The Land of the Free (+Tax)

Welcome to The Shield‘s annual satire section.  Writers use satire to improve a problem in society. Sometimes readers misunderstand the satire as they do not recognize the hyperbole, irony, rhetorical questions, sarcasm, and understatements. Readers may mistake the satirical solution for the actual solution that the writer proposes. The ideas in these satire stories do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Shield or Westmont. If one is confused about satire, please contact a friendly neighborhood English teacher.

Are you looking for a beautiful, trendy travel destination for your next vacation? Are you tired of boring natural landscapes or overrated historic landmarks? Well, you’re in luck—I have the perfect spot for you. 

Times Square in New York City—the epitome of beauty and grace. More wonderful than the seven wonders and more serene than the seven seas, Times Square provides a busy, almost claustrophobic ambiance of no other. 

One of my favorite aspects of the energetic tourist destination is the wall of advertisements surrounding the capitalistic heart of the world. McDonalds, Kanye West albums, anti-aging makeup brands—these enticing advertisements will entertain you far more than any waterfall or mountain. Brighter than any constellation, the sky of billboards will shock your eyes and inspire your soul. You might not be able to see for a few days afterwards, but I promise that you will not miss your vision after witnessing such beautiful sights in Times Square. 

If you’re looking for additional activities besides gaping at neon billboards, might I suggest a photo-op with your favorite childhood characters. Why take pictures of lush forests or waterfalls when you can take a picture with Hello Kitty or Spiderman? Sure, their costumes might be covered in stains, they might smell of dirt and sweat, and they might ask for tips in exchange for a high five, but you will never regret the unforgettable experience. I, for one, took a delightful photograph with the iconic Statue of Liberty. I was shocked! Not only did I have the opportunity to roam the streets of Times Square, but I was able to meet the Statue of Liberty (or a green-painted lady in the form of the Statue of Liberty), a historically idolized symbol of New York and America. Why would anyone choose to spend hours in line to see the real statue, when they could get a close-up selfie with the next best thing? Now, if you do choose to indulge in this rewarding experience, please try to ignore the violent shoving and xenophobic insults that these characters endure. It is completely normal! When portraying such well-known icons in the entertainment center of the world, characters might receive some constructive feedback whilst working their ten-plus hour shifts. 

And of course, you cannot leave New York without witnessing the most iconic and memorable aspect of Times Square: the diverse and adorable wildlife. That’s right, I’m talking about the plethora of rodents lining the time-worn streets. These incredible creatures absolutely thrive in this unique atmosphere. If you’re lucky, you might even find them nibbling on your meal scraps or nesting in your hotel room! If you do happen to find a few rats or raccoons while on your trip, don’t forget to take some pictures!

Speaking of pictures, I strongly recommend that every Times Square visitor bring a fully-charged cell phone with them at all times. Essential to the tourist experience, photography allows visitors to remember their trip and to post about how memorable their trip was. When I took my visit to Times Square, I didn’t see a single face, only phone cameras! Because all of the tourists are on their phones, you don’t have to worry about a singular human interaction; a simple grunt or curse word will suffice. 

So, if you are looking for your next adventure, I highly recommend Times Square. You can admire the mountains of screens, encounter diverse characters, interact with lush wildlife, update your feed, and so much more in the most beautiful place in the world: Times Square.