Do you have a celebrity doppelgänger? Over the years, friends and strangers have told me I resemble so-and-so or I remind them of what’s-her-name, but I can’t say I’ve ever been mistaken for anyone famous. In fact, it’s more that I have one of those generic faces, reminiscent of someone everybody knows, someone that’s never me.
Today, over my egg and cheese sandwich, I didn’t even have to look twice to be positive that the Shovel Guy from Home Alone was in the bakery where I am writing this. He had it all: the beard, the gait, the high forehead and expressive eyebrows. As he shuffled toward the door in those classic rubber boots, I felt simultaneously unnerved and safe, just as my childhood memories of this man would suggest. And we can all rest easier with Shovel Guy now residing in our town. It wasn’t but a few weeks ago that I spotted one of the Home Alone bad guys on the loose here. No, not Joe Pesci. The tall guy with the wild hair that never had anyone believing he was actually an executor of evil plots—just someone sort of dumb and lovable and looking for a bossy friend.
Perhaps I’m just ready for the holiday season and itching to get to my Christmas movies list. Next thing you know, I’ll be seeing Will Ferrell elves everywhere and Tim Allen running around in a Santa coat and silk boxers.
Except, this is not the first time this has happened to me. When we first moved to town, I heard all about the actual celebrities with roots in the mountain community: Willie Nelson playing a concert in my neighbor’s living room, J-Lo and A-Rod purchasing a mysterious chalet up the canyon, Justin Timberlake spotted at Safeway because Jessica Biel’s aunt’s family’s somebody has a house in Evergreen somewhere. I guess that last one really stuck with me because one morning, our family was driving down our road and my girls saw a new potential playmate hanging out by the mailboxes, pushing a little doll stroller. She was having a great time on her walk with her dad, who turned around and was, for a few seconds, the mirror image of Justin Timberlake, circa 2018 (which, well, it was at the time). He had the beard, the beanie, the denim coat, the overall friendly, relaxed demeanor. Turns out, he was our new neighbor, Jake, who I still to this day refer to as TimberJake. But the resemblance was uncanny, and coupled with the power of suggestion, that sometimes the Real Justin Timberlake vacations in town, it was enough to make me feel like I’d actually seen a celebrity.
The irony is, when we lived in Brooklyn, I was in the vicinity of celebrities all the time. And you know what? I never noticed. I would be in a dimly lit restaurant, and my friend with a penchant for celebrity sightings would say, “Don’t look now, but Adrian Grenier is at the bar.” Of course I
looked, and if she hadn’t pointed exactly where to put my eyes, I never would have found him. Or there was the time that my husband dropped my hand while we were walking up the sidewalk and spun to shake hands with Corey Stoll. It didn’t matter that we’d been bingeing the first season of House of Cards. I never could have placed him. When my mom was visiting us, she and my kids literally waved out the car window at Cuba Gooding, Jr. I never saw him. My only claim to fame in this regard is, one time I obliviously walked straight through the middle of a Verizon commercial. Jim Gaffigan’s assistant yelled at me.
All that to say, Joe Biden is probably not one of the four guys holding conference in the corner of the restaurant where I’m working, and, given the conversation, they’re not of the same political persuasion anyway. But I did do a double take at his profile. Not that you should trust the eyes of a girl who just Googled the Shovel Guy from Home Alone, whose name is actually Roberts Blossom. It turns out, he passed away in 2011. So, a dopplegänger in the bakery… or—forget celebrities! Am I seeing ghosts?