Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Seeing Double: Growing up with an identical twin brother

by Jon Rothendler ’14

For most people, the biggest difference between college and high school is the obvious lack of parental oversight and control. I’m sure a large group of us found it strange to be away from siblings, friends, and the familiar surroundings of home. For me, the biggest difference is that I am no longer associated with my identical twin. It probably does not help that your DNA is also identical. Unless people have been around you for a while, it is almost impossible to tell the difference. We went to the same camps, had the same friends, took the same vacations, and even played on the same damn sports teams. Going over to a friend’s house was almost always a package deal. Of course I was the more athletic one; or that’s what I thought. I am sure he thought the same thing too. Sports, video games and everything in between, I always knew my brother was not better than me. It is funny to ever think of yourself as inferior to someone who is literally you. This causes us to argue over everything. Nothing is off limits. I am furious when he beats me at anything, and he is the exact same way.

Fights were pretty much no holds bar, so broken bones happened more frequently than my mom would have liked. It is not all bad though. There are definitely a lot of perks to having a twin. For one thing, I always had a friend to hang out with during the day, night, or whenever the hell we wanted to kick it. My fighting skills were not too shabby either. Since we were so similar skill-wise, all of the one-on-one competitions we had would always be really close (leading to more fighting, of course.) We obviously took full advantage of all the awesome things you can only do with a twin. Forgot my license? My brother has my back. Are you Matt? Yes I am, how can I help you? The 8th grade April Fool’s day class switch was fun, but that actually ended badly after four periods. Think along the lines of a really angry phone call to my parents explaining the schools terms of suspension.

When I came to college I had a decision to make. Tell people there was another me out in the world, or just do not advertise the fact that I am a twin. I decided on the latter. Being a twin has its rewards, but trying to be someone unique is hard when you see yourself across the kitchen table every morning. I do not regret being born a twin, mostly because I did not have a choice. I often wonder what growing up without a twin would be like, but I know I could never be me if I was not a twin. My brother, Matt, is me in every way possible. It is a bizarre and fascinating life. But if I could have decided, I would not change a thing.

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