Foreign Accent Syndrome

Posted on May 5, 2011


I have just been informed of something out there that is waiting to strike me down.  Along with global warming, snakehead fish, killer bees, the IRS, and Donald Trump, I now fear FOREIGN ACCENT SYNDROME.  According to the Today Show, Karen Butler, a woman from Oregon (Oregon, for god’s sake) went in for routine oral surgery and came out with a heavy Irish accent.  Now, when people ask her where she is from (people from Oregon are nosy, like that) and she says “Oregon,”they think she is saying “Ireland.” 

Foreign Accent Syndrome is triggered by a stroke that can occur under sedation.  It can strike at any time, anywhere. It places no value on one’s educational level or inherent goodness. It doesn’t spare grandmothers. Even short, defenseless grandmothers. 

I am now terrified to go under sedation.  I spent well over a year getting rid of my Philly accent.  I practiced saying RAY-dee-ay-tor instead of  RAH-dee-ay-tor, bagel instead of beggle, dog instead of dawg, library instead of liberry, “I’m going to get coffee at the mall” instead of “I’m gonna get cawfee at the mawl.”  Most important, I learned to say “Our team is the Eagles” instead of “Are team is the Iggles.”    

After countless hours of practice, I had achieved a vague, not-quite-identifiable Northeast Coast Accent. I liked to keep people guessing. But some things die hard. When John Kerry ran for President, I literally couldn’t pronounce his name. Now Husband Dan went wild. He kept yelling, “The Democratic Presidential candidate is NOT an Indian food product!”  The best I could do after awhile was to say “Keh-Ree” very very slowly.  And then, Kerry went and lost.  All my work down the drain.

 I know me. If I did get Foreign Accent Syndrome, I wouldn’t come out with an accent that was high class English.  I’d get Cockney.  And it wouldn’t be French. It would be Northern Jersey. Or Pennsylvania Dutch. Or Doolbung.  Or an accent from one of my previous lives, like being a fishmonger in Dublin.  

 To make matters even worse,the Today Show then said that strokes like this can also cause people to no longer recognize faces, even of their spouses or children. So I would have some awful accent and I wouldn’t know who anyone was.

So yih can’t tawk, and yih can’t reccannize anyone.  Vurry, vurry bad.

Posted in: commentary, humor, satire