Watching "National Treasure" for the First Time

Sasha Debevec-McKenney

And of course I ask myself, could I…steal the Declaration of Independence?

No. Obviously. I had just had a crying fit after failing to French braid my hair.

Then I checked the Facebook of the wife of the Married Guy I was in love with in 2015

to make sure their baby was still ugly. It was. And about halfway through the movie

I passed out drunk. It was 4:30 p.m. What was it the Founding Fathers said?

“If there’s something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility

to take action?”—or was that Nicolas Cage in National Treasure? My Married Guy

was a painter. He showed me a painting of him and his wife as American Gothic.

Their faces were painted blue to signify oxygen deprivation. He ripped the painting in half

and said, “I will never have children with her.” That line was on every list I found later,

when I Googled “lies married men tell you.” I knew that American Gothic was a painting

of a father and a daughter, not a painting of a husband and a wife, but I also knew that most men

did not like when I lectured them on the value of historical accuracy. I wanted to believe

in hidden treasure, too, so I didn’t correct him.

Sasha Debevec-McKenney is a poet who received her MFA from New York University. She was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Originally published:
June 12, 2023


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