American’s Favorite Things That Aren’t Actually American
Claire Miles - January 5, 2019

Lester

By Shel Silverstein

Lester was given a magic wish
By the goblin who lives in the banyan tree,
And with his wish he wished for two more wishes-
So now instead of just one wish, he cleverly had three.
And with each one of these
He simply wished for three more wishes,
Which gave him three old wishes, plus nine new.
And with each of these twelve
He slyly wished for three more wishes,
Which added up to forty-six -- or is it fifty-two?
Well anyway, he used each wish
To wish for wishes 'til he had
Five billion, seven million, eighteen thousand thirty-four.
And then he spread them on the ground
And clapped his hands and danced around
And skipped and sang, and then sat down
And wished for more.
And more...and more...they multiplied
While other people smiled and cried
And loved and reached and touched and felt.
Lester sat amid his wealth
Stacked mountain-high like stacks of gold,
Sat and counted -- and grew old.
And then one Thursday night they found him
Dead -- with his wishes piled around him.
And they counted the lot and found that not
A single one was missing.
All shiny and new -- here, take a few
And think of Lester as you do.
In a world of apples and kisses and shoes
He wasted his wishes on wishing.

Let’s take the most American thing we can think of: a cowboy. The first image that pops up in your head is definitely a man out in the wild west tipping his hat down with one hand and reaching for his holster with the other. But, did you know that the first cowboy appeared in Spain? Americans are proud of their country, but there are some things we assume to be Americans that are not. Here are some things that became part of American culture and where they really originated from.

Cowboys

Getty Images/NBCUniversal

“Home, home on the range where the deer and the antelope play.” We bet you anything that you sang that line in your head. The unofficial anthem of the wild wild west, “Home on the Range” is a classic western folk song that pretty much is as American as it gets. But apparently, cowobys are originalyl from Spain. The Spanish came to America in 1519 and brought the tradition with them. The cowboys in Mexico were known as Vequeros. In the early 1700s, Mexicans traveled to Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico and built ranches which made cowboys popular.