27 March 2014


by Eve Fisher

File:Number 12.JPG
"Number 12 Looks Just Like You"
One of the things about living in a small rural town is that pretty much everyone looks alike.  When I first moved up here, I wrote to my friends back east and said, "There are two ethnic types in this town, and I'm one of them."  Exaggerated, but close.  In a town of 90% Norwegian/German/Dutch/Swedish/Danish with blond hair and blue eyes, let's just say that I stand out a bit.  But you know, I think I'd rather stand out that look like everyone else.  There was an old Twilight Zone show called "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", where everyone picks one of a handful of faces...  well, I have sat many times in groups where there are three or four people who looked so much alike it was hard to say who was who.  Between large families, intermarriage among cousins, etc., it happens. I don't know what they think about it - but I'm not sure I'd like it.

But perhaps I feel a little uneasy because they're all in the same town.  I've run into look-alikes before: there's a cousin who looks just like Bob Bainborough (Dalton on The Red Green Show).  There's a guy here in town who looks like Kenny Rogers used to before his plastic surgery.  I ran into a guy at the pen recently who looked remarkably like Axl Rose.  Years ago I was working at a 7-11 in Georgia, and a guy who looked like Lee Majors (6 Million Dollar Man) tried to pick me up.

Of course, there's more to it than looks.  Or is there?  If someone looks like someone else, do you expect them to behave like that person?  Sometimes, yes.   And if they act like someone else...  well.  Miss Marple was always watching people, and thinking how so-and-so had a weak chin, or a direct stare, or a nervous twitch, and from there reminisce about someone back in St. Mary Meade who did something bad, or were on the receiving end of the same...  and history would repeat itself.  And I think she was (largely) right.

I do this all the time.  I know a meth twitch when I see one.  (Along with the skin sores and bad teeth.)  And there's also the liar's look:  Agatha Christie nailed it, the person who looks you straight in the eye without wavering. But if you look at their neck/chin/shoulders, they're braced and ready for someone to ask them questions...

We've all heard the person who tells you the story of his/her life at such speed and length that it takes you a while to put together the complexity of it and realize that it never could have happened.  They're lying about at least half of it, if not all of it, which would indicate that they are untrustworthy about other things as well.

There's the guy (sorry to be sexist, but these are mostly young men) who's always bragging about how tough he is, and you know, know, know that down deep he is scared s--tless.  Which also means, he is very dangerous, but mostly because when he is pushed up against a wall, he will either (1) run at the wrong time, leaving whoever's around in danger or (2) react violently, but in such an inexpert way that whoever's around is more apt to be injured than the source of danger.  I get away from these guys as quickly as I can. Thankfully, these days I usually only run into them in controlled environments.

The super-complimentary, women or men, sloshing sugar all over the place, are always, always, always up to something.  If nothing else, they're trying to be your friend without giving anything but compliments.

And, of course, the classic predator:  attentive, adhesive, encircling, gradually eliminating anyone and anything else but themselves, until they and they alone are the only person in their victim's life.

They might not all look alike, but they act alike...  Every time...


  1. Eve, you've given us some interesting (and true) observations this morning. So far as a guy who looked like Lee Majors trying to pick you up, he actually did pick up a friend of mine here in Columbia years ago, so who knows? Perhaps he was the real thing. I'll remember your tells for use in writing...and real life.

  2. Some years ago my family went to Key West on vacation. Unbeknownst to me we arrived there on the first day of their annual Hemmingway festival, when all of these Hemmingway lookalikes show up and run down Duval Street in front of running cows (bulls being too much of a challenge for elderly white haired guys.) Anyway, with my beard everyone assumed I was there for the contest. My kids were rolling on the sidewalks laughing when people kept coming up to me on the street and asking me to sign copies of The Old Man and the Sea.

    BTW, I also still get comments in the grocery store that run like this: "Has anyone ever told you you look like Kenny Rodgers?"

  3. Maybe he really was Lee Majors... At the time I thought he was a bit creepy. Oh, and my husband is the dead spit of Willie Nelson. Seriously. We've had people follow us when we were in Austin.

  4. I had a somewhat opposite experience when I was stationed in Germany many years ago. They did not live up to my expectations as a blonde and blue-eyed people, but were just as often (if not more so) dark-haired and brown-eyed.

    My brothers and I are all so different looking that people rarely realize we are even related. I have been assured that we all shared the same father, though I have my doubts about the other two, as they lack both my charm and beauty. They have expressed reciprocal feelings.

  5. The only time I ever felt really out of place was in the Far East. Everybody--I mean EVERYbody--was shorter and had darker hair.

    My wife and I, our three kids, and all six grandchildren have blue eyes, and six of the eleven of us are blond. Most of us are told we look alike, but I can't really see it. (The kids' three spouses are even blue-eyed, but I doubt that was planned.)

  6. My friend said he turned out to be creepy.
    When I was in college, people kept thinking I worked in the undergraduate library. I always used the graduate library but one day I went over there to see. Sure enough, the red-head behind the counter and I had a strong resemblance. She asked, "Are you Fran?" I replied that I was and she said people kept calling her my name and asking if she wanted to go dancing. (I was a dancing fool in college.)
    As we talked, she said she was from Sumter, SC, about an hour's drive from Columbia. My mother had relatives in Sumter, so we
    narrowed the situation and discovered we were second or third cousins who'd never met before.

  7. There was a small town in the backwoods about twenty miles from Ft. Bragg (REALLY SMALL town) in which everyone seemed to have common characteristics, and birth defects were obviously rampant. We always suspected the intermarriage had been a bit too close.

    During her last pregnancy, my wife’s OBGYN was the spitting image of Tom Selleck. When he walked out of the exam room, after our first meeting, she turned to me and said, “Wow! It’s Magnum M.D.!” I got a real kick out of my straight-laced, church-going sister-in-law’s response. When we told her, her eyes opened wide in excitement and she blurted: “And he’s your gynecologist? AWESOME!”

    I thought your insight was fascinating!

    Thanks for a great post.


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