Friday, February 05, 2010

Flashback Friday: My Doppelganger

Last week, the brother of my best friend started a trend. He had posted who his "doppelganger" was (Buzz Aldrin?) and recommended that everyone on his Facebook list do the same. I had not seen anyone else do this and I was hesitant to post mine, but decided, "What the hell!" and have been amused to see quite a few people on my Facebook list do the same. Did they get the idea from me or from someone else on their Facebook list? I have 178 people on my Facebook friends list and only one person mentioned the doppelganger idea. Who knows how these ideas spread?

Anyhow, the reason why I was hesitant to post my doppelganger photo is because the person people have said looked the most like me was a cold-blooded serial killer!!! That's right, Andrew Cunanan, who went on a three month killing spree in the summer of 1997 is my "doppelganger." As you can see from the photo above (his is on the left), we have the exact same smile, glasses, eye squint, hair colour and style, and face shape. Creepy! And like me, Cunanan looks different in various photos that surfaced during the manhunt during that crazy summer. Even some of the photos of him as a child matched how I looked at a similar age.

How did this all come about? the summer of 1997, I had read in the paper about some guy who was wanted as a material witness when several men were murdered in Minnesota. But, I didn't pay much attention at the time. It was some gay thing that sounded like it was going to be another Jeffrey Dahmer case that I had the fortunate luck to be in basic training during that mass media hysteria. When I returned home after basic training, it was like coming out of a dark hole as I had no idea who Dahmer was, as I had missed out on most of the reporting.

Not so in 1997. After Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was murdered at his home in Miami, Florida, this case hit the big time. The murder suspect's photo was plastered all over CNN. When I went to work (the Sheraton Colony Square Hotel in Midtown, Atlanta), my co-workers were excited about this story and said that they saw me on CNN. They joked that the FBI had been notified and that they were coming after me. They also asked if I had been in Miami recently. Of course, I laughed it off. Just friendly joking. Though we look alike in a few photos, there were other photos of him that looked nothing like me. However, I can also say that there are photos of me that don't even look like me. I often wonder how I could look so different in photos. It only makes me wonder what I really look like sometimes.

I was glad to leave work, though, and all the kidding around about being the killer of Gianni Versace. When I went home, the first thing my parents said was how much this killer looks like me. Gosh, that's pretty scary when even your parents think so! They even pointed out that Cunanan's childhood photos look like me when I was a child. Since they were the ones who have known me all my life and know how I look, I realized that I finally found my doppelganger (everyone supposedly has at least one look-alike). Not too flattering.

Killing Versace increased the intensity in finding this murderer. No one wanted this to happen more than me, probably. I was set to journey west to start my college years at BYU and I wanted him found before I made that trek. My biggest worry was that I would check into some motel for the night and the scared night shift clerk would secretly call the FBI to report that Andrew Cunanan had checked into their motel. That would have been a nightmare. Fortunately, though, the intensity of the manhunt forced Cunanan's hand. He was found dead of an apparent suicide, well before my departure date for Utah. I was relieved that the episode was over with and that I could get my identity back.

To this day, though, despite two books written about him, there have not been any plausible explanation about why he set off on his murder spree, nor why he targeted Versace. His actions did send out a positive ripple, though. Elton John and Princess Diana supposedly had a falling out over something and only renewed their friendship at Versace's funeral. A few weeks later, Diana herself tragically died in a car accident. Elton John altered the lyrics of his song "Candle in the Wind" to reflect Princess Diana and sang it at her funeral. The single sold millions of copies and became the biggest hit of 1997. Would that have happened if not for Cunanan? Or maybe, the death of Versace put Diana on the path of death as well. Too hard to say.

Some might wonder why we have a doppelganger. I have my own theory on that. I believe that there's only so many different faces and body types out there. There are more than six billion people on this planet. It just makes sense that each person would have one or a few people who look like them. I know in my experience of moving around, I'm constantly meeting people who look or behave like people I've met before. Perhaps unfairly, whenever I meet "lookalikes", I expect them to be like the other person I met first. Everyone has free will, though, and different experiences. We may look like someone else, but we are unique. Hopefully your doppelganger won't do something embarrassing like mine did. For a brief moment in the summer of 1997, I wanted to put a bag over my head just so people wouldn't think that I was the guy who killed Versace. I hate the fashion industry, but I'm not going to kill someone because of it. I just won't buy overpriced clothes, that's all.


NickUSCS1861 said...

Intriguing post and intriguing idea to post one's doppelganger.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

good one!