Prehistoric legends : a rose by any other name is Rosie’s clone

Professor Jim Wilcox. (Photo from

By Jim Wilcox, Guest columnist

I was blessed by chance to be born with a “wombmate.” (I just can’t think of God as a prankster.) It has made all the difference (with apologies to Robert Frost).

When we were little, Mom dressed us exactly alike and put us in a stroller-built-for-two, like a scooter with a sidecar. This gave us a little hope to one day be married and prosper.

You’d have to look at our baby photos for yourself, but when there are two of anything, no matter how strange they may look, folks feel bound to say things like, “Oh, twins. They’re so cute,” and to my mother, who still scowls (we were eight pounds each) any time John or I enter the room, “God has blessed you twice.”

As we grew up, we discovered that this resemblance could really play in our favor.

At church camp one year, we switched “squads” (I think the theme that year was WAR). All was going splendidly until the awards dinner that evening when my brother went up front to get my “Camper of the Week” award.

In high school, one afternoon we switched classes. He went to my journalism class and pretended to write a news story. I went to his art class and pretty much destroyed his current art project. (Who said revenge isn’t sweet?)

It was in college, though, that we really had fun one night. We switched in the middle of a double-date!

At the party, we went upstairs, exchanged clothes and descended into the Land Of Double Takes.

We didn’t plan for every contingency, however. We rarely planned anything back then. We discovered early that life is too short to be normal (and there was little chance of that, anyway). As John’s date was a “blind date” – only blind girls would date us – and I had been the one to pick her up and meet the parents, he didn’t know how to get her home.

Imagine 15 minutes of driving around, saying things like, “Now, do I turn here? I was steering-wheel dancing when I came the first time,” and “Keep going straight, correct? How about those Giants!!”

Unbelievably, we pulled it off and never saw either girl again. (The story of our teen lives.)