I Felt Like a Gringo

On this 4th of July, I find myself thinking back to the Minutemen’s 1983 EP Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat and the song “I Felt Like a Gringo” by Mike Watt:

Got a ton of white boy guilt, that’s my problem,
Obstacle of joy, one reason to use some drugs.
Slept on a mexican beach slept in trash – American trash
Thinking too much can ruin a good time.

I asked a mexican who ran a bar for americans
“Who won” I said “The election?”
He laughed, I felt like a gringo,
They played a song and they had some fun with us.

Why can’t you buy a good time? Why are there soldiers in the street?
Why’d I spend the fourth in someone else’s country?

I list them here, because they are hard to make out when D. Boon sings them, but here is an acoustic version of the song:

I always feel sad on nationalistic holidays. This is a great change from my youth when I looked forward to watching 1776 on the 4th. Now I think of Ben Franklin’s statement that the United States was, “A republic, if you can keep it.” It sure seems like a republic, at the same time I feel I am not represented. People with money are represented. Things with money are represented. But me? I don’t know. I am an outsider in my own country. I would feel far more relaxed in Mexico right now.

Happy Independence Day!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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