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Jeremy Bassett’s 5-year-old niece, Olivia, and her best friend, Claire, were participating in a nativity play at school. Claire was playing Mary, and Olivia was an angel.

Before the show, a young boy was going around the dressing room repeating, "I’m a sheep, what are you?" Each child responded politely, including Olivia, who proudly declared she was an angel.

The boy then turned to Claire, still struggling into her costume with her mother’s help, and repeated the question to her: "I’m a sheep, what are you?"

Claire simply said, "I’m Mary."

Realizing he was face to face with a lead character, he felt he needed to justify his own role. "It’s hard being a...

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