February 19


An Englishman in America

By NickLitten

February 19, 2019

america, tea

To quote Sting ” I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien I’m an Englishman in New York” But, over the last ten years I’ve enjoyed being an Englishman in Roanoke VA, Augusta GA, Charleston SC, San Clemente CA and now Las Vegas NV. Diverse locations with diverse cross sections of the People that make up New World Colonies 😉

My American friends, frequently chuckle at my English idiosyncrasies and I theirs. The differences in our cultures leads to much mirth, sideways looks, solid confusion, raised eye brows and gentle piss taking.

We are definitely two nations separated by a common language:


No, a Fag isn’t rude. It’s a cigarette. “Bumming a Fag” means to borrow one… with the intention of smoking rather than returning.


Generally, Americans are louder than us Brits. Loudly speaking to an entire room, or (worse) speaking over the top of somebody else while they are speaking will see most Anglo’s widen their eyes and retreat into the deepest parts of their psyche.


In public, the dreaded “telling a stranger your family secrets” is still a daily struggle on my cringe detector. Don’t ask people probing questions. Our family details are sometimes treated like State Secrets. Coax the background information out of Brits by enticing them out slowly, with many pints of beer.


Money is just this stuff we spend. One should never brag about it. Never brag about how much you have, how much you earn or how must you like to spend on things. Ugh.

An englishman in america 1


Everything in America isn’t bigger, nor is it better. Even if it is. We simply can’t ever acknowledge it, because it’s seen as too Gauche.


Cars have Boots (Trunks), Bonnets (hoods) and screens (shields)


Like all countries, us Brits come in all shapes, colours, sizes and different ethnic backgrounds. But, if you are born in England then you are English. I’ve always throught it odd that so many Americans classify themselves as something other than American. I’ve certainly never thought of people in terms of being afro-english, asian-English or somewherelse-english – people are just English and they come in various colours. Britain is a multi-cultural melting pot — an Indian Curry is our fave national dish 🙂 Try different foods from different cultures, its an inbuilt switch in English people.


While I’m talking about Brits and English. Britain is the main island making up the United Kingdom. The UK or Britain as its most often called is basically made up for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. (note: that’s not particularly correct but lets not get into the UK vs Isles vs all the wild different country names) So you can all be British, but cultural differences between countries are huge.


Football is not called Soccer. It doesn’t involve motorcycle helmets, players don’t wear body Armour and football doesn’t involve fat men throwing a ball. Just to confuse you further, Rugby is also frequently called Football.


Americans, please don’t wear your pyjamas shopping. Ever.


Having to wait until your 21 to buy a beer is frankly ridiculous. The alcohol problems and binge drinking in colleges still surprises me. My eldest son is 19, studying at an American University (aka: a college student) and even though he can get married, have children, own a gun, join the Airforce/Navy/Army and kill people all over the world… he still cant go into an American Bar and drink a Bud Light. #ridiculous


Religion. Like most of the rest of the world, Brits have predominantly eschewed the trappings of most medieval religions. Of course, people will always enjoy praying to various invisible beings, most of us Brits enjoy talking about it, but we don’t like having it rammed down our throats.


Love Dogs. Kicking a child is less offensive than kicking a puppy 😉

I’m just waffling now, so it’s time to go and make a nice cup of tea. Hot obviously. Tea is never iced. Ever. Iced Tea is for Sociopaths:

  • I really enjoyed that! I’m happy I discovered your blog via Linked-In. I was an RPG/RPGLE programmer, left for the Java/TIBCO/Informatica/Oracle/etc. world and may be returning to my roots.

  • Hey Nick, I’m an old retired (disabled) Midrange IBM programmer-do-it-all-mostly-programmer-analyst. I spent 29-1/2 years working mainly small IBM shops, working on all the IBM midrange models; S/3(all mods),S/32,S/34,S/36.S/38,AS/400. THUSLY I worked all versions of RPG and some COBOL, SQL and even some Fortran, Really…. I mainly contacted you to let you know that in your intro you had some doubts has to the early history of RPG. #RPG has always been RPG, even on the main-frames back in the late 50’s, early 60’s. The main language on 360-370’s was COBOL which was the true processor / logic program used on the main frames previous to RPG. RPG was only used on the main frames as a report generator, which you mentioned, and that it is much easier at producing reports than COBOL. RPG did not become competition to COBOL as a processor / logic programming language until RPG/36 came out in 1983, and though was still basically a S/34, it did have more disk and speed that allowed the first multiple users on a S/3X machine.. Well I hope this fills in some blanks, give me a holler if you have any questions for this old IBM’er. I hated having to quit at 49-1/2 yo, but my body gave out on me, don’t know why, after 19 years doctors still can’t explain. I was famous with IBM Tulsa/Dallas/KC. They always had a systems engineer looking over my shoulder and used several of my designs for their products; the most prominent being the IBM MAPICS Material Requirements Planning System. Well, gotta go, later. Happy holidays. Tj

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