Thursday, February 04, 2010

Am I the Consumate Doppleganger?

Perhaps I am the perfect imitator, a doppleganger in every season of my life.  Maybe there are aliens on this world like those who populated the planet before the coming of the V, and they have been trying to take my place since I was in Junior High School.

In 7th grade, a cute little middle school girl followed me at a distance ohing and ahing because she had a crush on Danny Bonaduce from the Partridge Family.  I guess I looked a lot like Danny Partridge, freckled and curly headed, so she had a crush on me too.  I never even found out her name - silly me.

In High School "Young Frankenstein" came out in the movie theaters.  My wild curly hair, my thin mustache, and the fact that I looked significantly older than my 15 years made me a shoe in for Gene Wilder, and students I didn't even know would shout at me and tell me I looked like Young Frankenstein.

Shortly thereafter Peter Sellers' Pink Panther series was running through its remakes in 1975, 1976, 1978, 1982, and 1983.  First I started hearing from High School mates, and then the following years at Palomar College that I looked like Inspector Clouseau.  Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately I could imitate the crazy accent flawlessly, and girls at college would stop me to show their friends that I looked and sounded like Inspector Clouseau.

A few years later a Russian comedian made the big time in the US, and once again I was accused of looking like another TV personality.  Standing in a room at the gym by myself one day a girl shouted from the door, "Yakov, Yakov is that you!?"  At this first encounter with the name, I had to visit the bookstore and find a book with a picture of Yakov Smirnoff, famous for the "Vat a country!" line.  Finding a picture of him standing in the middle of the street in New York City I coould easily have been fooled into thinking it was me.

Finally we come to today.  I have now become a suit!  Beginning about 15 years ago while I was still living in Oceanside, CA George Zimmer, owner of the Men's Wearhouse began to do his own commercials for his company.  I was an instant George Zimmer doppleganger.  At the time I ran an open mic at Joe's Garage, a coffeehouse on the corner El Camino Real and Oceanside Blvd.  A group of young guys walked in one day and asked if I was the guy from the Men's Wearhouse.  I said, in George Zimmer stunted and stiff fashion (he has since taken acting lessons and is pretty relaxed and cool today) "I guarantee it."  For a couple months these kids would bring their friends to the coffeehouse to meet the guy from the Men's Wearhouse running the open mic.  I never told them otherwise, I simply replied "I guarantee it." whenever they asked if it was true.

So during the current Facebook Doppleganger session, this is my confession - I am the ultimate doppleganger.  If I am not then I have been doppleganged throughout my whole life.  These are just the major dopplegang characters.  There are a few more minor characters whose names I can never remember.

Of course, these guys all have two things in common:  Wild hair and big noses.  I guess wild haired, big nosed guys all look alike.

This could really lead to a personality disorder, or at the least a mild complex of insignificance.


Stephen said...

How does one spell "Doppelgänger" Phil? *smiles* Interesting read nonetheless.

Steve Hayes said...

Have you read Dostoevsky's novel, "The double"?

They're coming to get you. I guarantee it.