Everyone has a doppelganger, or so we're told. I know I have at least one, we went to high school together.
Everyone kept telling me how much I looked like Sara (who was two years ahead of me) - strangers assumed we were sisters. I thought we looked similar - but not that much alike. And then one day, a teacher was playing a video of a school event - I saw myself in it and thought, "I don't remember being there." And I wasn't - it was Sara.
Sara now lives in Washington DC. She has a law firm, is married and has two boys. She runs marathons. We've remained in touch on Facebook, and believe it or not, just before I moved to Nashville, I saw an old French teacher from HS, and she thought I was Sara. We look less alike now - Sara is much thinner and wears her hair straight, though at a similar length. You could still make the case that we look like sisters, maybe cousins. If you were to put her, and my actual sister next to each other, most people would, I think, pick Sara as my relative.
But I have other doppelgangers. Someone once sent me a photo of a print ad that made her do a double-take. It made me do one as well. My print twin had a longer face, and the nose was a little different.
For years, my father had a photo from a newspaper of Bill Clinton speaking with a group of orthodox Jews in New York, and there in the center of it was my father's doppelganger. It was uncanny.
Some of our friends showed us a person online that looked like my husband's twin.
So, you know - we're just as unique as everyone else. Sort of.
But looks aren't everything. From time to time I will say or do something, and it's as though I'm channeling my Dad, or my grandmother, or sometimes Mom. As I like to say, what's in the cats is in the kittens.
I read that phrase in one of the best books I have ever read - it's by Tracy Kidder and it's called Among Schoolchildren. I received it as a Christmas present when I was still in High School, and thinking I'd go into education. Kidder spends a year with a classroom full of elementary school kids (I think 4th grade) in Boston. Their teacher is a native Bostonian, went to Mount Holyoke - and you can tell, she loves her students and loves teaching - even the hardest, most unlovable kids get to her.
There are two quotes that came out of that book - the first being the cats/kittens quote - it was her husband saying it - and I think it was in regards to meeting the parents of some of her students for the first time.
The second one has been useful to me for years, both in training and in life. It is:
"Never put a student in a position where, for the sake of his pride, he has to defy you."
To quote a co-worker of mine, "That's deep."
But it's true. Never back someone into a corner where they can't escape without doing damage to you both.
I haven't read the book in probably twenty years, but I remember that clearly.
My memory for detail is frustrating. I can remember details about things that really don't matter that much, but I walk out the door and can't remember if I locked it while I'm walking to the car. It's a challenge.
Speaking of memory, I remember why I got started on doppelganger talk to begin with.
There's this guy, Matt Gaetz - you may have heard of him, he's been in the news:
|Mr. Gaetz, if you're nasty. Photo courtesy: Reuters|