"Pass the Banger"

"A banger. What's it look like?"
Some kids don't have to discover their heritage, growing up in homes of a rich cultural background, but for all us undifferentiated white American folk, when discovering our heritage for the first time, it's like finding Jesus or doing whatever Tom Cruise did on that couch. For three years, I had another boy thinking that not only was I English, but that I was born and raised in England ... a land out of my imagination, still stuck in the Industrial Revolution, where children worked in the millworks with those high stockings considered so "dashing."

Now for some reason there was no question about where the accent went in those three years, and the more he seemed to dimwittedly believe the fabrication, the more stuff I pulled out of my you-know-where to tickle his curiosity. My life was too humdrum on its own anyways, so I was just adding some spice. After all, being to this boy's house and experiencing how his family all spoke Portuguese and had all these interesting practices, foods, and belongings, made mine seem so ordinary and American that they could have used a little sprinkling at times.

So this rumor spread to other kids in the school, and when questioned I'd stay in character to the bitter end. Yes, in my country they've never seen square headlights (don't ask), and in my country they call erasers "rubbers," and sausages are "bangers" (they liked me using that word). And I'd purposely embarrass myself on numerous occasions asking for the "crisps" when pointing to the potato chips at a party. I think the worst was admitting that my snack time tapioca was instead some special English "Sunday pudding."

Well, this carried on for a good three years, from third to fifth grade, when this other boy, my best friend by then, actually broached the subject with my mom, "so you were born in england?" Cue bomb blast. The second he asked that, I got up and left the playground without a word. There was no going back in there now--that would have me turning to salt. We stayed friends for a time, but never talked about it again.

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