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  • Writer's pictureBYU Divine Comedy

England or Bust

Writer's block is the most unifying evil of the human race. When it's time to write, a universal phenomenon occurs: literally everything is more important. Mowing the lawn, brushing teeth, walking on hot coals, you name it. It's all more enticing and suddenly imperative. But here I go anyway. I'm Kenny, this is my third year in DC and I am SUPER excited for our 20th anniversary this year! That's right! Twenty years of Divine Comedy! (I'm also crazy excited that it's October. Halloween folks! The stores are selling costumes and pumpkins: magical time of the year!) I'm starting my first year as a law student at BYU, which has been kind of a crazy experience. For example, I did a rap performance with one of my professors in class today. Law school wasn't what I thought it'd be. Being in a new school situation reminds me of my very first year at BYU. I was particularly nervous because, my family being from California, I didn't know anyone else coming to BYU. It was like jumping into a void of university-ness and on-my-own experience-ness. I hadn't even met my roommate, apart from the email he sent asking me to "please switch rooms with his friend." (Great introduction right? I definitely declined.)  Looking at this opportunity, I got a crazy idea. I decided to prank my roommate. I thought, "What if for 30 days I pretend to have an English accent, and then, on day 31, I take down the Union Jacks in my room and put up surf posters?" Before I knew it I was practicing with my dad (an actual English native) and polishing the routine. As we were unpacking my room at Heritage Halls, my bishop walked in to introduce himself. I froze. I certainly hadn't considered all of the collateral situations my accent prank would require. Pretend to have an accent with my bishop? My professors? New friends? To pull off my practical joke I'd have to live a lie for a month. Was I ready for---- I didn't have time to decide. My dad cut my thoughts off and introduced himself in the charming Oldham accent he remembered from boyhood. "I'm Brother Baldwin. It's a pleasure." The bishop took the bait. In a week's time, I was known all over as the English guy who plays the guitar. Before I knew it the reputation followed me everywhere. People loved to hang out. Girls seemed interested in me. People are shallow! Suddenly, because you have an accent, doors straight up open! I kid you not there was a Facebook group called "Kenneth Baldwin Rocks My Socks Off!!!" (Please don't search for it, there are pre-mustache photos on there). When it came time to switch back to normal, I was in too deep. Even if I wanted to stop, I had faked the accent so long I could hardly control it anymore. I did my best to just let it filter out, blaming Americanisms and any accent lapse on my constant exposure to everybody else. I'm sure there were people who grew suspicious but I can only remember one time that anyone actually ever asked me if it was real. I chose a couple close friends to confide my secret in, and, since I hung out with them so often, things got easier. It went on an entire school year. Two semesters. And on my last Sunday at school before break, my bishopric asked me to give a talk in church. The opportunity was too perfect. On the fateful Sunday I stood up and bared my scheme to the ward. When I blurted out, "I have a confession to make…" I could feel the bishop sweating behind me. (Huge confession at the pulpit = bishop's worst nightmare). But, when I said, "I never had an accent…" a hush fell over the room. I recognized angry faces, surprised faces, shocked faces… My roommates were floored.  This is still probably one of the crazier ideas I've ever had. I must be some type of crazy. Who fakes an accent his whole freshman year at BYU? For the record, my bishop thought it was totally awesome. He wasn't mad at all. See you all at the show! And please, if you have any crazy things you've done, do share below to help me feel better about myself. I am evil.  Cheers.


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