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The Saga of the Evil Twins

  • November 14, 2000
  • By Brian Proffitt

What is it with evil twins that captures the imagination?

If you look at that bastion of American culture, Gilligan's Island, no less than three of the seven castaways had some kind of doppelganger show up on their uncharted island. With those kind of odds, you just know someone's out there that look just like you.

Evidence has indeed shown that I personally have a twin out there in the world. Friends have told me of a minister in the Brethren church in Ohio that looks just like me. Some have even gone up to this guy thinking he was me. Now, given this man's occupation, I'm pretty sure I'm the evil twin. (Trust me, minister is not what the high school guidance counselor recommended for me.)

The identity crisis goes even further than that, it seems. If you were to call information in my semi-large Midwestern city, you would find there was not one but two Brian Proffitts in our city. I know this because I keep getting phone calls for this guy. Apparently he has lots of lady friends, as near as I can tell. Needless to say, some of the calls are kind of creepy.

There is even one more odd little parallel. Some of you who are not so new to computers may have seen my name a few years back writing OS/2 books and various NT articles. I hate to break it to you, but that wasn't me--it was Brian Proffit. I first ran into confusion with this guy when I was an editor for a computer book publisher. People would get puzzled over the phone when I was talking them through Windows stuff and would inevitably ask "hey, when did you decide to come over from OS/2?"

And then there'd be that awkward pause while my brain tried to unlock itself.

Upon my conversion to the forces of good, I found that I had not yet left the legacy of Mr. Proffit behind. I attended LinuxWorld in New York last January and was visited by several people who wanted to see the former OS/2 guru now Linux author. I haven't seen that many disappointed faces since I stopped going out on blind dates.

I do not know where Mr. Proffit is these days. Some have said he no longer writes about computers. I hope to meet him someday, at one of these conferences, and share stories of how people had me confused with him.

So the next time you laugh off the concept of an evil twin, just remember: I am one.

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