Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Get That A Lot

A couple weeks ago, I watched a semi-lame TV show called I Get That A Lot, where celebrities pretend to be working folk and try to fake out unknowing customers. Chef Rachel Ray cooked up a great performance as a nondescript dry cleaner. Rock star Gene Simmons psyched out everyone as a guru in a crystal shop. Self-made celebrity Paris Hilton struggled to be a humble gas station attendant, and hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg convinced everyone that he was a low-income parking-lot attendant. Every time a customer would tell them how much they looked like the celebrities that they actually are, the celebrity would give the “I get that a lot” response and continue the charade.

While the show is not going to land in my top-ten, I did allow a self-indulgent blog entry to bloom out of it because of the many times I have been told I look like someone I’m not.

It started when I was a young teen at the beach. An older lifeguard told me once that I reminded him of Sally Field in the 1965 sitcom Gidget. Since I only knew Sally Field from TV's The Flying Nun, I had a hard time making the connection until a few years later when I saw a Gidget rerun.

Then came the Valerie Bertinelli phase, whom I know is much prettier than me, so whenever people would compare me to her I would joke that perhaps I could pass as her homely younger sister. Although now that we are older and more…let’s say…distinguished, I can see a closer resemblance. Perhaps when we're in our 80's, no one will know who the real Valerie is...


One incident that still cracks me up happened in the mid-nineties when I was rushing to get to a bathroom in the San Francisco airport. Two women were shuffling behind me, whispering loudly to each other. “Just ask her,” one of them said, while I sat there, perplexed. “You ask her,” the other said. I had another flight to catch, so I hurried out of the stall, lugging my carry-on, and washed my hands. That’s when I was confronted with the big question: “Aren’t you Jennifer Jason Leigh?”

“Who?” I replied. They looked at each other and sort of giggled.

“The girl from Delores Claiborne.”

I immediately pictured Kathy Bates as I glanced at my travel-worn face in the mirror.

“You don’t mean Kathy Bates, right?” I tried to clarify.

“No,” one of them said. “You look exactly like the other whacked out girl in that movie.”

“Oh great,” I said. “Sorry.” We parted awkwardly and I barely made my connecting flight.

But it doesn’t end there. When I became a teacher in 1995, I had to put up with comparisons to Xena (ya-ya-ya!) Warrior Princess...

Spidey’s main squeeze, Kirsten Dunst (I wish)...

really out-there Icelandic singer, Bjork...

and yes, rock star, Axel Rose...

And for a few months in 2008, it was rogue politician Sarah Palin.

My personal favorite comparison, however, came from my sweet little boy Noah when he was about four years old. He had been watching the DVD Mighty Joe Young, starring (ready for this?) Charlize Theron.

“Mommy!” he came storming into my bedroom. “The lady in the gorilla movie looks just like you!” Then he took a closer look at me and added, “Except she has a perfect face.”

Finally, to end this blog on a non-self-absorbed note, here are two family members who also have uncanny likenesses. My pretty cousin Cheryl and her counterpoint, Eva Longoria...

And lastly, my now nineteen year-old son Ryan and the ever-so-cute Anakin Skywalker...

"Hey, aren't you that Anakin guy?" He gets that a lot!


  1. Didn't I say you looked like Sarah Palin? haha

  2. This is an awesome post. Love all the diptych comparisons. You know I always used to tell my cousin she had a certain Val Bertinelli quality. Cheers for the Papa Skywalker. Indeed, Ryan has that Jedi look.