Thursday, June 2, 2011

And the Academy Award Goes to...

It's amazing how disillusioned I was as a child in terms of how convincing my acting skills were.  I never doubted that people believed any persona I adopted to be completely authentic.  I guess I just thought I was that good of an actress--I mean, my Grandma did always tell me that I was meant to be on stage.  But, I really think that it stemmed from my own gullibility.  believed everything that people told me, so why wouldn't it work the other way around?

And, speaking of being gullible, I must sidetrack momentarily to give my heartfelt thoughts on this subject.  Okay, so maybe I did believe my neighbor, Danny Stock, when he told me that Madonna was his girlfriend and that she lived in his house.  And, yes, I was traumatized by the belief that a mere tea ball was a torture device for chronic nose pickers.  But that does not mean that I am stupid--just trusting.  So it is unfair when your family and friends make up stories just to see if you will believe them.  Because you're supposed to believe your friends and family.  Situations like this once led me to not believe my parents for like three days when they told me they were pregnant with my brother, and that turned out to be true.  I learned that I cannot live like that.  I would rather be a trusting believer any day than a person who lives her life with suspicion and doubt.  (And, so what if I was voted "Most Gullible" in my class?  At least it never got published in the yearbook because the male recipient and myself were also voted "Most Likely to Get Lost in Our Town" so they combined the categories and dropped the gullible part.  Holla back, Clint "the Mint" Stutler.)

But, anyway, I was discussing my penchant for pretending to be someone other than myself, or a slightly modified version of myself.  For instance, my sister and I used to sometimes pretend that we were deaf and dumb sisters who could only communicate through sign language.  We didn't actually know sign language, but it just consisted of moving your hands and fingers around a lot, right?  On one particular day, there happened to be a long line at the post office where we were waiting with our Mom.  So we spent the whole time "speaking" to one another in "sign language."  And, we were convinced that people believed us.  As if our hand motions didn't look like those used by crazy baseball coaches.  As if our town weren't so small that all the other people in the post office didn't already know who we were.  And that we weren't actually deaf.  (I'm sure that a story of two adorable deaf sisters would have been pretty noteworthy in our town.)

This was not a phase that I grew out of quickly, as I was still doing things like this in junior high.  Once while my Mom was shopping in Denmark's, my friend Caryn and I devised a plan to entertain ourselves.  We would adopt accents and pretend that we were two sisters who just recently arrived as foreign exchange students from France.  This was most likely prompted by the exciting addition of French class to our school's curriculum.  First of all, I'm sure our French accents were mediocre at best.  Second, I can't speak for Caryn, but the only French I knew at the time amounted to "Bonjour. Je suis la maison grise," which  
translates to "Hello.  I am a gray house."  Not too useful.  And lastly, we looked almost nothing alike to be purporting to be sisters who weren't twins but were the same age.  Nevertheless, we chatted with a sales associate for about a half hour, completely convinced that she believed every word of what we were saying.  She was so nice and even asked us lots of questions.  She was probably just as bored as we were. 

Caryn and I in a different, non-French persona
I am beginning to believe that this trait is hereditary, as my two-year-old daughter, Sophie loves to pretend to be other people.  Nearly every day she dictates who we have to be.  "I'm John and you're Theresa," she told me last night.  And, if I forget and accidentally call her by her real name, she gets very testy with me.  But, my Mom reminds me that I did the exact same thing as a little girl.  I created the characters Sherry and Sherlene, myself being Sherry and my Mom being Sherlene, and if she got us mixed up, I was not happy.

"Okay, John," I reply to Sophie, "Let's go get a bath." 

She already thinks she's a good actress.

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