world.

I also managed to find out
That Americans call
Maize 'corn, '
An aubergine
'an eggplant, '
Hundreds of thousands
'Sprinkles' or
(Some stupidly call it)
'Jimmies, '
Icing sugar 'powdered sugar, '
Nappies 'diapers, '
Bumbags 'fanny packs, '
Sellotape 'Scotch tape, '
Swedes 'rutabagas, '
A dustbin a 'trashcan, '
And a drawing pin a 'thumbtack.'

It was just crazy for me,
And after a week,
I decided to go home.

I was delighted with my time in
America,
But I must say
That Americans are
Ignorant and stupid,
For they don't call
Things by their proper names,
And they don't know what
The heck to do with them.

I guess if I ever go back,
I will teach them the proper
Names of every error
They make,
For they are foolish
In that way.

I will reteach them
The proper names
Of objects in the
English language,
But I have to say,
I do enjoy myself,
Despite their egregious
Speaking ability.

And, now, I am glad
To be back home,
More than anything in
The world,
Where people actually
Call objects by
Their correct names,
And where people have the
Decency to respect
Privacy, for certain.

I am glad
To be back home.


Poet's Notes about The Poem

This is a fictional story that is a parody of the differences between the British dictionary and the American dictionary. It is meant to be humourous, not anti-American or anti-British, or insulting or degrading in any way. I hope you enjoyed the poem, and feel free to comment and vote.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 20, 2012



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