The Ugly American Social Syndrome (UASS)

The Ugly American slammed the ashtray on the bar and shouted repeatedly: “Are you serving here or are you talking?” The veins on his neck were pumping, turning his otherwise pink face into a mad red bone. The American was big, inebriated and used to having his way.

Misha, the bartender, turned around and asked the man to wait one moment but that only poured gasoline onto the Ugly American’s flaming deportment. When  the restaurant patrons began to stop eating, the man’s companions attempted to calm him down by pulling him away, which only provoked resistance and made him bellow louder. None of his friends had the guts to tell him he was being a total dick and perhaps because he was American, with a neck as thick as a Howitzer, the bouncers were nowhere to be seen… and they are always seen.

In a kind of B-movie predictability,  most of this group of fellow Americans were government employees, sent to perform our foreign policy duties here in Georgia.

“Paul, are these your friends?” Misha asked after serving the goon’s order.

I knew that was coming. Guilt by association. How to explain to a guy that just had his ass chewed out by a guest in his country that you can take the Ugly American out of America, but you can’t take the Ugliness out of that American? It was easier to pass the buck.

“We’re not all like that, really,” I said. “They work for the State Department.”


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