The Great Pretender
I love accents. Who doesn’t, right? I have to be careful, however, because when I’m talking to someone with a strong accent, I have a bad habit of talking like they do. It’s not something done on purpose; well, not all of the time, and I never mean to be rude. Yet, it happens and before I know it I sound like the Indian man in Short circuit spouting “I’m standing here beside myself” or a James Bond wannabe. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could pull any of these accents off, but my British voice sounds Irish which sounds like a homeless man in Boston. It’s really quite pitiful.
One time, I caught myself imitating a person’s stutter. I know. I’m going to Hell. In my defense, I had never heard this man stutter before and I had worked closely with him for several years. We were in a meeting and once he finished talking he asked me to speak. It was then that he stuttered. I began speaking, but it was like a yawn. You know, when someone yawns and before you know it you’re yawning, as well? It was just like that. He stuttered and my brain said I had to stutter. So, I did. I kept talking, quickly, hoping no one would notice, but I felt like an idiot.
We’ve heard how some actors, when trying to get into character, will try to imitate who they are going to be, well, imitating. It’s their job to do that, to pretend they are someone else. Occasionally, I will toy with doing the same for a character I am writing. I want to think like they would for awhile, so I try to imitate who I think they are. It’s a great exercise once in awhile, but as I said, that’s part of the job, a trick of the trade. It’s not real and it’s not meant to define who we really are and determine our course of life.
Imitations are everywhere - clothing, foods, even flowers. Imitation sugar may sweeten your tea, but it’s not as tasty as the real thing. It may be fun pretending to be someone else for awhile, but it’s always better to be who you really are, the true you, no imitations.
I’ve seen people do this, imitate other people, and it saddens me. Not impersonate, now. There is a difference between pretending to be someone and turning yourself into them. One may be a compliment; the other is just a pathetic shame. Yet, they do it. They see someone living a life they want and so they start adopting their mannerisms and habits. It’s almost a stalking kind of envy. It always creeps me out when I see someone dressing like me or copying my bad habits.
Of course, the girls say the boys act quite similar to me and poor Nathan is a carbon copy of me in my younger days for which he has investigated plastic surgery and his wife cries at what’s to come. Yet, that’s genetics and can’t be helped. People who willingly choose to copy another’s personality traits are just weird.
There are hundreds of interesting people out there, but none more than you. Don’t waste your time trying to be someone else. Spend all of your time just being you and make it the best you can be. Don’t join someone else’s journey unless it’s your journey and even then, walk it your way. Imitation flowers may be pretty, but an imitation life is far from it. Don’t waste your days pretending to be another, taking their mannerisms and wearing them as a coat hiding the you that you were meant to be. Role play may be fun but it should always be kept on the stage or in the bedroom, not your day to day life.
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