Laugh at yourself a little

This column is probably several weeks overdue, but the message is important regardless of the timing.

Things have been really rough for most people who have at least some strong political, moral, or philosophical convictions ever since this election began. I’ve seen a lot of people, including some people who I consider good friends and/or good people in general, take everything too seriously. They’ve “fact-checked” jokes, gotten into long arguments over minor disagreements, and, most annoyingly, spread inaccurate stereotypes about another party or candidate’s supporters while passively dismissing the stereotypes associated with their own beliefs. I haven’t partaken in many of the above activities, but I foresee a lot of my friends mending friendships in the near future. Fortunately, I’ve found the perfect place to not take the election results so seriously. A few weeks ago on East 6th Street between 1st Ave and 2nd Ave, a new restaurant called Merica NYC opened up.

Merica NYC isn’t all about the election, of course. They have several menu items that are simply supposed to embody general American stereotypes. For example, there’s the all-vegan salad “The Hippie” and the “John Wayne” Steak. My personal favorite — despite not having tried it — is the chef’s special, “The Walmart,” described as “A dish made from stuff, with more stuff you need and topped with extra stuff.” Their election items, though, are what I hope can get some people to loosen up a bit. The most notable election dishes are the Trump Burger and the Hillary Burger. The Trump Burger consists of ground rump roast burger, which comes from the butt of the animal. More notably, the burger has white American cheese and Mexican pepper jack cheese, but the cheeses are separated by a wall of toppings. The Hillary Burger, also known as the “100 calorie lie,” is essentially a double bacon cheeseburger topped with mac and cheese. Additionally, they named their deluxe fries after Bernie Sanders and have presidential face cakes on their dessert menu.

I’m not going to do a Cuisine Corner-style, in-depth food review like I usually do with restaurants in New York. I’ll just say that the food isn’t disappointing, but it’s not the best food I’ve ever had. The main reason that I like this place is that people tend to be both patriotic and apolitical when they eat or drink there. Unlike me, most of my friends are rabid Trump supporters, but we all still laughed at the wall of ingredients, the butt of the animal joke, and the 100 calorie lie. There are even posters making fun of both Republicans, Clinton, and American stereotypes in general that we laughed at regardless of whether or not we agreed with the sentiments behind those posters. To briefly summarize the atmosphere, it was a place to just relax and laugh about politics. That included laughing at ourselves a bit.

I think it’s important for most people who exhibited the behaviors I described at the beginning of this article to go to Merica or somewhere similar. It would probably be best to go with a friend or two who voted differently. It simply seems that so many people have gotten so defensive this election season, and they need to unwind a bit and not take things so seriously. Of course, this doesn’t apply solely to the election. If there’s anything you’re dealing with that you can only take seriously, find a place to loosen up about it a bit and laugh at yourself.

I don’t know if, now that the election is over, Merica will lose so much business that they’ll have to close. Also, even if they do stay in business, the election specials will obviously go soon, so I recommend going there ASAP.