People I Don't Look Like

I am in 10th grade sitting in my “Health” class, perhaps the most generically titled of all my high school classes. I am sitting in the first row, second seat from the back when the kid who sits across from me and one seat ahead turns around to look at me and say "You look like Dan the gay model from The Real World."

I am not quite sure how to respond. I am pretty sure this isn’t a compliment. I am almost positive I should say something to combat his statement yet "Thanks?" is all I am able to say.

My high school arsenal of witty and cutting comebacks was pretty limited.

Everybody sitting around us starting laughing, as they tend to do at high school buffoons who say outlandish things without prompting or logic. I panicked. If I laughed too would they think I was gay? I had only seen a couple of episodes of The Real World so I couldn't even really formulate a solid opinion on the matter.

The moment eventually passed and I never heard that comparison again. It as easily the worst comparison I had ever received.

Well, that and the time a coworker told me I looked like Fred Savage from The Wonder Years. In addition to being completely wrong, it was also pretty awful.

The comparisons I have heard haven’t always been bad though. In fact, earlier in my life they were quite good.

When I was about 10 years old a movie called Rookie of the Year came out. It was about a kid my age who ends up on a major league baseball team.

I looked exactly like him. People would tell me so all the time. It was the first time I had ever been compared to somebody famous. I was on a local television show at the time, and the cast got to go see the movie and meet the star.

Naturally I was sick that day.

But they brought me back a signed picture

To Richie

All the best. God bless.

Thomas Ian Nicholas

I don’t think I have that picture anymore.

Eventually I grew out of the resemblance and into the one I still get to this day.

Ferris Bueller.

Perhaps it is my penchant for dancing in parades and giving shower monologues to cameras that shouldn’t exist, regardless, I readily embraced this one. Ferris Bueller has always been cooler than I will ever be.

Sometimes people just skip over the character and just tell me I look like the Matthew Broderick. Though I hope they still mean in his earlier years, as being compared to somebody 21 years older than you doesn’t necessarily make one feel good.

Once a mother of a friend of mine told me I reminded her of a young Alan Alda. She is the only person who ever told me that. I am almost positive it was a compliment.

Once in a while I will meet somebody new who after a while will say to me:

You remind me of my friend. He is hilarious!

I like hearing that but I would kind of rather hear them tell me that they have never met anybody like me and I am far an away the most iconoclastic individual in the free world.

I am still waiting on that one.

However I do hear from people:

You remind me of this kid I used to know, he was such an asshole...
But I like you though!"

But at that point it’s too late. I am already fuming about the a-hole out there benefitting from his similarities to me.

I also have a hard time understanding why anybody would tell a completely normal friendly complete stranger that they bare resemblance to a crap human.

Apparently insults are the new complements.

I have also been compared to Ben Affleck by no less than 3 people over the course of my life.

Stop laughing. I am not finished.

It started when I was 14 and while it doesn't happen often it did happen again recently. A friend send me a text that said:

You look like Ben Affleck. Maybe it’s the hair.

Two days later the same friend texted me again.

You remind me of Lumière from Beauty and the Beast!

Lumière, for those of you without a solid background in Disney film, looks like this.

I had gone from Oscar winning writer/director actor, to.... flaming French candlestick.

Oh how the mighty fall.

I was outraged. A cartoon? And not even a normal cartoon, a table decoration. My friend tried to rectify the damage done by explaining to me why I resembled Lumière. She tried to make it seem like it was a compliment, that it was a good thing. That many men would be happy to be compared to a singing dancing table decoration.

None of this helped.

It was at this point I realized I probably don't look like Ben Affleck. And also... I no longer trust my friends.

While I’d like to believe I’m evolving, apparently I’m just evolving into different characters.

Through all of this I have learned that everybody reminds somebody of somebody else. I am guilty of this too, comparing people I’ve met to other people. But I’ve realized just because it might be true, it does not mean it is worth verbalizing.

It is far better to believe that we are all original unique snowflakes than risk being compared to somebody we may not like.

I imagine one day down the line somebody will say to somebody else "you look like Rich Boehmcke" and that person will laugh it off, having a ball with everybody else while in their head they think to themselves: