Several years ago, I went into CVS and ran into someone I have known for as long as I have lived in Suffield.
I said hello, and he proceeded to talk to me at great length about … gravesites. Confused, I told him that I had no idea what he was talking about. He did a double-take and said “Oh my God. I thought you were someone else.”
“Wait,” I shot back. “What’s his name?”
You see, for many years now, I have been told I have a double in town.
It all started one morning when I was walking into Dunkin Donuts. A person whom I have never met gave me an enthusiastic hello. I returned the salutation, perhaps a little cautiously. Later, he came up to me, made his apologies and said he thought I was someone else.
More mysterious greetings came my way. I’m not always the greatest guy when it comes to remembering people, but it was getting a little disconcerting. Were these the early signs of dementia?
You can imagine my relief when a woman, who coincidently is an identical twin, asked me, “Do you have a brother in town?” “No, why?” It was then that I knew I had my own living doppelgänger in Suffield.
Time went by, and more greetings came.
It wasn’t until I bumped into my longtime acquaintance at CVS that I finally had a name.
I tracked my double’s digital footprints online. I was impressed. He’s actively engaged in a number of civic, educational and volunteer ventures. He’s also a bit of a writer. In short, my virtual twin was getting it done.
Personally, based on the photos I’ve seen, I don’t think we look that much alike. But, it doesn’t matter what I think.
Whether we like it or not, we and our actions are not only judged individually but by whatever we are perceived to represent. If I wear a Suffield shirt and start behaving boorishly at the Westfarms Mall, I not only make myself look bad, but everyone in this town. If we value our school, community or even unknown look-alikes, we are going to take care on how we represent them.
You and my double will be relieved to know that despite my general irritability, I do my best to behave.
But, for all I know, my virtual twin might be hearing from confused readers who assume he’s writing under a pen name and ask “Why are you always so cranky in the Observer?”
Sorry, buddy. I do the best I can.