Sarah Hoyt, who is a lovely author and American by choice from Portugal, was recently hit by a moment of cultural shock. On craigslist, she found things from the 1970's advertised as "antique."
When she shared her moment of "Argh! AMERICANS!", Peter agreed emphatically that it's considered mildly gauche to call something that's only 100 years old an antique. I giggled. And then I used math.
America has had a coherent identity since 1776 (arguably), making us 239 years old. Something from 1970 is therefore witness to 18 percent of America's history.
England claims coherency as a nation from "the 10th century." Being charitable, let's say the year 900, which makes them 1115 years old. 18 percent of their history is 200 years.
So if 100 years is the borderline for an English antique, that makes it 9 percent of the country's history.
9 percent of America's history is... 1991.
So, I have t-shirts that are antiques.
I think she wanted to throw some bacalhau at my head. Peter just looked at me when I proclaimed he's not yet an American Antique, because he was imported too recently, and then got the look of a man who desperately wanted a drink.
Welcome to America!