Maroon submarine

I once saw Ringo Starr up close. I was walking down the street in Rome with my wife, when Mr. Starr came out of a building and crossed the street right in front of us.

Very surprising. I’m not the biggest Beatles fan in the world but I knew that beard, that nose, that look.

My wife is still – after nine years – sceptical. She says that “it most certainly wasn’t Ringo.”

Then again, what was not surprising was the fact that I thought I saw someone I recognized. At the hockey world championship in Switzerland in May, I saw familiar faces everywhere. Of course, I knew most of those people, but I also saw a couple of just familiar faces.

People who reminded me of somebody I know. I said Hi to a Swiss reporter who looked just like a Finnish reporter I know. Obviously, I didn’t look like anybody he knew because he just walked by me.

I’ve always done that, I’ve always commented on how my friends look like celebrities, or described people’s looks by comparing them to someone else, so it must be the way my brain works. It’s probably not an unusual thing. People probably – I say probably because I have no scientific data and didn’t find anything to support this on the first Google search page, either – see the familiar characteristics and take some shortcuts to create the image. When we know somebody, we could pick them anywhere, in any lineup.

Obviously, we sometimes take shortcuts that cut a little too much, and we don’t all use the same reference points, and we simply see things in a different way.

Which is why this guy can make an extra buck as a (former England manager) Sven-Göran Eriksson lookalike. And this guy as Andre Agassi.


Lookalike business must be a precarious one. Here today, gone tomorrow, just like Bing Crosby. And what does it take to declare yourself a Cameron Diaz lookalike? A big ego.

According to one face recognition site, I’m a spitting image of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Can you see it?

I’m pretty much hoping you can’t.

How does that make you feel?