Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hello, My Name Is ...

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.
Patrick Jarenwattananon
Music Intern
Not Patrick Frank


Haley Bridger said...

Since I'm out in CA and have not seen the dual-Patrick phenomenon myself, I was really glad you used photos to help illustrate the more complicated ideas in this post. The Olsen twin picture was especially helpful in conveying your doppelganger-induced angst! From one liberal arts student to another, I'd give you an A+.

Stephen said...

For me, it's a matter of either treating you as interchangeable or addressing you both as "Patrick Frank or Jarenwattananon." I simply decided to opt for the former.

Anonymous said...

Patrick's...I can sympathize but you don't have it so bad.
During ONE term we had these names and people interning at NPR:


Doug, simply put.

Allison said...

Dear Patrick, I will add to the melange of name comments by saying that in middle school there were six other Allisons. There is also in existence another Allison Chang, spelled exactly that way, who went to pre-, elementary and highschool with me and whose blame I often got (e.g. Allison, I heard that you called Debbie thisnthat! You are so mean!/So what was up with that CRAZY PARTY last night, Allison?!?).

Also, the first picture of PATRICK was absolutely fantastic. It's of Zardoz proportions of badness.

Allison said...

I meant the second picture of Patrick.