Roger Marolt: Speaking of face shots
Does everybody resemble somebody else?
I wonder if it is common to be mistaken for somebody famous. Does everybody resemble somebody else? We see people on the street and think these strangers look like somebody we know. We let out an enthusiastic “hello,” get ready to give them a hug, and hurry off, embarrassed, when we realize our mistake.
We are each a unique human being. But of all the things we have in common, a face type might be one of the more usual things we share. You can only configure eyes, noses and mouths so many ways. Hairstyles change. Eye colors are seriously limited.
One thing you learn growing up in a posh resort like Aspen is that celebrities not posing for photo ops oftentimes resemble ordinary people. They don’t actually have the perfect faces we come to know through movies, television, concerts, etc. Some stargazers recognize them anyway, even when their hair is messed up from a ski helmet or they aren’t wearing any makeup, but not me.
We sat down at The Sundeck at the biding of a ski instructor friend. We ate pizza and had a nice conversation with him and his student.
“Only in a place like this could something like that happen,” my wife remarked as we headed out to the slopes. I gave her a puzzled look. She chuckled and informed me that I had just cluelessly dined with a very famous actress. She is a person most people in the developed world would instantly recognize, but I had missed the opportunity. I’ll never know if she appreciated that or felt insulted.
It can work the other way, too, where you recognize a famous face, can’t quite place it and wrongly think it is somebody you know. I used to fill in teaching skiing over the busy holiday season to earn a ski pass. One day I skied to the bottom of Lift 1A ahead of my group and stopped. There was Jack Nicholson, right next to me. On poor instinct I blurted, “Hi, Jack,” like he was an old high school buddy. Without missing a beat, he glanced at my name tag, threw up a big, Shining grin and said, “Well, hello Rog!” I thought that was generous of him.
In a place where people are on constant celebrity sighting alert, sometimes locals get mistaken for famous people. Once on a flight out of here I sat across the aisle from a guy who eagerly started up a conversation about the Broncos. He asked question after question about the team. It was odd, but as a fan myself, I indulged him with my best analysis. As we deplaned in Denver, he shook my hand gratefully and remarked that it’s not everyday you get to discuss football with your favorite team’s head coach. He thought I was Mike Shanahan.
Twenty years ago, I was a dead ringer for the comedian Bob Saget, one of the dads on the popular television show “Full House.” I was constantly mistaken for him. One time, helping chaperone a school field trip to Mesa Verde, one mother and I went to pick up pizzas for the class’ dinner. The lady working there wouldn’t hand over the pies until a few friends she had called could get there to take a picture with me. My insistence that I was not Bob Saget only solidified her conviction that I was. What are you going to do? I posed for pictures and signed autographs. I scribbled my own name, albeit illegibly so as not to disappoint. The mother I was with was most entertained.
Sometimes locals only think they are famous. In the early ‘80s I rode the lift with a guy who proudly pointed out a ski run on Ajax was named after him. I knew he bought the naming rights in a thankfully short-lived program Skico came up with to generate additional revenues. This man said that he and my father were great friends and be sure to tell him “hello.” That evening I relayed the message. My dad replied, “Who?” I explained, “You know, he’s the guy they renamed Kreuzeck after.” He replied incredulously, “They renamed Kreuzeck?”
Researching this piece included googling “Bob Saget” to see what he looks like today. I didn’t recognize him. He may have fewer wrinkles than I, but his cheeks are a little chubby. Weird as it sounds, I think I look more like he should than he does.
Roger Marolt once had a short conversation with Vince Neil, mistaking him for a chef he had seen on television. Email him at email@example.com.
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