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    Accentuating The Problem

    | Bend, OR, USA | Language & Words

    (My entire family emigrated from the UK a few years ago. My father and I got together for coffee over the weekend and another customer heard us speaking. In the UK cigarettes are called ‘fags’.)

    Father: “How’s kicking the habit going, alright then?”

    Me: “Well, mostly, been a few months, but I still have days where I’m just gagging for a fag.”

    Customer: “Excuse me! What did you just say?”

    Me: (I adopt my American accent.) “I’m sorry, ma’am, its a really long story. I just meant to say that I do still have cigarette cravings every now and again.”

    Customer: “Wait, what just happened to your voice?”

    Me: “Again, long story, but I can change my accent as needed.”

    Customer: “I’m calling the cops! You’re one of those terrorists! You’re going to blow this place up!”

    (At this point, she’s dialing her phone, screaming at fellow patrons to get out, screaming at the management to subdue me, on and on.)

    Manager: “What seems to be the problem here?”

    Customer: “He’s a terrorist. He has an accent!”

    Manager: “I’m not sure I understand.”

    Customer: “Just talk to him, you’ll understand.”

    Manager: “You have an accent?”

    (At this point, I go back to my native accent.)

    Me: “Well, yes, actually, I was born in Manchester.”

    Manager: *in a perfect Liverpudlian accent* “Bloody Manc! Ma’am please calm down, he’s not a terrorist.”

    Customer: “More of you!” *runs out of the store*