The Fame Game


I’m a lookalike.

I’m one of an ever growing number of individuals whose only claim to fame is a vague likeness to someone who in many cases has a tenuous claim to their own fame. Such is the culture in which we live.

Let me tell you a little about myself.

I was born in a non-descript northern town, known for its modest industry and a relatively successful professional sports team. Life could be harsh in this dusty old town, but in my youth the difficulties went unseen through the lens of innocence.

Time moved on.

By my teens I had come to consider myself as “different” to my peers. Most young adolescents undergo feelings of alienation, but in my case I felt it went deeper. It was like a background noise that you couldn’t quite focus on. Hushed words, stiffled laughs.

Then, in my fifteenth year it happened.

It was at a school disco, a few short days before the break for the christmas holidays. Lax supervision had allowed several of the older boys to sneak in several bottles of cheap Russian vodka, which was generously added to the fruit punch. In no time at all the alcohol began to take effect on young bodies unaccustomed to its powers.

And that’s when it occured.

A spotty, redfaced girl, whose name remains etched upon my soul, half staggered over to the foot of the stage where I was nonchalantly leaning like a young James Dean. With her faltering step she caught my outstretched legs and nearly tripped into Mrs Peterson’s piano.

With a furious backwards glance she shot “Watch yourself, *********!!!”

A small titter began around the room at the name.

In a moment I realised through the semi-drunken haze that she had aimed that barb at me. Amid the derisive snickering I came to the realisation that I did bare a resemblance to that celebrity. It would be a life defining moment.

Over the next few years it became part of my every day life. My fellow pupils, followed by several of my teachers, would refer to me by this alternative moniker. At first I ignored it, but over the years a quiet acceptance florished. By the time that family members stopped using my given name my path had been laid out before me.

At college I attended fancydress parties “in character”, to the delight of my classmates. During the summer break I was approached to open a new store, and from there I made numerous television appearances.

Five years after leaving college I was performing as ********* in a theatre in New York. The New York Herald claimed my portrayal was better than the original. And the next day my world would never be the same again.

After that evenings show I found myself sitting in my dressingroom face to face with *********. We stared at each other as though looking thru a mirror of flesh and blood. Though a number of years younger the difference in age didn’t show. Only a slight nuance in our accents betrayed the truth.

Anyone who has seen the film Bubba Ho-tep can guess what came next. I walked out of that changing room and into the back of a waiting limo, to be driven away to live the life of my alter-ego. Tired at the excesses of fame, they, in turn, maintain a successful career mimicking themselves on stage.

The world is laughing at their antics, but who is having the last laugh? I’m just looking forward to the next school reunion.

Santa Monica


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