Fat TJ

We all see people on the train that we think are dead ringers for our cousin, our co-worker, our spouse’s friend from college with the halitosis issues.

We also periodically encounter friends and loved ones who tell us how they’ve seen our doppelganger–a co-worker or fellow train passenger who looks exactly like us. Then we finally see the person, and wonder what the heck all the fuss was about.

What doesn’t happen very often is this: Seeing someone on the train who looks eerily like you.

Indeed, most every morning on my train from Hawthorne, I see the man I’ve begun to call Fat TJ. He’s got my hair, my sideburns, my height, my indifferent pairing of collared shirts and cheenos, my headphones, my mask of weary apathy as we step off the train and assume our place on the Gotham hamster wheel each day.

Only he’s got about 30 pounds on me.

Folks, Fat TJ.

Just before the doors are to open on the train in Grand Central, Fat TJ ambles over to the vestibule, same as I do. As I do I’m self-conscious that others on the train, taking a break from their Blackberry or Journal News, will look up, see the both of us, and say, “Twins!” Maybe another vestibule-denizen will point out our similarities to both of us, with a quip like, “You guys, like, brothers?” or, “I guess I missed the memo that said to look exactly like you two guys! Ha Ha!”

Such an exchange would prompt me and Fat TJ to look at each other, as if looking in the mirror (albeit the distorted funhouse variety), and share the most awkward moment known to man.

I initially thought about switching my morning train to avoid Fat TJ, or even relocating and hopping on another train line altogether. But then I decided to put Fat TJ to good use: each morning, he’s good motivation to eat a little more healthily, walk to the office instead of letting the 6 do my dirty work, and maybe even lose the Brandon Walsh ‘burns.

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