12 June 2011

Say what?!

"Accent your positive and delete your negative."
~Donna Karan

Every time I watch a movie that has someone speaking with an accent, I take on that accent....for days! I'm crazy good at it and have even fooled people into thinking I was from their country. I've entertained many young children over the years, however, I'm not so forthcoming with my secondary accentuations when I am around adults. Are you kidding me, it's hard enough for me to be taken seriously! All I need is for someone over the age of 12 to hear my Martian melodies or my Leprechaun lingo!

When my eleven year old was much younger, he used to cry when I spoke in different accents. "Mommmmmmmy, please be normal again!" [That does not compute...that does not compute...yep, I have a robot voice too.) Funny thing is, now he begs me to do accents...for anyone AND everyone! (Even the wait staff at the Mexican restaurant....yeah, that was awkward!) "Unfortunately," I am unable to do them on command. They just take over when I am least expecting it.

Normally, "the accents" (the voices, incognito) are fun, entertaining and quite impressive, but the last few days have posed quite a few problems. I had the audacity to watch back to back Massachusetts infused films with, "The Fighter," and then "The Town." What the %$# was I thinkin? When I awoke yesterday morning, I began mentally planning my day...IN A BOSTON ACCENT!!! It's not pretty and there's no way to make it pretty. They say the "F" word....A LOT! Like every otha fecken wehrd! Ahviusly, I can't wahk aroun da house using da language, so all my thoughts were in Bostonian. I was so ready to wash my brain out with soap!!

There was a little girl in my son's kindergarten class from "Bahston." It was so cute (okay, not so much) to hear her speak. Her grandmother was her guardian and we would often talk while waiting for the children to get out of school. I found her mildly entertaining even though her choice of words made me blush. (Okay, they didn't until she spoke that way in front of her grandchild, who didn't even wince, by the way.) The hypocritical Southern Belle that I am, limits my "free speech" to the confines of my own home and most certainly out of the earshot of children! So imagine my fecken surprise when this grandmother turned to my precious and well mannered little charmer and said, "I told youse to stahp wit dat ma'am shit! Geez, ya makin' me feel old, youse ahr!" To which I replied, "Ah youse fecken kiddin' me?! He's fihve, an naht yit able ta decipha a Yankee ahccent. Alls he knows at dis point is whut I teach him, and thaht is to be resepctfahl to all youse!"

Notice how I took on her accent? I don't just do it with movies, I do it with people as well. I'm a communication chameleon. It's so annoying! If I'm around my Georgia friends, I'm suddenly Dolly Parton. If I'm around my Cajun friends, I suddenly emerged from "down da bayah" (that's bayou for you coonass challenged folks). But quite possibly the funniest story is when I used to speak to my best friend's maid, who was from Central America, in broken English....just like she did.

One day my brother was in town and we stopped by my friend's house and no one was home but the maid. We sat down to visit with her for a bit and when we left, my brother was quick to point out the havoc I wreaked on her ears when I spoke "that" way. Here she is, after all, trying to understand and learn English and I'm saying things like, "Ms. Connie, you no eat lunch today?" or "You get paper, I write Ms. Linda note."  I thought I was doing her a favor speaking to her the way she spoke to me and probably would have continued to do it forever until my brother pointed out that what she was hearing, perhaps, sounded a lot like Pig Latin. I never spoke to her again in anything other than my own "language." Sometimes it would make me giggle wondering if she wondered whatever happened to my accent.

I started writing this yesterday and had to stop, sign into Netflix and stream another movie in order to lose the last accent. I was so happy when one of the first character's in the film I had chosen had the strongest Irish brogue I'd heard in quite sometime. 'Twas music ta me ears! The fecken curse had been lifted. Aye! NOT that I have anythin a'tall against Boston, mind ye! Ahs a mahter o'fact, me faverit baseball team is the Boston Red Sox and on me Buhkit List at number 5 is ta watch the Sox beat tha Yanks at Fenway Park!

May ye live as long as ye want and never want as long as ye live,
The Paper Whisperer


john bord said...

chuckling as i roll down the stairs...

The Paper Whisperer said...

"Roll down the stairs?" You mean, like a slinky? Now, *that's* funny! :D

Anonymous said...

Hey, this is hilarious! It would be interesting to do a survey on this to see to how many people this occurs. I know for myself I do the same. It is particularly embarrassing when I speak with someone who is gay & I start to talk with a lisp. I got the cajun accent don pat...main yea cher. I can do spanglish okay too but da bostanian one maybe not so good!