“What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord.”
So Michele Bachmann went to Concord, NH and mistook it for Concord, MA. One could argue that if the shot was truly heard round the world, then it was, indeed, heard in Concord, NH. Only, Concord, NH did not exist during the American Revolution. Other than the name and New England setting, the two Concords have nothing much in common. Tony Concord, MA, home of the first military engagement of the Revolutionary War, has been taken over by bicyclists and counter-cultural devotees of Thoreau’s Walden Pond and Civil Disobedience. Concord, NH, is the capital of the state that tells us to “Live Free or Die” on its license plates. So the Tale of Two Concords is set on our Continental, Blue State/Red State Divide. Mistaking the two Concords can be chalked up, as is so often the case with Congresswoman Bachmann, to wishful mystical thinking.
To be semi-fair, mistaken identification is fairly common. Take the pic that accompanied my last post, “Doth We Protest too Little? A remarkable number of intrepid readers, glancing at the e-blurb, mistook me for Mark Rudd, 60s radical. Maybe it was the megaphone that misled. “Is that you???” one long-term friend wrote. “Still interminably outspoken,” a colleague commented, “and still the same head of gorgeous hair!”
Doppelgängers and look-alike comments have been such a persistent theme in my life that it provided the lead for one of my roman à clefs, Fly Me to the Moon:
All my life people have been telling me I look like someone else.
Once, on my way to a college interview, a cabby mistook me for Mark Rudd, student radical. (We both sported shades and Kennedy hair, but that’s about it.) For a teenager with a Che Guevara poster over his bed that was kind of cool. Not so cool with the admissions folks, perhaps. New York’s finest had only just flushed Rudd and his cohorts from a week’s long occupation of the college president’s office. Maybe that’s why I wound up on the waiting list; maybe that’s why I’m still waiting.
During my hunkier years I got the likes of Tom Selleck and Sam Elliot a lot. You guessed it; I’d grown a mustache. When he was a Yankee, Dave Winfield popped up often enough for a snappy comeback: “Want to see my Louisville Slugger, baby?” Most of the time it’s no big problem looking like a mythical tough guy. Except for the occasional encounter such as the one down in the Caribbean when a sinewy Cruzan was certain I was Chuck Norris. (Yes, folks, the ‘stache was bushy and dirty blond.) He wanted to work out with me; announced he was a black belt.
“What level?” I asked
“Third degree,” said he.
“Not high enough,” I shook my head. “Catch me next time down.”
Lately, though, I’ve been getting obscure. More and more, people are telling me I’m the spitting image of their brother, an old friend, somebody’s husband. It’s enough to give a guy an identity crisis….
That’s just the way it is for me. People keep figuring me for someone I’m not. Which shouldn’t bother a Jack-of-all-trades. Ask me for directions and I’m glad to oblige, no matter how menial or grand I’m taken for. Guess I got that well-worn wisdom about me that says I should be good for a few answers….
Answers are a given on Jeopardy. But offer a category like “POLITCAL AGENDAS”, give the answer as “Top priority for fixing U.S. economy”, and the correct question is questionable. Do we go with, “What is cutting the deficit?” or “What is creating millions more jobs?”? Again, it depends on what side of the faith-base/ reality-based Continental Divide one stands. Try as it might, the neo-cortex just doesn’t get the limbic level and the limbic could care less.
We’re always fighting the last war, right? And so it was with a former neighbor, a decade my senior, who e-mailed to rip me a new butt-hole after “Doth we Protest”: “It is easier to attack than to build, easier to shout than to think. How much fun you all had…a sense of power at a young age. Jerry Rubin had his fun in Chicago. He grew his hair, spit on Cops, probably smoked weed and had a hell of a time. And later… not too much later, he joined the establishment, vest and all on Wall Street. When working on Wall Street I fantasized about meeting and punching him in the mouth.” As Rubin was one of the early investors in Apple, he not only bequeathed Yippie street theatre to the Occupy Wall Street crowd, but the tools with which to project their footprint on to the larger stage. What the Dickens?
It was the best of times for 1%, it was the worst of times for 99%, it had been the spring of hope but was now the winter of despair, in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on reenacting it. Who knows? Maybe the twain shall meet in what we’ll call the Reguilded Age.