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Oh, America. Just look at yourself, honey. Looking tired and worn. Starting to carry that weight, aren’t you? Right there on your hips, under your chin. Hell, even your eyes look heavy!

I know, baby. Go ahead and cry. I know it ain’t easy.

You fought for freedom, liberty, and justice. That was the American Promise.
You worked hard for an honest living. That was the American Dream.
You opposed tyranny and forces of evil around the world. That was the American Way.

You were the envy of the world. Beautiful coastlines, mountains, deserts? Baby, you know it. Natural resources, temperate weather, arable land? Mmm-hmm, you know it. You even had that unbreakable, pioneering, enterprising spirit. You invented the assembly line and the automobile, harnessed electricity, and put your damn flag on the moon, for chrissakes.

America, baby, you were exceptional. That was your whole thing.

And now you’re out here, bored out of your mind. I get it. I mean, what do you get the country that has everything?

Girl, I got you. Trust in me. We’re going to have a little fun. Cut loose! Do something wild! America, what if this year we give you a fresh new look. Something to make the world stand up and take notice.

The way I see it, we’ve got two options.

Number one, we can take you from “Salt of the Earth” to “Salty About Everydamnthang.”

Immigrants? Blacks? Muslims? Hispanics? Jews? Gays? Refugees? Fuck ‘em, girl. You don’t need ‘em. Don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way boo-boo. Do you.

The media. Technology. The government. China. Real recognize real, baby and you can’t trust ‘em. Not a one.

So then let’s go with a classic look. Something vintage Americana – the military industrial complex meets Pinup Girl meets the exhumed body of Norman Rockwell. Let’s fire up another Lend-Lease Act, ignore science and progress, and get that beautiful face on some propaganda posters.

Our second option is to go from “Self-Conscious Nerd” to “Self-Aggrandizing Nerd.”

Flyover country? Blue-collar workers? People-with-different-views-who-aren’t-different-enough-to-have-their-own-category? Girl, they’re backwards. Leave them right there in the hole where you found them.

Wal-mart. The church. Cable and network TV. Your parents. They can’t help you. Baby, you’re on your own.

So, then let’s go with something a bit more modern. Like, maybe something with cool thick-rimmed glasses and a graphic tee. Something that like, resents the mainstream, shows no emotion, and just drips with irony. Let’s embrace our moral high ground, tapas restaurants, and expensive coffee, and get that manic pixie dreamgirl face on Instagram.

Hard to choose, right? I know, I know. They’re like sooooo different. But. Well. Let me see what I can do. You trust me, right?

OK, I think I got it.

No. Yeah, this is dope. You look amaaaazeeeeng. You wanna see?

Take a look at yourself, America! Turn around, face the mirror. See your brand new look!

What’s wrong? Wait, you don’t like what you see? Oh, come on, it’s not that bad. It’s just a big adjustment, that’s all. No, no, no, America, honey, don’t cry. This is who you are now.

You’ll get used to it.

Kelaine Conochan

The editor-in-chief of this magazine, who should, in all honesty, be a gym teacher. Don’t sleep on your plucky kid sister.

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