An American Werewolf in Capri Pants

As an unemployed freelance spy, I knew it was my duty to infiltrate the Euro world and assess the potential of two million ravers in paddle boats armed with balsamic vinegar and strobe lights, headed for Ellis Island with lust in their loins.


Initially, I thought all I'd need to become Euro was a purple mohawk and a pair of capri pants. But being Euro isn't only about weird hair and tight pants, it's about passion! And chain smoking Marlboro reds. And American pop culture.

As an American who has never been anywhere un-American, my vision of European people was my vision of Euro people. Euro people listen to house music, wear shirts without sleeves, and speak some sort of weird gibberish. They wear shoes with wheels in the heel so you can roll for three feet and then walk around like a T-Rex all day, claiming that they're comfortable. They give each other nicknames like "Dieter" and "Hans" and "Stefano." They eat children.

Naturally, these Euro people are something to be feared. Our hands are already full. Who knows what kind of chaos would ensue if they suddenly decided to throw down their glowsticks and mobilize? The threat is everywhere.

As an unemployed freelance spy, I knew it was my duty to infiltrate the Euro world and assess the potential of two million ravers in paddle boats armed with balsamic vinegar and strobe lights, headed for Ellis Island with lust in their loins. I knew I had to be inconspicuous in a foreign land. I had to blend in like a chameleon in the rainforest. To move like a cat in the night. I had to tunnel like a mole, swim like a porpoise, slither like a snake, whinny like a horse, and jump like…a guy…across enemy lines. I took my spy kit out of my spy closet and packed up my spy gear. One "Proud to Be an American" netted hat. One Speedo. One pair of rollerblades. No toothbrush. I was going to fit in like a sore thumb at a sore-thumb convention.

I went to the airport.

"One ticket to Europe, sir or madam," I said.

"Certainly, cool dude. Are you going back to home to Europe?"

"Why, yes…Yes, I am," I said. Everything was going according to plan.

Believe it or not, there are some people who like to clown on my mad skills. Roger Clemens said I couldn't hit a home run off of him, Nick Nolte said I couldn't drink him under the table, and my mother said I couldn't pass as Euro. She said they would be able to tell I was American by the way I walked, dressed, and started fires. Basically, she called me an imposter. And for that, she will get no birthday gift this year. Regardless, it was my destiny to spy on Euros-and I had packed my spy gear, so I was going to do it anyway.

My plane took off and the pilot whispered sexily over the intercom, something about heat, passion, and sexo. I wasn't really listening. I was trying to make a call from my cell phone. It didn't work, so I put it back into my Speedo, said the Pledge of Allegiance, and went to sleep.

My heart is a Harley-Davidson bald eagle apple pie baseball explosion wearing denim. And something like that burns with so much pride and fury that is hard to cover up, even in a lacy Euro blouse. I knew it was going to be difficult. I also knew it was going to be really easy. It turned out to be impossible.

It goes without saying that I didn't waste my time learning somebody else's language. I knew they'd already learned mine, back when I was busy doing better stuff like throwing garbage into the ocean. I knew a few broken phrases that I hoped would help me pawn myself off as Euro, especially when backed by the blindfolded haircut I gave myself in the airport bathroom. As I stumbled across a museum of some kind, somewhere in Europe, I knew I was pretty close to the epicenter of Euro culture. I started to sweat. I could feel the heat. The passion was smoldering. A cell phone rang. The ringer was "Billie Jean."

"Guten tag, fraulein," someone answered. I was perplexed. Why hadn't that ring been nonsensical pounding?

I started searching for Euro people, but they were not to be seen on the steps of that museum. I went inside. People in safari hats and Hawaiian shirts. Americans. I came into a long hallway of statues of people who were wearing loose sheets that kept falling.

"Stefano!" I called. "Stefano!"

But Stefano did not come wheeling out from behind a statue. I headed out of the Euro capital, dejected; I felt as if I had gone to Loch Ness and seen no monster. In the square outside of the museum, no Euros had come down to graze. I sat down and perused the hineys. Some very nice hineys, yes. But hineys were minimal consolation when I was really looking for people with facial piercings and lip rings. I had gone shark fishing and caught a sardine. The sardine was the hineys. Moving on.

I was running out of time to infiltrate Euro culture. I figured I would only need two hours to completely understand and assess the goings on there, and I had to catch my flight back to the real world so I could watch Real World later that night. I tried one last-ditch effort to find Dieter and his gang.

I looked left. I looked right. I looked up. I looked right. I started to look left again, but had to give a double take. In the middle of the square, there was a guy smoking three cigarettes at once. He had dangling earrings and, good God, hot pants! Hot pants, hot damn! I had finally hooked a Euro!

I approached him slowly, stealthily, like a hunter who didn't want to scare off his prey. I cleared my throat and mumbled my broken Euro, hoping he'd fire back in his incomprehensible gibberish. He smiled at me.

"Are you looking for the American embassy?" he asked in pitch-perfect American English.

"No, no, no!" I shouted and ran off, hoping he would think I was just mentally disturbed or a pathetic drunk, and not an American. I didn't care if anybody there thought I was real whack job. I wasn't trying to convince anybody I was a European doctor or something. I'm perfectly fine with my position on the bottom, in an alley swilling grog or playing harmonica around a trash can fire.

But as an unemployed freelance spy, I was a loser, unable to find the Euro people I had previously assumed swarmed all over the Euro land.

I didn't feel like flying anymore. I didn't deserve it. I went to the train station and bought a ticket for America. I would sleep in a pile of coal that night and wallow in my worthlessness. As I waited, there was an announcement over the loudspeaker on the platform. In the Euro tongue, which I could slightly understand, the announcement said that a train was coming and told everyone to stay behind the yellow line close to the track. A second later, a translating announcement came on in American. It said that a train was coming. No mention of the yellow line. At first, I assumed, as I had from the beginning that everyone hated Americans. The Europeans probably wanted us to get hit by trains.

But as I thought about it, something else occurred to me. As Americans, we just don't care about the yellow line, so there's no point in even telling us. If we wanted to play paintball in the Louvre, we were going to. Regardless of how some dumb foreigners might view our economy or our foreign policy, America was still the home of Michael Jackson and fireworks and reality TV. And that's all that really matters. I remembered the words of my great gran'pappy, the Baron Epic Von Wagiemeister: "You skunks can't fake the funk." I couldn't hide from the American werewolf inside me, and trying to be Euro wasn't even fun. Fun was invented in America, and I would walk through walls, people, and sacred burial grounds to get there. I had a train to catch.

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