Did you see that England has modernized the test it gives people applying for citizenship? The new test is designed to better integrate immigrants into society, government, and more that require an insider's understanding of contemporary British culture. I think our citizenship exams need the same change, reflecting contemporary American culture.
Proposed New U.S. Citizenship Test
(1) You find you can no longer fit comfortably in airline seats because your thighs resemble the twin pontoons on a 30-foot catamaran. But you need to fly to L.A. for the weekend to attend a luncheon for Word Find puzzle enthusiasts. How do you resolve this problem?
(2) When you sign on to AOL, three stories are rotating on the home page: Border tensions between India and Pakistan raise the specter of global nuclear warfare; Jennifer Aniston confesses to struggling with nymphomaniacal urges; and scientists announce that they have discovered a previously unknown species of Madagascan muskrat. You click on the muskrat story because . . .
(3) You are in your 3 1/2 ton 2005 Chevy Suburban with optional hi-def, flat -- screen TV on the Beltway at midday, smoking a cigar, talking on the cell phone with your boss, taking notes, drinking a vente latte Frappuccino and fiddling with the radio for a better reception because "Unchained Melody" is playing. Suddenly, you realize that your exit is only 100 feet ahead, and you are in the far left lane. What do you do?
(4) An American man wins an all-expenses-paid vacation. He can chose among a tour of the greatest art museums in Europe with accommodations in four-star hotels; a trek in the Himalayas on a yak-back guided by Sherpas who have attained a high stat of spiritual enlightenment; or a week-long "cruise to nowhere," featuring a bottomless bugger, $1,000 worth of casino chips and special VIP tickets to the nightly Hot Bobbling Taters' "Salute to America" revue. Which does he choose, and why?
(5) A well-known fast-food chain wants to make a big marketing splash. The company announces the new MegaMouthful Burger. It features three beef patties, three slices of cheese, a poached egg, two rashers of bacon, fried onions, a grilled chicken cutlet, shredded lettuce and ranch dressings on a sesame-seed bun. What's missing?
(6) A new poll shows that just under 4 percent of the American public approves of the job that President Bush is doing. Gasoline process have fallen all the way down to $5.45 per gallon because of the new that we have begun drilling for oil in the Grand Canyon. We have started sending people to secret CIA torture camps in Liberia on suspicion of being "foreign." The vice president and entire Cabinet have been indicted on charges ranging from loan-sharking to convenience-store robbery. To most of the rest of the world, America is regarded as a rogue state in the control of a wild-eyed madman, like Uganda under Idi Amin, who actually ate human flesh. The Republicans will still win the next Presidential election because . . .
(1) You fly anyway. You insist on the center seat and sit splay-legged. Fat Americans on airplanes know that passengers on either side of them are infinitely compressible.
(2) . . . because you are an idiot. No intelligent person uses AOL anymore.
(3) One hundred feet? You have all the time in the world! This is the Beltway, and you are at a standstill. Using your elbow or lips to manipulate the turn signal indicator, you calmly and methodically work your way over to the right lane.
(4) He chooses the tour of Europe. This is because the American man who won the vacation happened to be George Will. Listen, Fnyoosh, or whatever you name is -- this is America. You need to look out for trick questions. If we'd asked about the typical American man, you' know the right answer.
(5) What is missing is a tomato grown under circumstances requiring only that it be the precise diameter of the bun, without any additional criteria involving flavor, texture, appearance or edibility. It would resemble a neat slice of fresh pink Play-Doh. In taste and "mouth feel," it would be indistinguishable from caulking material. No one would complain.
(6) . . . the alternative will be a Democrat, chosen after a spirited, wide-open, unbrokered, egalitarian, grass-roots, fair-and-square, completely suicidal primary process that inevitably guarantees that the last person standing will be someone with all the personality and character of a bunion.
Gene Weingarten's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Chant with him online Tuesdays at noon at www.washingtonpost.com