Folklorists and the writers of the sitcom How I Meet Your Mother would have us believe that everyone has a doppelganger, a twin of some sort -- most likely of the evil or Bizarro Superman variety.
I, dear friends, found mine. And of this I’m pretty certain: I’m the bizarro one.
Let’s climb into the WayBack Machine to when I started this monument to my lack of employment four years ago. After I came up with my blog’s name, I Googled the word “uncool” for shots and gargles (that would be gin and Listerine to hide smell of said gin). A link came up to this book:
I bought it and packed it between my boxer briefs and allergy meds for a read on our family vacation to the Dominican Republic. That’s when I REALLY bought it.
“My Love,” I recall saying through a haze of sunscreen and Presidente beer. “I am not alone.”
I was so entranced with these tales of a guy once hip enough to write for Rolling Stone who now found himself in salmon-colored pants hacking up golf courses, hiring cleaning ladies and catering to his needy dog that I even gave it a place of honor in my original blog banner:
A few years later after I compiled all my blogging wealth (via My Love’s paychecks) and Internet fame (cue chirping crickets), I still felt the need to allude to that um, a – ah, er – source of inspiration:
A few months ago, tucked among the PR pitches for the organic, free-range baby butt wipes (the kind Tori Spelling’s kiddies prefer!) and the come-ons about how I could better satisfy my wife (“Learn to fold towels properly! In 3 EZ payments!), came this email:
“Dan Zevin (@danzevin) is now following you on Twitter!”
… was his work.
(Note that this is the first known online photo of me in glasses. The real question is this: Is it the first of me without pants?)
Dan wisely didn’t answer me right away. However, his publicist did.
That is how I ended up interviewing Dan Zevin about his new book Dan Gets a Minivan for DadCentric, which you can read by clicking that link. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Not like I have a job to get to.
The most important parts of that interview, at least to me, didn’t make the article. Those are the ones in which I confirmed Dan is my slightly older, Jewish twin who lives in the frickin’ county next to me:
- We agree that the minivan is the ultimate man machine. “I'm at the point now that when the kids leave, they go off to college or get married, I'm keeping the minivan,” he said. “It's like driving a living room.”
- We both dig satellite radio and are ashamed to admit we’ve become addicted to a certain station. “I’m digging Radio Disney and it's DJs,” Dan said. Then 5 minutes later, he noted: “I should NOT be so effusive on Radio Disney.”
- His parents finally realized he made the right career choice when his new book received a glowing review in People magazine. ("The great harbinger of my legitimacy as a writer," he called it.) Mine will come the day I appear in The Mother of All Uncoolness’s prime source of news, The National Enquirer.
There’s more frightening coincidences I learned about through research; however, the following is the freakiest. Go to Wikipedia and type in “Dan Zevin” and you get this:
So before I got slapped with a restraining order, I decided to actually meet the man. One recent Sunday, I drove 30 minutes (to Northeastern suburbanites this the equivalent of the Chinese Long March minus the Communist implications) to hear Dan read from his book:
I also got an up-close look at his minivan (don’t worry, dude, I blurred out your license plate):
I also met his two kids, chatted at length with his yoga teacher and – at long last – shook the hand of my long-lost relative. Not only did he not immediately grab the hand sanitizer afterward, he was nice enough to write this in my copy of his book:
Thank you, brother from another mother. And cheers.
Now I gotta find my passport before the cops arrive.