I have enough ignorance about physics to accept that there may be an infinite number of realities and therefore an infinite number of Chris Wehkamps inhabiting them.
Recent events have led me to imagine one of my doppelgangers in surprising detail. Also, I've always wanted to use that word.
My alternate self is taller than me and much paler. He sports a pencil-thin mustache. He believes that it lends him an air of sophistication, but it actually makes him look like the Red Baron. He smokes very expensive French cigarettes. He has less hair on his head than I do and wears cologne every day. He owns and regularly uses a shoehorn.
His profession (no, passion) is as a wine critic for a respected national publication, one which provides an expense account and a business-class travel upgrade to him. He spends the majority of his time either tasting wine in his mahogany-paneled study or reading other wine critics reviews. He pays special attention to which adjectives seem over-used (and therefore out of fashion) and keeps an impeccably accurate list of them in his head.
His loftiest professional goal is to invent a new adjective in one of his reviews that so perfectly describes a flavor or smell that it immediately becomes the new descriptor of choice for wine critics everywhere. This achievement, he dreams, will be his greatest legacy.
He likes the sound of 'smackulent' but can't decide if a smackulent taste should be tart or sweet. His second choice is 'clappy-whappernt' but fears that there may be pronunciation problems. Deciding which new word to unleash upon the world keeps him up very late some nights.
I will never be this Chris, you may all rest assured.
But I was provoked to imagine him the other day, when I discovered to my surprise that I had won the Grand Prize in a national wine reviewing contest.
The short version of the tale is that our friend Christie put Sarah up to putting me up to writing a 100 word wine criticism for a contest sponsored by the Hall Vineyards Wine Club, of which Christie and her boyfriend are members.
I drank a glass, tossed-off some flowery speech, and pressed send. A week later, and I'm a nationally celebrated wine critic. Or, Christie is. The link to the website and contest results are here.
Still, a limo and a fancy meal for us and eight friends is a startlingly generous reward for typing some guesswork while drinking.
Below I have included my first-attempt, National Grand-Prize Winning wine critique:
“Hall Merlot 2005 presents itself on the palate as a sublimely dry cloudburst. This wine is as masculine and arid as licking the page of a Hemingway novel. At first. Then the aftertaste presents a sumptuous surprise. The grape reveals its sweetness in a five-count past the first toast. It would be right at home shattered across the prow of a manly schooner, but would shine at the opening night of your next art gala. The guests will admire this wine’s robust class and indulgent finish. Hall Merlot 2005 is a power lunch that concludes with your promotion.”
As my Kansas relatives would say, you better get your wading boots on. It's getting deep in here.
The truth is, I'm happy to have won. Even happier if a Hall Vineyards representative comes to the dinner to meet Christie, their star wine critic. I'm sure she'll be willing to give them an on-the-spot review of the Miller Lite she's drinking out of a can.
We love you Christie, you've made our lives more interesting. And thanks for giving me cause to get a glimpse of my doppelganger.
And cause to use doppelganger five times.