Friday, July 16, 2010

Starving for International Stimulus

I own a polo-style shirt with a print of the St. George cross and the word "ENGLAND" emblazoned across the back. It is a gift from English friends who hoped that I would become a diehard English rugby fan, but alas my interaction with sport is still limited to the last game of the NBA finals. Now the shirt has become an indicator of my rural Midwest lifestyle.

I wear the shirt annually, and the last time was when I popped over to the Walgreens in Burlington, Iowa

A middle-aged man approached me begging conversation. We're not usually that forward here in the America's heartland, so I was surprised. It quickly became obvious that he was desperately hoping to hear my British accent. I really wanted to add color to his colorless life by obliging him with a Dick Van Dyke cockney-chimney-sweep impression ("evnin' Guvna"), or perhaps an impersonation of Alec Guiness*, but by the time I realized his wish it was too late to be sincere. So I was left to apologize for being born in the U.S.A. 

"Use the Force, Luke," or alternatively "I suppose if I were you... I'd have to kill myself," or my favorite, "Without law, Commander, there is no civilization."