Sometimes, having an identical twin brother can be a tad problematic. Indeed, to be frank, being mistaken for my twin brother Andy has caused me more than my share of anguish over the years − not just at school, but at work and in my personal life too.
Fortunately, my brother now lives in the US and so, naturally, there are fewer chances for us to be confused with one another. That’s, of course, unless we both happen to turn up at the same industrial trade show, which is exactly what happened at this year’s NIWeek in Austin, Texas.
Well aware that he would be attending the show, I decided to visually differentiate myself from my twin by purchasing and then donning a rather handsome Stetson hat, conscious of the fact that he would never bless his own greying pate with such a beautiful item of clothing.
This wheeze, however, fell flat on its face on the very first day of the show when several colleagues of my twin addressed me as ‘Ten-Gallon’ Andy. Somewhat perturbed by the rather peculiar form of salutation, I swiftly abandoned my superb hat for the duration.
Sadly, though, with nothing to discriminate us, things went from bad to worse − most notably when I stopped by the booth of Cyth Systems, a San Diego, California, outfit headed up by an English chap by the name of Andrew Long, who I had never met before.
Unbeknown to me, however, my brother was an intimate acquaintance of Mr Long, having known him for many years. Indeed, Mr Long was also so familiar with my brother that, when I approached his booth, in a classic case of mistaken identity, I was treated to a huge bear hug from the man.
After we both had a jolly good chuckle about the misunderstanding, Mr Long explained to me the purpose of his new Circaflex product. Developed around National Instruments’ Compact Rio system, it allows system integrators to provide easy connectivity to a range of sensors and the like.
Later that same evening, when I came across my brother nibbling on some Mexican food from one of the tables that was on the show floor, I took the opportunity to mention my rather amusing encounter with Mr Long and the new system that he had developed.
Being my brother, the very next day he decided to check out Mr Long’s system himself and, needless to say, before he did so he greeted the hapless fellow with a hearty bear hug similar to the one that I had been given the day before.
Although I wasn’t present at that meeting, I understand that my twin’s particular form of greeting also caused much jocularity among the staff at Cyth Systems, as well as their leader. Personally, however, when I heard the news, I cringed in abject mortification.
Thankfully, I’m now safely home in England, the twin brother is far, far away and things have settled back to normality − for another year at least.
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