Symptoms of becoming British

This article was published in our bimonthly satire issue: The Zircon.

The Right Honourable Reverend Doctor Lydiar—Staff Writer

I’ve gone in too deep.

I am becoming a British academic.

Help me.

It began when I was suddenly physically incapable of saying words that end with “a” without adding an “r.” I’ve been introducing myself as Lydiar from Minnesotar or Iowar since mid-September. Three weeks ago, I asked for a white tea when I wanted tea with milk. Last Tuesday, I sprouted a foot-long professorial beard and a monocle (which appears to be permanently adhered to my eye socket). I’ve been declining ever since.

A highly dignified self portrait

I thought I was fitting in well, but it transpires that I fit in too well. They think I am one of them. And they won’t let me leave. They made me an MP. They ordained me into the Church of England. They granted me a D. Phil. for my thesis on naturalistic morality in the early Postmodern Era (which I have no recollection of writing, by the way. But I must’ve, and since Wednesday I’ve also published three books on the topic. Stay tuned for my second doctoral thesis, which is apparently on the impact popular acceptance of Schleiermacher’s new religion had on the Anglo-Norman conception of eschatology. Don’t ask).

I find myself unable to leave my flat—they say “flat” here; I say “flat” here—without first donning my tweeds, a woolen jumper, and a cap. The monocle truly will not come off. I have taken up smoking a pipe, in spite of all I learned in Cancer Biology last autumn. I subsist exclusively on tea and Jaffa cakes. I think traveling farther than 30 minutes is an implausibly long journey. I call Europe “the Continent.” I think that 3 degrees Celsius is unbearably cold. For entertainment, I pace around the perimeter of Oxford with my hands clasped behind my back, pondering the metaphysics of nothingness and the chances that Oxford will beat Wilberfordshire in the next cricket match. I sing Rule Britannia in the bath.

It is unlikely that my transformation can be reversed at this point. I suspect that an over-large helping of sweet potato casserole and Jell-O salad eaten while wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt emblazoned with a bald eagle may help diminish the size of my beard slightly, so, if you could see your way to sending these items in the post, I would be eternally grateful. The beard is terribly inconvenient when one is attempting to tie a bow-tie.

Farewell, friends.

Enjoy your lives.

God save the Queen.

 

disclaimer.april27,1995

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