I first encountered him at OSU, where I was a campus bartender and over time, became quite familiar to a lot of people. Hundreds and hundreds of people knew me by name, and so wherever I went, I usually ran into some of them. They’d say, “Hey Tom! What’s up?”
And I’d do the old, “Heyyyyyyy,” because although everybody knows the bartender, frequently the bartender doesn’t quite know everybody, especially the dudes. Mostly I just knew you by what you drank – what’s up Vodka Gimlet? How’s it going Long Island?
Apparently, everywhere Andy went, the same thing happened. Folks started coming up to me and saying things like, “Hey, man, what was your problem at that Primus show last night?”
And I’d say, “I wasn’t at the Primus show last night.”
And they wouldn’t believe me, because Andy was there, whoever he is or was, and he looked exactly like me. It turned out, Andy was a little bit rude, too. He would simply ignore people who came up to him and called him by the wrong name, and he’d glare at people who waved at him, people who thought they were waving at me.
Eventually a co-worker ran into him on High Street and was able to get his name. Apparently she ran up to him and said “Tom!” when he was on the phone, and then when he ignored her, she persisted, as was her way. Kept calling him Tom, hopping up and down, probably groped him a little bit – it was the nineties, we were all very free like that.
Speaking of the nineties, it was a pay phone, so Andy didn’t have the option of running away. Instead he had to say something like, “Hold on. Listen. I’m not Tom, my name is Andy, and I’m getting pretty tired of people running up to me and calling me Tom.”
Like that’s anyone’s fault but his – how about you stop looking like me, tough guy?
So now that we all knew his name was Andy, it became a sort of running gag, chancing across him and enraging him by insisting that he was me. Follow him around, I’d encourage people. Ask for his autograph.
And it went on for quite some time before one day, I encountered him myself, walking down the street.
I am dead serious here – this guy looked like he stepped out of the mirror. He could have walked right into my mom’s house and made a sandwich.
And when I ran into him on the sidewalk, we were even dressed identically. Both of us were wearing green shirts, tucked into black jeans, black tennis shoes, the same kind of glasses, and two feet of hair.
I poked my hand at him to make sure he wasn’t a hologram, then I said, “You must be Andy.”
Andy gave me a look like you do when you realize you’re talking to a movie reviewer that you hate. “You got to be Tom,” he replied.
Don’t worry, I didn’t kill him. That was naturally my first thought – you meet your evil twin, you take him out. The universe must be in balance and every rose has its thorn and if there’s two of us then we each get half as much stuff. Screw that.
But I was more than a little bit concerned that sometime in the near future, I would commit a horrible crime and escape into the recent past using a time machine, and you can’t be too careful, the way technology’s racing along these days. You never know if your evil twin is really Future You.
No, I just told him he was super hot and that although I liked his clothes, if he were to wear practically anything else this wouldn’t happen so often, since I was wearing the only clothes I owned at the time. And he indicated that he wasn’t very amused by my suggestion, or interested in helping me out in that department and he went on his way. I never saw him again.
Over the years there has naturally been some debate over which of us is the evil twin. I do like to drink Coors beer, for instance, and I’m told that’s pretty evil. Also, I think it would surprise you how many different kinds of birds I’ve eaten. Did you know that when you grill quail they look like tasty little pixies?
But you know, my old pappy used to tell me a couple of things back when I was a wee pup, things like, “Son, don’t ever admit you’re evil” and “You have no idea how many kids I probably have out there, Tom. I’m like the Thomas Jefferson of the seventies. It would blow. Your. Mind.”
So that’s not a debate I participate in. Papa was a rolling stone, and all that.
Also, if Andy also has a mouth like mine, there is an excellent chance that someone has beat him to death by now. Sure.
But assuming he is still out there, I predict that very soon I will run afoul of my old nemesis once again – because Facebook is getting facial recognition software. It’s going to start recognizing faces for us, directing us to new and exciting pictures of our Facebook friends.
Pretty soon, Facebook’s going to do what everyone has always done. It’s going to spot a picture of Andy, and it’s going to ask me if it’s me. And I’m going to say, “Hell yeah that’s me, Facebook, thanks for asking.” Then I’m going to drop an old-fashioned cyber stalkin’ on him, and I would encourage you to do the same.
You can read all about Facebook’s spooky new facial recognition system – and more importantly, how to turn it off – right here.