Marolt: Living a double life over and over again
A stranger pulled me over on the street.
“I’m sorry to bother you,” he said. “I’m sure you get this all the time.”
I was about to give him directions to Rubey Park.
“I just love your column,” he gushed.
OK; I was interested. I smiled.
“There’s a real charm to your writing,” he continued, and I suppose at this point I should have been suspect. “I mean, you have such a uniquely local view due to your family’s long history here, and you have such an eloquent voice you use so effectively to express it. I look forward to you every week, even when I’m traveling.”
I felt like a celebrity. I was a better writer than I ever imagined, and as the stranger also pointed out, my imagination is incredible!
“I can see I’m embarrassing you,” he said. “So I’ll leave you alone, but I just have to tell you that the story you told about your favorite horse was so moving; do you remember? I think that’s your best one.”
I smiled again, this time politely more than eagerly.
He walked away, pleased for the chance to talk with me in person. The story of the beautiful and loyal horse really was one of my favorites. The thing is, it was Tony Vagneur’s. I had just been the recipient of a whole heap of love for Tony. Man, I thought, what must that guy’s life be like with a fan base like this? I’ve always liked Tony; now he’s got rock-star status in my book!
This scene, aside from shrink-wrapping my ego, led me to recall another case of mistaken identity I was the beneficiary of a long time ago in a town very different from this but in the exact same location.
I’d crashed my mountain bike up in Hunter Creek, and getting out of there with a broken shoulder was a protracted ordeal. By the time I got to the emergency room, I was in incredible pain, breathing in gasps and communicating in grunts.
I was cared for by a local doctor who has been around a long time now but who was relatively new back than.
“Hello,” he greeted me as he walked into the examination room holding my X-rays. “I’m Dr. Soandso.”
In my mind I clearly said, Hello, doctor, I’m Roger Marolt. However, in my condition of pain, it came out, “Errgh … doctor …. eeh … Roger Marolt.”
“Oh,” the good doctor said, surprised. “I’m a doctor of orthopedic medicine. And you are?”
I had no idea what his game was here. I figured it was some odd way of establishing the upper hand over an incapacitated victim.
“Ugrh … the … ehmm … patient?” I responded unsurely, as if it was a test.
He chuckled. “Well, it’s obvious you’re in a lot of pain. Let me get you something for that. Do you have a preference?”
I was as shocked as I was clueless. I just shook my head and shrugged the best I could before moaning in pain for the effort.
He gave me the medicine and went over the X-rays very briefly.
“As you can see, you sustained a clean break of your clavicle, but you already knew that.”
“I’m going to give you this sling. As soon as you feel a little better, here’s a figure-8 you can use. I wrote a prescription for —–; do you prefer something else, or is that OK?”
I stared — a patient without a clue.
“OK, then. It was nice to meet you. Give me a call at the end of the week, and let me know how it’s going. We can do another X-ray then if you think we need to.”
It was the shortest and weirdest hospital visit I’d ever had. My wife, an innocent bystander, was equally perplexed.
It was on the drive home when we put things together. Through my grunted and groaned introduction to the doctor, he thought I was a doctor, too!
I think it’s just me, but often I feel like an easily recognizable anonymous person. When Bob Saget was popular, lots of people thought I was him. A woman in San Diego swore I was Huey Lewis. A guy on a plane thought I was Mike Shanahan and pimped me for Broncos scoop from New York to Denver. Lots of people in my own hometown think I’m one or the other of my brothers.
Apparently my life is one continual costume party and other people are picking out my masks. That’s fine with me, as long as I’m mistaken for a good guy.
Roger Marolt deserves all the anonymity he asked for. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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