My Brother, My Twin

Not many people can say that they met their best friend before they were born, but I can. He is my former womb mate, my brother, my identical twin.

Columns From: 2/5/2003 Modern Machine Shop, ,

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Mark Albert

Mark has been writing his Mark: My Word column every month since January, 1981.

Not many people can say that they met their best friend before they were born, but I can. He is my former womb mate, my brother, my identical twin. Quite literally, Greg and I have known each other our whole lives. And quite literally, we are made of the same stuff. Genetically, we are carbon copies, nature’s own successful form of cloning.

Today, our lives follow remarkably similar paths, but the paths are very much in parallel, with few social and professional overlaps. Many of our acquaintances are unaware that we each have a biological duplicate. Although we are not the mirror images we used to be, unexpected encounters with the two of us together can still be startling for some.

Growing up with an identical twin brother was a lot of fun, but it was not without some adjustments. Naturally, we shared almost everything as kids—the same bedroom, some of the same clothes and even some toys. But that was OK. In another sense, we could also share our thoughts and feelings and our hopes and dreams. Having a constant companion throughout these experiences gave them an added dimension. There was always a second opinion, another impression and a slightly different perspective to exchange.

Greg and I had our little squabbles now and then, but neither of us ever resented the other’s presence. Intuitively, we found out how to create our own privacy while side by side. We learned to be a pair of separate and distinct personalities who were also capable of functioning as a uniquely cohesive team. Even when having a look-alike double created that most dreaded of adolescent calamities—not being like everybody else—we didn’t let it weaken the bond. We refused to become rivals.

After high school our lives veered in different directions, but a dozen years later, they began to converge again uncannily.

Now, as middle-aged adults, having so much in common is one of the things we treasure most. We’ve watched each other become happily married dads raising families (our children are very close in age) and experiencing all of the usual ups and downs of parenting. Today, when Greg and I are together by ourselves, we often reminisce about long ago childhood happenings. We advise each other on the current challenges and riddles of life. We daydream about hobby-filled retirements lying years ahead.

Most of all, we simply enjoy being the best of friends who share not only an uncommon kinship but also a special brand of brotherly love. 

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