The UK is largely a mystery to me. Sure, I’ve met numerous UK-ites (English? British? Welsh? Irish? Scottish?), but I have never had a close friend or relative really explain to me some of the most important differences between U.S. and British society. How does parliament work? How does the subsidized healthcare system work? Why haven’t the British adopted the Euro? I’ve picked up that there’s a difference between Northern and Southern England, but what exactly is this difference? How do I get knighted? What’s a chav? Am I a chav?
Asking myself questions about the UK has opened my eyes to another startling deficiency in my knowledge: would I be able to answer the same questions about the United States? I have no idea what role the House of Representatives plays in our government because I’ve never heard anything about it outside of my 7th grade civics class. Don’t ask me about the relationship between Iowa and the neighboring state of Nebraska because you’re liable to get a blank stare as I slowly back away towards the nearest exit. As for our healthcare system – all I know is that it’s expensive as all get out.
Here I am, a prospective student of the world-renowned London School of Economics and Political science, and I know nothing. In my quest for the knowledge of another society, I have uncovered my own ignorance. I’m pretty sure my life has just become the premise of an epic Shakespearean play and forthwith mine sentences shall be penned in such a saucy manner as this!
Jokes and melodrama aside, I’m glad that I came to the realization that I know very little about the US and Britain at a high level. It’s another necessary reminder that I have much to learn about the world, and that my education will never truly end. School can teach you a lot of things, but there will always be something else to learn.
A year from now I will look back on this essay and have a good chuckle over my ignorance. The year after that I’ll look back upon my previous chuckling and chuckle some more. And if everything goes according to plan, I’ll be chuckling along for the rest of my life. “Here lies Roy Murdock, of the Eternal Order of the Chuckle” – it’s got a nice ring to it, no?