A few weeks ago, I was taking a walk by my house and a random lady started yelling, “Jenny! Jennnnnyyyyyy!” from her porch. I looked around to find this Jenny character she was getting so excited about, but I was the only one on the street. “Jeeeeeeeeeenny!” she yelled again, waving her hands madly to get my attention. I just shrugged and shook my head in what I hoped was an “I’m not Jenny” sort of way, and kept walking. Huh, I thought, that was weird.
Then, at the airport last week, I noticed a middle-aged couple staring at me intently from across the terminal. I sidled up a little closer, leaning against a decorative plant to improve my eavesdropping abilities. I heard the woman say to the man, “That looks EXACTLY like Jenny.” He squinted at me for a second. “Oh my God,” he whispered. “It does!” My plane started boarding before I could ask them what has suddenly become the definitive question of my life: Who is Jenny?
So now I’m appealing to you directly, doppelganger Jenny. Who are you? What are your intentions? Does your hair get oily as easily as mine? Are your legs that awkward length just between the petite and regular inseams? Have random people been screaming, “Winona! Winoooonnnaaaa!” at you when you walk around Portland, or am I not as popular as you?
My friend Mike also has a doppelganger. He found out because his friends kept telling him, “I thought it was you until I saw the leather jacket.” Mike’s not really a leather jacket kind of guy, but now he’s worried that people who don’t know him very well might glance across the street at Other Mike, and think, “I guess Mike is a leather jacket guy now.” This story made me laugh, and then it made me realize the potential damage a doppelganger can do–reputation destruction far beyond leather jackets. I mean, you’re out there with my face. What are you doing with my face? Are you trafficking drugs or inciting a political revolution, confident I’ll be the one to take the fall? Or are you doing something much worse, like going to restaurants in my neighborhood and not tipping?
There’s a barista at a coffee shop near my house who always seems legitimately angry whenever I come in. Like, he’s not just grumpy in general (as a lifelong Portlander I could write a nuanced field guide of the habits of grumpy baristas), he really acts like it’s specifically my existence that’s offending him. All this time I’ve been wondering why he would be so mad about the way I politely order a vanilla latte and hand him money, but now I wonder: are you the one to blame? Have you been going in there and starting fires in trashcans and talking about how Starbucks has a superior dark roast? Way harsh, Jenny. Way harsh.
There’s a clear next step to our relationship, Jenny: a fight to the death, preferably at sunset on a cliff. I’m sorry if that seems harsh, but movie law dictates that only one of us can live with this face. May the best doppelganger win.
Goodbye, and good luck.