Before you get all indignant at the suggestion that you might be something of a pretender, give the question some serious thought before answering.
Truth is, most of us have done a little reality bending when it comes to our very own identities.
For example, when I was a child a bus ride in my home town cost a nickel if you were below the age of 12. After your 12th birthday, it jumped to 15 cents. I must confess that for a year or two after my 12th birthday, I rode for a nickel. So, if my parents had given me 30 cents for a round-trip, the difference between what I was supposed to pay and what I actually paid subsidized more than one cherry-filled bismark and bag of penny candy.
I’ll bet many of you have done the same sort of fudging to get into bars, buy alcohol or cigarettes or to qualify for a price break of some kind because of your slightly miscalculated age. I know of grandmothers today who, as girls too young to dance on American Bandstand, stuffed tissue into their bras to get past the doormen at WFIL-TV in Philadelphia.
Sometimes we go a bit further such as the time a friend and I passed ourselves off as touring rock musicians to a waitress in a small-town restaurant. Fortunately, we weren’t required to prove our musical skills so we managed to carry off the charade effectively for some time.
I believe the examples I’ve offered are harmless enough to not materially affect my own personal history, though they do add a certain texture to it. In some families, however, it could be a serious matter, particularly when an altered identity is used to mask criminal activity or out of fear.
In any case, it’s a good question to explore as you work on any family history project.
Writing prompt of the day: Identify the times you or your family members have pretended to be someone else.
Flickr photo courtesy of exfordy.