One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is if Schwes and I ever played tricks on people. Well, yes. This time of year one in particular comes to mind:
One Christmas when we were probably in our late teens, Schwes asked for one gift: P.S. I Love You perfume by Bath & Body Works. Pretty simple, so I bought it for her. But she was being a little obnoxious in the asking, so I also bought the matching body wash and made sure that was the first thing she opened Christmas day. I then hid her perfume far under the tree and volunteered myself to be Santa, ensuring she’d open the perfume last.
I knew my plan was a success the second she opened the body wash. This slightly crestfallen look came over her face and I almost felt bad — except she very soon became angry and frustrated, looking for her perfume but not able to say anything because in my family you do not get to complain about gifts (I tried once. It didn’t end well).
So, annoying little sister that I am let Schwes stew in her misery for a few hours, until it came time to open the last present. Her sheepish thankful joy was the perfect culmination of that day, and it spawned the habit of saying “Psst. I love you,” anytime we passed one another.
But you didn’t come here to read about those kinds of tricks, did you? No, you want to know if Schwes and I ever flaunted our twinhood and rudely fooled our very good friends and family.
My earliest memory of trying to trick someone was around 6 years old. In efforts to help others tell us apart, Schwes wore pink, and I wore blue or purple. One day I put on a pink dress and plodded downstairs to ask, “Daddy, do you know who I am?” (He cheated, by the way. He always looked for this freckle on my right temple that apparently Schwes didn’t have. Psh).
The rest of elementary, junior high and high school were taken up with an identity/individuality crisis, so we did everything possible to avoid looking or behaving like twins. But college? That’s a different story.
We prepped for college by buying 4-5 matching outfits. Our first week on campus we matched every single day. Unfortunately for our wardrobe that couldn’t persist all year, so we decided Wednesdays would become Twindnesdays, and we matched every single Wednesday of our college career until I started student teaching off campus. I’ll tell you more about Twindnesday another time.
Through most of our college career the jokes were small and harmless. Schwes would never skip a class for a prank, but sometimes I would go sit in the first five minutes of her class with her, just to see what the teacher would do. One teacher — who knew us both — counted his students 3 times before figuring out there were two of us sitting right next to each other. It was like this old trick:
Schwes is a bit of an introvert, and she confessed to me that she’d walk down the sidewalk pretending to be me, so that when casual acquaintances said hello, she wouldn’t have to say hi back. Goodness.
We were both nighttime custodial crew chiefs, so we could sub for one another. Once I had her sub and didn’t tell anyone on my crew what was happening. It took them all night to figure out why “I” was acting so strange!
Unintentional mixups were amusing as well. One day Schwes and I walked into our campus coffee shop and the barista looked up, startled, “Oh! There’s two of you!” I’m a little nervous how much coffee she thought we were drinking… Walking down the sidewalk, we frequently get a joking “hey, didn’t I just pass you? Har har har,” but when the dean of seminary says so in all sincerity — on April Fool’s day — your day just gets that much more amusing.
We’ve not played many tricks recently, especially since Schwes lives in Switzerland and I live in South Carolina. We weren’t the most devious of twins, but we have definitely enjoyed our twinhood to its fullest over the years. Have any stories of your own? If so, I’d love to hear them!
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and happy 2017!