Several months ago, I started going to a different lab facility to have bloodwork done for my medical checkups. Since then, I have seen the woman who draws my blood in Jack’s in Attalla every so often. I always speak to her and her husband, but she always seems like she doesn’t know me — polite but distant. That’s not surprising. After all, I’m a new client, and she must see hundreds of clients.

When I went in last week, I mentioned seeing her in Jack’s. She said she’s never been in there at all. Uh-oh. It wasn’t her at all; it was her “double.” I’ve been politely “good morning-ing” the wrong person, who I’m sure is wonders how she knows the man who walks up to her and her husband to say hello. I felt like an idiot, and just sort of nodded the last time I saw “her” while waiting for biscuits.

Honestly, though, they could be twin sisters.

That got me thinking about all the times in my life that people have mistaken me for someone else. I seem to have one of those faces that somebody, somewhere, has seen sometime before but isn’t quite sure who, where or when.

The first time I remember being mistaken for someone else, I was about 19 or 20, and there was a manhunt for an alleged multiple murderer going on here in the county so intense that federal law enforcement authorities got involved. It lasted several days. It was on everyone’s mind. Three or four times during that manhunt, I would leave someplace and hear someone whisper loudly something like “That looks like that guy the cops are looking for.” It got so worrisome that I seriously thought of shaving off my beard — the only point of similarity I could see — until he was apprehended. Before I did, the law caught its man.

Around that same time, lots of folks mentioned that I looked “just like” a popular choir director at a local Baptist church. In this case, folks knew I wasn’t him — they simply remarked on the similarity. It’s folk wisdom that we all have a “double” somewhere, a belief so prevalent that whenever this particular case of mistaken identity occurred, people who brought it up would end with some variation on “Oh well, I guess we all have a double,” as if they were repeating a time-honored proverb.

The next two times I was mistaken for others had to do with how I was dressed. Once, home from college on a weekend, my mother and I went to Walmart. As we shopped, a young man came up to me and said, in an awed voice as if he were meeting a celebrity, “I don’t know you, but I just wanted to come over and say how much I respect you guys and what you do.”

I was at a complete and utter loss. Trying to figure out quickly what he was saying, the answer occurred to me. I was wearing jeans, a white T-shirt ... and a burgundy beret (don’t ask — I was in college, listening to lots of jazz music, and thought it was stylish). He thought I was a member of the Guardian Angels, the New York-based anti-crime activist group that patrolled the streets in similar outfits. They were in the news a lot back then, and I explained that I wasn’t one of them. He seemed disappointed as he walked off.

The next time it happened, I was working on the riverboat Alabama Princess in the mid-1990s. One night after work, I had stopped in a local fast-food place. While waiting in line, a guy walked up to me and — just like the last one — started telling me in awed tones how much he respected me for what I did. Confused, I asked him who I was. He mistook my riverboat uniform for a Navy SEAL uniform, and I disappointed another guy by having to explain that I wasn’t who he thought I was at all.

The last time it happened was far funnier. I’ve told this one before, but when I first started writing this column more than a decade ago, people recognized me in public from the picture at the top. It took some getting used to. One evening at an event, a very enthusiastic woman came up and told me how much she enjoyed the column, especially when I wrote about Alaska or Moscow — two places I definitely have neither been nor written about. I asked, “Ma’am, who do you think I am?” She replied, “You’re Darrell Norman, silly” and went right on telling me how good a writer I was. Former Gadsden Times columnist Darrell Norman is a great writer, and our columns often appeared side-by-side, but I’m not him. We both have beards, though.

Oh well, I guess we all have a double — even on the same page of the paper.

David Murdock is an English instructor at Gadsden State Community College. He can be contacted at murdockcolumn@yahoo.com. The opinions reflected are his own.