The idea of parallel universes has long been the stuff of science fiction and occultist metaphysical speculation. But if they aren't real, then explain this:
There are two different interns named Patrick working at NPR this summer. Both are working on the 5th Floor of 635 Mass. Ave, in Digital Media. Specifically, both are working with the music staff, recently folded under the Digital Media umbrella. Both are about 6'2", own black Converse All-Stars, and grew up close to the Illinois-Wisconsin border. Both have aliases on this Intern Edition blog. Both are also strikingly [cough] intelligent and good looking. Excuse me, I have something in my throat. Something strikingly intelligent and good looking, that is.
One of these Patricks is, obviously, me. I cannot explain the existence of this other, second me.
My background in the liberal arts leads me to suggest literary, albeit admittedly implausible explanations. (What else is the academy for?) Writers have long theorized the concept of a double or an other to dramatize existential self-doubt. In a related vein, the idea of the doppelganger, the sinister apparitional twin, has also held currency in paranormal myth and legend.
Neither idea seems to me particularly appealing, though. For one, I know I exist: cognito, ergo sum. The other Patrick, while a good guy--I cannot confirm his reality.
Neither can anyone else in the music department. Stephen Thompson, online music producer, refuses even to attempt to distinguish between us. "I'll treat both of you as interchangeable," he said. "When I ask one of you to do something, I'll assume that I can ask the other for a status report. And when I call for one of you, I expect both of you to come running." (Something tells me that Stephen is being a little bit facetious, though. After all, this is a man who spent the overwhelming majority of his adult life at The Onion; furthermore, you never see anybody running in the hallways here.)
When we were introduced to the staff on our first day, Bob Boilen (director, "All Things Considered"; host, "All Songs Considered") tried to devise a classification system for us Patricks. The other Patrick quickly reserved "Patrick 1" to him and assigned me--O Grave Affront!--"Patrick 2." I immediately disputed this claim. If anything, I am clearly the primary Patrick, for I was assigned a far superior cubicle, quite possibly the best in the room. (This is also anomalous, since I seem to be the youngest, least experienced, and least skilled human being in the Digital Media room. Not that I'm complaining.)
All kidding aside, Pat and I are buddies, and sometimes we even hang together doing nothing other than celebrating our freakish similarity. I mean, c'mon: how many people in the world can there really be who are named Patrick AND like good music? If there are others, they must live in parallel universes.
Not Patrick Frank