After all the uproar about Coca-cola employing a commercial in which immigrants sang “America the Beautiful” in their native languages instead of English (as the grandson of immigrants, I found it touching, beautiful, and far more patriotic than the outcry), it occurred to me that most people mistakenly believe that Americans share a common language.
I learned that lesson as a child when my family was vacationing in New England. We sat down at a lunch counter, and the friendly man asked me what I wanted to drink. I asked him what kind of pop he had, and he looked confused. I repeated my question, and he genuinely asked, “What’s pop?” Surprised at his ignorance, I replied, “You know, like Coke, Pepsi …” and he grinned and said, “Oh, you mean soda!”