December 21, 2020 – Doppelganger

Has anyone ever confused you with somebody else? Let me explain. That was a tad vague. Has someone ever looked at you (that was not experiencing psychosis or hallucinations) and was so convinced that you were someone else, that they were willing to bet money on it? When you think about it, with a world that has 7.8 billion people, it’s not surprising at all. That’s a whole lot of humans! And how many variations of people can there possibly be? Most of us come equipped with eyes and a nose and lips and arms and legs and feet and hands and a whole bunch of different parts. In addition to that, you have to factor in the variations in eye color and skin color and hair color as well as height and body type. All things considered, it’s pretty easy to distinguish one human from another. But if you do the math, some people are just going to end up looking alike. It’s a matter of numbers and it’s inevitable.

And I’m not talking about twins. Of course, twins are going to look alike. They’re twins. And, yes, I know I should clarify because that was slightly misleading. Identical twins are going to look alike, at least in the beginning. They’re the result of when a fertilized egg splits or divides. They share the same DNA. Whereas with fraternal twins, not so much. Two eggs + two sperm = two completely different people that look nothing alike. That’s unless you’re comparing the Olsen sisters, Mary Kate and Ashley. They are actually fraternal twins but they look nearly identical. However, that’s a rare exception. And speaking of Mary Kate and Ashley, for the briefest period of time, my daughter looked exactly like them. When my daughter was 18 months old, she was the spitting image. But the resemblance was fleeting. The way kids constantly change and grow, it’s to be expected.

The reason I decided to write about this subject today was because I just finished watching ‘True Lies’ on Amazon. It’s a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. And I swear to you, Jamie Lee Curtis looks exactly like the wife of my last boss or vice versa. It’s uncanny! The shape of the eyes, the wavy, brown hair, the dimple in the chin, the tall, statuesque body, even the posture! They even sound similar. It is so bizarre!! One day I told her she looked just like Jamie Lee Curtis. It didn’t phase her much. She said she gets that a lot. Personally, I’m a little envious. If I had to be compared to anybody, I wouldn’t mind if it were someone like Ms. Curtis. She’s gorgeous! On a side note, if you want to watch ‘True Lies’ on Amazon, it’s only going to be available through the end of 2020.

One time, someone confused me with someone else. But it only happened once. And, no. I’m not a twin. At least, not that I’m aware of. Mom, is there something you haven’t told me? Anyway, when I was living in North Germany back in the mid-80s, someone on the base made an accusation. “I saw you the other day on such-n-such street,” they said. “I called out your name and said ‘hi’ and you looked directly at me and didn’t even acknowledge me.” “What day was it?” I asked. “Saturday,” they responded. “Which street did you say?” I then asked. Once they clarified the information, I thought back to the day they referenced. I was nowhere near there! I swear, I had an alibi! “It wasn’t me,” I assured them. “If it was me, I would have definitely waved back. But I was home that day. I didn’t even leave my apartment on Saturday.” And I meant it. If someone had waved at me, I would have waved back. That definitely was not me!

As I said, it makes sense. Especially because I’m of German descent and I was living in Germany at the time. I was in a foreign country, but I was amongst ‘my’ people, people with common ancestors. If you’re among those of similar heritage, the odds are going to go way up that you are (or someone else is) going to bump into your very own doppelganger. I wish I had had an opportunity to meet her. I think it would have been wild to meet my look-alike! What I find fascinating is how much the resemblance to someone can change with one minor tweak of a feature, especially when it’s on the face. As an artist, you really notice things like that. You can draw a near-perfect representation of someone but if you make the slightest blunder, most specifically with the eyes, it can look like another person altogether.

Speaking of mixing people up, have you ever mistaken someone for somebody else? I’ve done that once (or twice). I felt like such a dummkopf after I realized what I had done! I was actually at work and seated at my desk. A lady with blond, shoulder length hair entered the building. She had light skin, an ordinary face and was of medium height. Aside from that, she didn’t have any features that really stood out, but I ‘recognized’ her at once! “Hello!” I said enthusiastically. “How have you been? I was just thinking of you!” “Oh?” she said rather timidly. “That’s nice.” And then I started talking about her son and blah, blah, blah and her face went blank. I noticed the change in her face right away. Her smile faded and her brow furrowed. I also noticed how quickly she exited the building. And then it dawned on me! Oh, crap! Oops!

Oh my gosh! What an idiot I am! I completely mixed her up with another blond lady. No wonder she acted ‘funny’ when I brought up her son. She didn’t have a son. I wish I could tell you that I wasn’t wearing my glasses at the time so I had an excuse, but I actually was wearing them. I just saw both of the women so infrequently that I ended up mixing them up. And I really felt like a jack*ass. It’s not the first time that I’ve had ‘open mouth, insert foot’ syndrome. And I can guarantee, it won’t be the last. My vision has gotten much worse since then, even with my glasses on. I mentioned before that I was convinced a couple of months ago that there was a strange dog in our backyard (or was it a cat in the neighbor’s yard?). Turns out, it was a pile of leaves.

And it’s not just me! Thank goodness!! I have a very dear friend that does the same thing. I love it when she’s around because I don’t feel like such a knucklehead since she does it, too. And it cracks me up when she starts talking to someone that she thinks is someone else. I love to watch their face(s)! It’s quite entertaining!! My girlfriend often starts with, “Hey! How are you?” I do the same thing because half the time I cannot remember people’s names. But the best part is she’ll immediately launch into something that they clearly have no memory of and this is apparent by the puzzled expression on their face(s). The giveaway is when she finally says their name and they realize (with obvious relief) that she has mixed them up with another person. Their usual response? “I’m sorry. You’ve mistaken me for somebody else.” I L-O-V-E IT!

Has any of this ever happened to you? I cannot be the only knucklehead out there! Say it isn’t so!! If it hasn’t, give it time. As you get older and your memory starts to fade, chances are it’ll happen. I’m almost willing to bet money on it. It happens to my mom nearly every single day. But her mix-ups are mostly attributed to Alzheimer’s, something which I’ll likely end up with since my mother, her mother and her mother’s mother have all had it. Yippee. Can’t wait. Until then, I’m going to try and keep those neurons firing as best I can and try to stave off the inevitable. You keep yours firing, too! Use it or lose it, that’s what they say. Now I’m going to wrap this up and wish you a good day. Many blessings to you, my friends!

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