The Cooler Me
May 13, 2012 8:54 PM   Subscribe

I'd always been fascinated by the trope of the doppelgänger and its long literary life, from Dostoyevsky to Nabokov to Spider-Man. Often, in books, these physical doubles represent the worst a character is capable of. Lately, though, perhaps because at age 41 I'd begun feeling less like the captain of my life and more like its deckhand, I'd started wondering if there was someone out there who embodies not your worst self, but your freest one—a person who encapsulates everything you've ever dreamed of becoming. Let's call him your Cooler Self. All those dreams that got lost along the way, the ones that were casualties of chance or duty or cowardice: There's a "you" out there—a mountain climber or war photographer or race-car driver—who brought them to fruition.

So I vowed to hunt down my
Cooler Self.
posted by AceRock (64 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
He really paints a wonderful picture of just having a baby. My friend whose wife is 9 months pregnant showed me the article and was extremely depressed.

I didn't know how to feel about the rest. I am envious of people with responsibilities, they are envious of my playboy lifestyle. For now, cats are my surrogate children so best of both worlds!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:07 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I actually am friends with a guy who is, 9 ways out of 10, my cooler self. It's simultaneously inspiring and infuriating.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:12 PM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Everybody wants what they don't have.

Desire is suffering.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:13 PM on May 13, 2012 [23 favorites]

Smoke me a kipper, boys, I'll be back for breakfast.
posted by mwhybark at 9:14 PM on May 13, 2012 [28 favorites]

This is funny. I share a name with a fairly well-known journalist. He called me up once, he'd (this was many years ago now, when the Internet was youngish) searched for his own name and found 57 individuals listed online. He was calling us all up, asking us about privacy issues on the net, how we felt about being so easily findable online.

I told him about a recurring dream I'd been having about someone else living in the same town, with the same name. Essentially he was making all the right choices, where I was failing. He was bold where I was timid, clever where I was slow and dull. In my dreams, I'd always arrive just after he'd departed. People would tell me what a great guy he was.

The journalist listened politely through all my blather. He was a genuinely nice guy. Later he'd send me a copy of the article he had written based on his series of interviews with people who all possessed our same name.
posted by newdaddy at 9:21 PM on May 13, 2012 [12 favorites]

How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?
posted by deathpanels at 9:47 PM on May 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

It must be a generational issue. I am my cooler self. It isn't legendary but all in all a fine existence. I got past saving the world in my early twenties. I "found" myself in my late 30's. I became comfortable at the age of 50 now I am coming to terms with the fact this act does not go on forever. Have fun share a smile it really cannot be any better. Write your autobiography make shit up. How cool do you need to be?
posted by pdxpogo at 9:52 PM on May 13, 2012 [12 favorites]

The Self Who Can Do More [pdf, scan of a chapter of a book about William Gaddis' The Recognitions]
posted by kenko at 9:58 PM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

I suspect I dream about changing the past, making different decisions, being a different person in many ways, because it's easier than changing the present.

My experience with friends who abruptly drop their current lives to become their own doppelgangers is that it doesn't work out like you'd hope it might.
posted by maxwelton at 10:01 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've often dealt with physical doppelgangers of people I know - folks you see who look JUUUST like your other friend from across the country. Or maybe not identical, but close enough to evoke that reaction. Invariably if you show one a picture of the other, they say 'that doesn't look anything like me!' And I've had people say the same about me - and get the same reaction when I see the pics.

Until one day when a guy walked into the pho place I was at, and my jaw dropped, because he looked JUST LIKE ME. I had even had a new haircut recently, and he had the same haircut. We both had goatees, so there was no way to tell which one was from the mirror dimension. It was maddening that he did appear to be like 2 inches taller than me, and 20 pounds lighter. Summamabitchin' doppelganger just HAD to be just a bit better somehow...
posted by FatherDagon at 10:05 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lets see, we have 1) virtuous self-abnegation, 2) diligent pursuit of achievement, or 3) self-conscious consideration of the first two options. Thank god the modern, diversified service economy enables us to pay people to write about option number three, otherwise I'd actually have to try it in order to find out how miserable it actually is!
posted by anewnadir at 10:25 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

My mom thinks I'm cool.
posted by The Whelk at 10:32 PM on May 13, 2012 [10 favorites]

Sometimes I wonder about this. Somewhere out there, there's a Ghostride the Whip that stayed in college and got the English degree and went to law school because "Well I like writing and arguing so what else am I going to do?" Ironically, he's probably just as much an emotionally broken drunkard as I am now. So we'd have that in common.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:35 PM on May 13, 2012 [7 favorites]

One of my old roommates emailed me earlier this month with an attached picture and said, "17th century Swiss painting; look at the woman in blue." I opened the attachment, of an old painting, and went "Oh my God," because this 17th century Swiss artist's model and I were DEAD RINGERS for each other. Exact same profile, same unusual hair color, same distinctive nose, same POSTURE even! Everyone I showed it to believed I had photoshopped it (even my mom!) until I directed them to the museum's site. 17th century Swiss model me appears to have been slightly taller, but not by much.

However, I know I'm the cool doppleganger: I have indoor plumbing.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:41 PM on May 13, 2012 [30 favorites]

I like to think about The Whelk that went to Princeton and went into biology.Or the whelk who took the acting gig and went out west.

I don't think either of them are very happy people.
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 PM on May 13, 2012

That was much better than I expected it to be.
posted by wilful at 10:47 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

That's not a doppleganger, Eyebrows McGee, that's proof that time travel will be invented during your lifetime. I'm surprised you chose 17th century Switzerland instead of the Roman Empire or something; maybe it wasn't your first trip. You're going to have to pay a fine when they discover you left evidence behind, though.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:00 PM on May 13, 2012 [16 favorites]

I'm trying to turn drawing comics into a living. I live in a sunny apartment in a college town. I have a few lovers, no kids. Every once in a while I get up on stage and take my clothes off in an artistic manner to applause and whoops.

I think I'm the Cooler Self.

I wonder what my uncool self is doing.
posted by egypturnash at 11:02 PM on May 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

The other me didn't watch his brother die... because he was never in the accident in January of 2006...

The other me didn't have to hold the woman he loved for hours, crying together, because that little boy was born...

The other me, still a beloved husband and loving new father, didn't have to watch her walk away from an emotionally broken man... destroyed from all the heartbreak...

The other me wouldn't come to know the loss of the love of the last woman to look his way.... because he would never had needed her love, for the love of a gracious wife...

Sure.... I go to rock shows all the damn time, drink to my heart's content, and no longer care for saving a dying race...

I would burn half the world... to be that other me.

Burn it to the ground.

Ghost, Whelk, I guess we're in good company.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 11:10 PM on May 13, 2012 [12 favorites]

I like his discomfort at the "cool" milieu - how it is at once threatening to him through his absence in it, and yet also banal if not insipid in the lived reality. I dunno, I have a feeling the writer hasn't spent a lot of time being broke.

I fought - and continue to fight - hard for my comfortable bourgeois existence. I love it, and if there are aspects that make me unhappy, I can work to change them. I have the means - financial, mental, physical, to do that, now. Change was far more thrust upon me back in my doppelganger days; it was a fraught existence. That sense of the nascent possibility isn't exclusive to the up side of things; I shudder to remember the all-pervading sense of precariousness, and I see it in my doppelganger friends who chose a different road.

Now, I am exponentially happier, healthier, wiser than when I regularly tapped out my bank account, drunk at least one or two bottles of wine every week, went to openings and such. The only thing I truly miss is university, the rest can screw off; I have kept what I love close by, and - mortgaged, child-encumbered and full-time working as I am, I've not lost a sense of possibility.

Back then, all I had was lever. Now I have a firm place to stand, as well.
posted by smoke at 11:26 PM on May 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

I often wonder about my various other selves, who ended up with my various other exes.

This reaction, always: DODGED THAT BULLET!!
posted by Xere at 11:26 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am the guy who everyone always says "You look just like this guy I know" within minutes of meeting them.

The thing is, a lot of my friends back home look at me, someone who, five months after graduation, left the States and never came back, as the guy who's living out the dream. I live in Japan, I have a beautiful wife, a house, and a job I don't (really) hate. I make my own bacon, sausage, and smoked salmon. I've seen more of China than I have of America, and I've lived more of my adult life in Japan than the States. I'm sort of kind of bilingual, and I know just enough Chinese to start a bar brawl with one sentence.*

And yet, I wonder about the guy who moved to Chicago a year earlier and finished high school on time. I wonder about the me that was too proud, and never went to Chicago, and more than likely got a GED. I'd like to know the me that went to Indiana University instead of the small liberal arts school I attended (that had the awesome overseas program that led to me being where I am today). I'd like to get to know the me that buckled down and did the work and got the teaching license. Even more, I'd like to know the guy who said, fuck it, I really, really did want to work for Industrial Light and Magic, and actually made a go of it. I'd like to meet the guy who stayed in the kind of English rich environment that might have been more conducive to his writing.

Here I am, living the dream, as it were, and somewhere out there, I know there's a me that's actually excited about the life they lead.

*Seriously, it's the single most foul sentence I know in any language.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:27 PM on May 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

Flagged. Not for being a double, but for being about doubles.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:43 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

We're sharing a drink called Loneliness.

Well, it's better than drinking alone.
posted by SPrintF at 11:47 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I found an Internet video of him singing a cozy duet with Feist.

Hey, I have the Internet at my house too, and I found the same video!

After watching that, I'm convinced that he is also my own doppelganger. Which makes us trippelgangers, right?
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:01 AM on May 14, 2012

Gonna go out on a limb and postulate that those who have read the article an concluded that yes, they ARE "the cooler me (themselves)" have, in fact, gotten the whole point of the article.

Also: you are possibly Spartacus, and you may or may not love Big Brother.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:05 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is certainly a trivial point, but it's bothering me. At the beginning of the article it's spelled doppelgänger, and halfway through the article it's spelled doppel-gänger. Toward the end it goes back to doppelgänger.

I don't understand how the hyphen got in there, or why it went away. Is that some kind of Cool thing?
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:40 AM on May 14, 2012

Editors aren't cool. Just spell it however you like, man.
posted by Wolof at 12:52 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Look," said Zaphod. "I'm up to here with cool, okay? I'm so amazingly cool you could keep a side of meat in me for a month. I'm so hip I have trouble seeing over my pelvis."
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:05 AM on May 14, 2012 [11 favorites]

I met my Cool Self once and loaned him a lot of money. Now he won't return my calls.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:22 AM on May 14, 2012

Confused chicken, that's my doppelgaenger.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:03 AM on May 14, 2012

I think the only thing that's missing from my life being as cool as it ever has been is simply a permanent job, PTO, and medical benefits.

I got the rest of it down.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:34 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

People who think "cool" is cool are not cool.
posted by Decani at 3:41 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

However, I know I'm the cool doppleganger: I have indoor plumbing.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:41 on May 14

I can tell it's a monday morning - I read your comment 3 times before deciding you weren't trying to say the artist's model was an effeminate bloke...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 4:29 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I owe my life to dumb luck: to standing in the right spot at the right moment; to a decision to travel rather than to stay home; to saying the right thing to the person in front of me. I should not have the life that I do. But I am so very, very grateful for it. That beats cool any day.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:30 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I dunno about being my Cooler Self but I've done quite a few highly improbable things so far & considering who I am & who I've been, I'm in about the best place I could hope to be. I've definitely avoided several really unpleasant life paths along the way. I think it'd be interesting to meet the people who made some of the choices I didn't, there'd be some value in that; but all things considered I think without changing something integral to my persona & turning me into somebody unrecognizably different I've threaded the needle of my life about as well as I could. Those other people wouldn't be my Cooler Self, they'd be somebody else.
posted by scalefree at 4:30 AM on May 14, 2012

At 50, I've already lived 2 lifetimes. The first me was a miserable, angry drunk, but I got to start over at 35, and now I'm the cool me that I wanted to be through all the anxiety and fear of my youth. Some of the anxiety is still there, and some regret, because youth is wasted on the young, but I've decided to just live while I can. I'm making music that I love without any regard for whether or not a single other person gives a damn, I'm creating art on occasion, I spend as much time outdoors as life will allow, and have been the first or second person to ever stand on new places beneath the earth on numerous occasions. I do a great job & earn respectable money, I'm mostly well-groomed, and my wife & children tell me they love me every single day.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:36 AM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

I don't understand how the hyphen got in there, or why it went away. Is that some kind of Cool thing?

No, no, it is, "I have no idea how these people got hyphens wedged in their dopplegangers or why."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:41 AM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

That's not a doppleganger, Eyebrows McGee, that's proof that time travel will be invented during your lifetime. I'm surprised you chose 17th century Switzerland instead of the Roman Empire or something; maybe it wasn't your first trip. You're going to have to pay a fine when they discover you left evidence behind, though.

Isn't it obvious that Eyebrows went to 17C Switzerland to meet the doppleganger, only to discover it was a closed time loop? It's a tale as old as time travel itself.
posted by gerryblog at 5:47 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Who doesn't question themselves? Who doesn't wonder "what other me would be?"

Some of us must chase that other self. I am still chasing, and a decade later I am quite tired of chasing.

(wow, lots more introspection then expected this morning.)
posted by andreaazure at 6:03 AM on May 14, 2012

Decades ago when I was visiting another town, someone came up to me, and showed me some pictures he had of a friend of his. The person in the pictures looked exactly like me. I had to look closely at the clothes to become convinced they were not actually pictures of me. I wonder how that guy is doing.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:04 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was the doppleganger for many years; then I found true love with a settled-down man. Which is all very nice, and I do appreciate and treasure my life now. My younger stepson presented me with a bouquet of flowers and a new grandchild yesterday; the joy was like a deep, wide river moving through me. But I confess that sometimes I compare the drip coffee and morning paper in my suburban kitchen with an espresso, a slim hash spliff, and the International Herald Tribune on the banks of the canal on Dam Square, and I would be lying if I didn't wish I was still cool.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 6:17 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've decided that I must have insanely common features or something. I get people all the time who come up and are sure they recognize me from somewhere, or know me. They'll run through their college, where they've worked in the last 10 years, people they've slept with; it seems to drive some people crazy. And you, as the target of "Don't I know you from somewhere?" are put in this uncomfortable etiquette place where you're almost required to stand there and deny you know them. (Maybe that's a Southern thing, but it seems so rude to just walk away from someone who is trying so hard, even when you know the quest is futile.)

So, I think my doppleganger is some sort of master super spy. She's out there, looking like everyone and nobody at the same time; foiling plans of super-villians, riding around in Ferrari's, having martinis with suave European playboys. Which ya know, is fun for the first couple of years, but after the third time you get chased through the streets of Paloma by a sentient eggplant bent on world's got to get boring.
posted by dejah420 at 6:19 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

It must be a generational issue. I am my cooler self. It isn't legendary but all in all a fine existence.

I'm about the author's age, and I don't have his existential discomfort. Maybe it's a having-kids thing? Speaking of which, this strikes me as being one of the most restrictive pictures of childrearing that I have ever read:
I took a moment to imagine the rest of my morning, the frantic work of keeping two children happy while getting them fed and dressed and ready for school, doing my best to bring Giratina to life while trying to clean the shit from my son's scrotum.
I guess mostly I just don't think life has to be so either/or. Maybe the people I know are very different than the people he knows, but I see people figuring it out as they go along and combing things in ways that make sense at the time. Having a kid doesn't mean you can't sit on someone's porch and smoke some bud, any more than being a professor means you can't have play in a band. You can be a grown-up and have a bourgeois life and still go on lonely walks late at night.

It's a great article, and I loved reading it, but I never really got the sense that he was getting how self-imposed the restrictions he was complaining about really are. What he does capture perfectly, though, is how in all our lives there are forks in the road -- you go this way or that way, and once you've chosen you are on a different path forever.
posted by Forktine at 6:28 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I liked the article a lot, and it reminded me of the Robin Williams scenes from The Fisher King, but in these desperate times for journalism jobs it seemed weird for a guy with an extremely rarified GQ Contributing Writer gig to portray himself as playing it safe and conventional.
posted by steinsaltz at 7:01 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

In its context, this sentence, "Not too long ago, I was sitting backstage at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and drinking beer with my doppelgänger, a 39-year-old singer-songwriter ... " really does beg for the reply "That's the cooler you?"

Anyway, presumably, the cooler me is, at this very moment, spending a leisurely afternoon reading by the light of the sun shining through the windows of his (or her) fabulous art- and book-filled apartment on the Seine. Bon courage!
posted by octobersurprise at 7:10 AM on May 14, 2012

I was the cooler me for about a dozen or so years and it was fucking exhausting. Derpy me is way better.

Also I want to live in a superior parallel universe wherein earworming people with execrable Billy Joel songs is a capital crime.
posted by elizardbits at 7:24 AM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

I get his premise, but he kind of glosses over the whole doppelganger thing pretty quick and it just becomes about him inserting himself into the kooky bohemian life of a rock singer dude he thinks is cool. It's just an article about envy, isn't it? With a touch of mid-life crisis?
Obsessing over all the people you think have really cool and way more fun lives than you seems like the perfect way to start feeling shitty about yourself and a really not-fun game.
posted by chococat at 7:37 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

In high school, I was buttoned down and restrained and looked a bit like Ed Norton. My best friend was a little more wild and impulsive and looked a touch like Brad Pitt. The month after we saw Fight Club was ... strange.
posted by thecaddy at 7:48 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I may well be my own cooler self, if "cool" involves moving to the other side of the world, spending your disposable income travelling and going to festivals and commuting by bicycle to jobs in what is broadly called the "new media", rather than ticking the boxes of being a grown-up ([ ] Real estate ownership [ ] Children).

I've at times wondered whether my "less cool" self turned out happier. You know, instead of spending his time going to lots of gigs, and travelling, the one who, in his mid-20s, met a nice girl who turned out to be a keeper, bought a house somewhere in the suburbs of Melbourne, and now works as a data analyst at a commodities brokerage or something, paying off the mortgage and watching their two kids grow up, occasionally making time to catch up with old friends. I wonder whether the stable domesticity, and living in a city where he regularly sees friends and family makes him a happier person, or whether he spends his time wondering what would have happened if he had moved abroad. Perhaps he and his family visited London last year, doing the London Eye and Buckingham Palace and mailing some postcards back, and possibly taking some time out to browse in the Music and Video Exchange, remembering a little of the obsession with music which he put aside all those years ago. That night, when the kids and the missus were asleep, he lay awake in the hotel bed, wondering how it might have been like had things turned out differently. The next morning, those thoughts were gone.
posted by acb at 8:22 AM on May 14, 2012

FWIW, becoming a race car driver is not difficult. Just takes money.
posted by LordSludge at 8:34 AM on May 14, 2012

My experience with friends who abruptly drop their current lives to become their own doppelgangers is that it doesn't work out like you'd hope it might.

The Flitcraft Parable.

posted by chavenet at 9:01 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have to admit I'm extremely happy with my normal, boring life.

Besides, it sounds like being cool involves a lot of traveling which would drive me crazy.
posted by freakazoid at 9:04 AM on May 14, 2012

There's a guy. We're not massively dissimilar in appearance, though I'm taller. He's two days older--or younger, I can never remember. We were at the same school, in fact we were in the same economics class for almost two years. We weren't friends but there was a feeling of similarity. He evidently worked a lot harder than I did, or at least studied a lot harder; I spent most of my last two years at the school editing a games fanzine.

I'm a games designer. He's prime minister.

He has the satisfaction of running the country. I have the satisfaction of knowing I didn't turn out to be a shit.
posted by Hogshead at 9:18 AM on May 14, 2012 [8 favorites]

I think I'm too young to have any serious doubts about my coolness. I live in an edgy (read: gentrifying) urban neighborhood. I've never owned a car and I ride a bicycle whose frame is older than me. I'm writing a book and dating a girl who teaches at a college. We are collecting Henry Miller novels, crystal skulls, and black cats. For gods sake, Mr. GQ writer, be thankful for what you have. It could all be gone tomorrow.
posted by deathpanels at 9:37 AM on May 14, 2012

All it really takes is to do something that others consider "cool" (become a musician, travel somewhere exotic, whatever) and you will be forced to realize that inside you are still the same boring-ass dorky nerd you ever were.

Cool is all about longing to be different; I'm convinced that no one ever feels cool for more than a few seconds, but that many many people attempt to appear cool as much as possible, and some hit upon a formula that convinces others they are cool and ride it for a while.

It's all crap really. You made the choices you made for a reason, even if it wasn't what you'd consider a good reason now; you are who you are. If you are doing your best going forward, that's good enough, because that's all you can do.
posted by emjaybee at 9:47 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I looked up at the house, surprised to see stars twinkling in the empty window frame. It was one of the hardest parts of family life, actually, the thing maybe I missed the most: the loss of that lonely place I used to dwell. As a young man drunk on books, I used to walk the streets for hours, feeling like an alien creature, following the darkening detours of my mind. People tend to talk about self-absorption as if it were a bad thing, but I missed those walks very much.

Oh, I have felt this way! "Drunk on books," and "feeling like an alien creature" is exactly right.

This piece is beautifully written, and speaks, I think, to why parenting can be ultimately so rewarding and yet also, day-by -day and in the moment, such an incredibly tough job.

When your children are babies, especially if you are a stay-at-home parent, you spend every waking moment caring for and worrying over them, to the exclusion of, most of the time, worrying and caring about yourself. Privacy, quiet moments of self-contemplation, get lost in the chaos of child-rearing. We can get depressed, and when our friends with no kids see us in these vulnerable moments (like with OnTheLastcastle's friend), they wonder why we ever did, because clearly we aren't happy.

Believe me, most parents have gone through at least one moment of panic, too. We wake up, in the middle of an already sleep-disturbed night, wondering if in the process of becoming someone's wife, someone else's mother, etc., maybe we have lost ourselves along the way.

But those moments, for most of us, are the inevitable by-products of the chaos and sleeplessness surrounding welcoming a new life into the world, and not indicative of any lasting regret.

We find our balance, gain our footing, give ourselves a mental shake, and find the solution to the Rubik's cube of life's challenges that works best for us. Yes, we have said good-bye to privacy and self-absorption, but we've also taken a good hard look at our lives and clarified what's really important to us--interests we are still free to pursue as our children grow less dependent on us. Happy, fulfilled parents make for happy, fulfilled kids in the grand scheme of life, if we only live long enough to see it.

Taking stock of our lives in the harsh light of day is something we all have to do; parenting just forces the timing on us. Both of these men, the parent and the nomad, are, as the French say, bien dans sa peau, comfortable in thier own skin.

Maturity comes when, as the author of this piece notes, we realize that the life we have fallen into, even if radically different from the life we thought we were going to lead, is actually the result of conscious choices we made every day along the way.
posted by misha at 9:50 AM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

It's interesting to play the "What if I had zigged instead of zagging 20 years ago" game once in a while, but a far more constructive game to play with yourself is "I've wanted to try X since I was a kid, but still haven't gotten to do it. What do I need to do to make that happen?"
posted by usonian at 10:12 AM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

I spent my mid-20s as my cooler self. Threw amazing parties, hung out with wonderful people until the morning, spent days just reading or sleeping, and learned an incredible amount about myself.
Now that we are expecting our first child, I'm extremely grateful for that time and also incredibly excited about the mundanity I have adopted. I think of the future's 5am crying wake-up calls with a sense of future nostalgia. This will signify something big has changed in my life, and it will also feel like I am somehow honoring that past by moving forward.
posted by Theta States at 11:18 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Little Wings is such a great band.
posted by saul wright at 8:13 PM on May 14, 2012

My doppelganger is a famous basketball player for the Chicago Bulls who happens to be from France is about a year older and is only 1 foot 4 inches taller than I am. On the other hand, we look almost exactly alike so much so that anyone who watches basketball always asks me if anyone has ever told me that I look like Joakim Noah.
posted by lizarrd at 8:49 AM on May 15, 2012

I actually have a doppelganger from Australia, who appears to have sought work in SE Asia at roughly the same time I moved to New York.

There must be some unspoken understanding that we maintain positions at opposite ends of the planet, lest we meet and be forced into a Highlander duel.
posted by ceribus peribus at 6:28 PM on May 15, 2012

The discussn of the philosophy of cool in context with the doppelgangers thing reminds me: Sam Shepard wrote about this, more or less, in a somewhat neglected early 1970s play, The Tooth of Crime.
posted by mwhybark at 9:34 PM on May 15, 2012

The author's other essay on the GQ site, about his father and moving to California, is also fantastic.
posted by BigSky at 12:03 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

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