It’s difficult to fathom the hardships my immigrant ancestors faced coming to America, leaving behind everything they knew to build a new life from scratch in a foreign land. Yet millions of people did exactly that, including my grandfather. He succeeded in creating a better life for himself in America against incredible odds, especially considering that he came to this country with nothing but his Juicy Couture sweatpants and the perfect ass to fill those things out.

When my grandfather Patrick “Paddy” McDonnell boarded a ship bound for America in his velour sweats, he was just a young lad from the poorest streets of Dublin with an ass to die for and hardly a penny to his name. He’d spent his entire savings to secure a spot in steerage, his eye-candy derrière barely visible among the other immigrants packed into the ship’s cramped quarters. The conditions in steerage were tough, and if the sight of my grandfather’s 10-out-of-10 apple bottom didn’t make you faint, the poor ventilation and unsanitary bathroom arrangements surely would. After several trying weeks at sea, Grandpa Paddy arrived at Ellis Island ready to roll down the elastic waistband on his hot-pink sweatpants a few tantalizing folds and build himself from the ground up with only himself and the absolute donk God gave him to rely on.

Despite having no education or connections in America, my grandfather set out to create his own American dream with his blood, sweat, and perfect peach moneymaker. Some lucky immigrants enjoyed the benefit of having family here who could house them until they got on their feet, whereas Grandpa Paddy didn’t even have the top half of a Juicy tracksuit or Uggs to match his sweatpants when he got to the States, let alone a place to go. Instead, he scraped by all on his own in the derelict tenements of lower Manhattan, working his incredible bubble butt to the bone in a garment factory for 15 hours a day, every day, until he’d sweat completely through his soot-covered Juicy sweatpants that he’d have to clean every night, his perfect ass jiggling back and forth with every push on the washboard.

With virtually no labor laws in place to protect immigrants from the dangerous conditions of factory work, my grandfather faced the daily risk of his whoopie cakes making his coworkers so sprung that they accidentally got maimed by machinery, too mesmerized by how good his ass looked in his Juicy sweatpants to notice their shirt getting caught on a loom’s chugging gears. Sadly, this was a commonplace occurrence, and I’m immensely proud of Grandpa Paddy for enduring such struggles.

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Though he arrived in America brimming with optimism and a kadunkadunk that went on for miles, no amount of glittered lettering across his yams could stave off the hostilities of xenophobic nativists. Discrimination was a regular part of life for immigrants, which only made it that much harder for curvaceous newcomers like my grandfather. Grandpa Paddy once told us a story about how he’d gone to apply for work at a butcher’s shop, only for the owner to block the store entrance and point at a sign out front reading “Help Wanted—No Thicc Daddies Need Apply.” Odds are, that wasn’t the first or last time my grandfather was put at a disadvantage for having buns you could host an all-you-can-eat buffet on and sweatpants that let him show off every inch of his stuffed-crust butt, but Grandpa Paddy’s resolve was unbreakable. He refused to let such petty prejudices keep his drool-worthy hip-to-waist ratio from providing a better life for his family, and I am living proof of his success in doing so.

When the struggles of assimilation threatened to deny my grandfather life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, he pulled himself up by his thong straps and persevered.

I wouldn’t be here today without the hard work and sacrifices of my big-booty-Judy grandfather. In a time when the rights of migrants are increasingly vulnerable, it’s worth remembering all the risks that come with packing your junk-filled trunk into revealing sweatpants and setting out to find a new, freer home where your bongo-drum ass cheeks could prosper. After all, what’s more American than that?

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