another solution to the financial crisis

Like sovereign dominoes toppled by a Tourettic flick of the American finger, world financial markets are clattering into ruin. Suddenly, though, the United States, epicenter and fulcrum of the whole mess, is rock solid. How did this happen?

Because I just bought it.

Good news, people of the 48 Continentals: for $2.50 (Canadian!) I’ve bought your entire country and turned it into an amusement park. Under my bold new scheme, you are all ‘employee-owners’ of Usaland – the Americanest place on Earth!

If you haven't received your in-fun-mational package in the mail, along with new passport/identitichip, uniform and lifestyle advice manual, you're probably wondering: What does this mean for me?


As an employee-owner of Usaland, your home will be one of the star attractions. People in Europe are dying to see if your country is really the massive McMansioned suburban sprawl that they believe it to be. Even though you will own your home in one sense, in an actual sense you will not, so please think of it as a personal domestic lifestyle showcase. You and your family will be expected to entertain Guests at any time. Some of those Guests will be there to see an American family living the dream. Some of them will be looking for interaction. Some will be looking to fulfill their fantasy of breaking into a suburban home and forcing the residents to submit to their unspeakable depravity. Remember, you are invested in making sure that Guests rate their visit as at least an 80% on the Experience Meter – so smile! Unless they are very explicit that you should cry, beg and scream.


Remember when driving back and forth to work was the most boring part of your day? Not any more - now your dull commute is a theme park ride. In the event of Guests, you must stop and pick them up. Be sure to play tracks #3-5 on your CD player at all times when tourists are in the car. Remember – you own this part of their entertainment experience. Make it fun for them – are you a good tour guide? Point out the sights along the way (there's the Outback Steakhouse! There's the building that used to house the local aerospace defense contractor!).

Don’t forget – even if you're alone in your vehicle, that doesn’t mean the fun stops! You are still a proud employee-owner of Usaland, and as such your activities may be observed and recorded for quality monitoring purposes. It is suggested that you play tracks #3-5 at all times.


Your place of work will be exactly as before, but all pretense of productivity will be dropped. You will be expected to surf the web aimlessly for hours at a time, ‘go for lunch’ at a nearby 'strip mall restaurant', and spend the rest of the day IMing ‘friends’. Retail workers will pretend to ‘sell’ goods to ‘shoppers’, unless you work at an officially sanctioned Usaland Souvenir Shop, in which case you will sell genuine goods to shoppers. Similarly, only Usaland Theme Restaurants will serve actual meals, and then only to tourists.


If I can stress one thing, it's not to attempt to order meals from Theme Restaurants or purchase groceries from an official Usamart. In the first place, those places are not for you, okay? They are for Guests only. Usamarts and Usataurants do not accept your currency, and in any case the doors of these establishments will detect your RFID chip and refuse you entry. Remember, all attempts to enter interdicted areas(themed market zones, harbours, interstate highways, Airstrip Fun) will be noted and logged. Three unauthorized attempts will result in deportation to Florida (see below).

Instead of unhealthy fast food or inconvenient produce, every household will be issued a package of self-heating ready-to-eat meals which can be consumed during your fifteen-minute daily break period, or You Time. Employee-owners are encouraged to spend their You Time in the supplied privacy compartments.


You'll be happy to know that worries about money are now a thing of the past! Over the next few days you should be receiving your monthly allotment of paper money, which you can spend at any one of our designated Mainstreet Strips or Exurban Boxlands. If at any point you run out of currency, simply pick up your home phone and clearly state 'Show me the money' into the receiver. A new bail of currency will be at your door for your next Designated Leisure Period. Stuff your pockets and load up your wheelbarrows with the stuff, because it's time to shop! Please be sure to leave all items by your loading dock for discreet pick-up and return within 24 hours of purchase. Any attempt to keep these goods may result in deportation to Florida (see below).


All major cities will be forced to play out their own degraded stereotypes. San Fransisco will host a daily queer parade, Baltimore will be converted to a drug-ridden inner city ghetto, Boston will be the province of nasal New Englanders and Bangor will be taken out behind the shed and shot. All sandal stores and coffee shops will relocate to the Pacific Northwest. New Orleans will be a permanent disaster area. Los Angeles will be reduced to a series of urban fiefdoms connected by a vague sense of civic belonging and a highway system, but with lousy public transit. And so on.

Please note that this scheme will involve no costly relocation or resettlement of ethnic or demographic groups. For example, employee-owners of San Fransisco will convert to homosexuality, Baltimoreans will be either gang members, cops, or enthralled television critics, and Houstonites will consume nothing but sugared lard until a suitable level of obesity is reached. Milwaukee will be devoted to reenactments of the most emotionally wrenching moments from Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy.

Many people have discovered that the Midwestern states, while enjoyable enough in a Quality-of-Life sense, do not score high on the Expectations Index or Experience Meter. Most of the Midwest will be renamed Airstrip Fun and paved over to serve as a giant parking lot for attractions like Giant Head Land (formerly Mount Rushmore) or Spielbergric (Wyoming), with easy connections to Bruckheimia (Las Vegas) and California (California).

The Grand Canyon will be topped up with delicious soda.

The Southeastern states will be separated from the continental shelf and pushed out to sea.

Florida will be converted into a prison state and given over to the monstrous appetites of David Caruso, who will travel the land in a litter and ‘arrest’ employee-owners as per his dispensation. Visitors will be able to participate in an unending CSI: Miami location shoot.

Alaska and Hawaii are too far away, and frankly, too much trouble. Please join me in wishing the non-contiguous States a fond farewell. A card will be going round over the next few weeks. If you're the last person to get the card, please forward it to Canada, as others may want to join in on the good wishes.


Jails rate extremely low on the Experience Meter. All convicted criminals will move to Florida, where David Caruso will mete out punishment and stand sideways to them. He'll say, "You're not in jail now, my friend. You're with me now. Aren't you?" Then he will paralyze the criminal with an enzyme secreted from his salivary glands and consume him over the course of days. I should probably mention that Caruso is the offspring of a Komodo Dragon and a shrivelled walnut.


No change.