Tuesday, December 27, 2022

The Doppelgänger—Who's Yours?!

I want to thank Deuschland—Germany and its culture for their contributions to the world: Bach and Beethoven, Audis and Porsche, pretzels, Oktoberfest, Steffi Graf and Boris Becker to name a few. Za German's impact on the holiday season is particularly impressive—from Kris Kringle, to the Christmas tree— Oh Tannebaum! But a singular contribution I want to highlight is something you might be able to use at the dinner table, your next festive gathering or on New Year's eve: the doppelgänger.

Nick Bosa leads the league in sacks. And, every time he gets one, his gesture reminds me of Mickey...

You have seen them as memes, posted on the internet and even discovered through various apps.
Though it has a darker past, today, it is benign. As written in Britannica

in German folklore, a wraith or apparition of a living person, as distinguished from a ghost. The concept of the existence of a spirit double, an exact but usually invisible replica of every man, bird, or beast, is an ancient and widespread belief. To meet one’s double is a sign that one’s death is imminent. The doppelgänger became a popular symbol of horror literature, and the theme took on considerable complexity. In The Double (1846), by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, for example, a poor clerk, Golyadkin, driven to madness by poverty and unrequited love, beholds his own wraith, who succeeds in everything at which Golyadkin has failed. Finally the wraith succeeds in disposing of his original.

Most likely, your experience of the doppelgänger is what the word means in German: “double goer."

I used to get rocker, Sheryl Crow. But during my sophomore year, I was the only underclassman on my boat. I never talked, just smiled. They called me Janet ;-)

Finding another person's 
doppelgänger is a fun way to draw a comparison between a friend or family member with a celebrity or cartoon character. It requires a healthy sense of humor and good bit of humility. Not all people celebrate their doppelgänger—but when you get a good match, it's hard not to! 

For those who are observant, pay attention to detail and delight in observing human behavior— naming another's doppelgänger isn't overly challenging. And yet, it's also something you want to share with a good bit of confidence and accuracy. While not all people will see what you see and we won't all agree, doppelgänging (how German, I just made that up!) gets everyone thinking. Who do you know? What traits stand out? What is similar? What is different?

Yes, we are all made in the image and likeness of God. In fact, we are fearfully and wonderfully made! No two of us are the same...but some are pretty close (and I am not just talking about twins). Who knows, maybe even the good Lord has had fun with za doppelgänger.

two legends: Matt Cain and Linus van Pelt

So this holiday if you need an activity, consider how to play with the 

  • Invite people to come up with their own. 
  • Create a pub trivia type of form so you can match the double goer. 
  • Make a matching list—of celebrities doppelgängers. I have had fun thinking of athletes with cartoon characters (as you can see here). 
  • If you're really brave, allow people on the spot to share what they see in others at that time. This might NOT go well, depending on your audience and who is a person's match!
  • Have people in the group share who people tell them they look like/who they hear they look like. Rate that on a scale of 1-10 for purported accuracy.

Just a taste of what's to come for the SI faculty...

The faculty of Saint Ignatius College Prep begins the new year with a two-day retreat. This is a meaningful way to conclude the Christmas break and commence the second semester. For our evening entertainment, one of the activities will be the unveiling of faculty doppelgängers. No one is required to submit—it is opt in! The doubles that people have shared have brought me to tears (of laughter). Some people have such a fantastic sense of humor. But a few have had me scratching my head. I have to say the commentary and/or context for each match has been priceless. It's always good to laugh and when we can, to laugh at ourselves. The activity itself has served as fun and light hearted talking point—something that is always a good thing.  Thank you, Germany.

Let me know what you think....and what you see?! Who is your match?!

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