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Monday, July 22, 2024

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Joyride III – Keith Forrest

By Rick Racela

Now I know what it’s like to be a celebrity.  Actually, I know what itâs like to be one of their “handlers.”  My wife Kris and I had twins in December.  When you have twins, a trip anywhere is similar to a Hollywood movie premiere. As we try to make our way to the frozen food aisle, throngs of well wishers try to get a piece of our two pint-sized stars.  “Are they twins?” they squeal as if they had just caught a glimpse of their favorite starlet. 
Just like real celebrity handlers, we found this all very exciting at first. But when it started taking an hour to extract some frozen peas from the local grocer, we became more hardened. The twins, just like many real celebrities, seem to enjoy basking in the glow of their public. They will bat their eyes and conjure up extra cute coos when fans descend.  The twins get a somewhat perverse little smile on their faces after an encounter as if to say, “Yes darling, I am all that.”
Similar to real celebrities, part of the appeal appears to be the rarity. How often do you see a famous actor or actress at the supermarket? Since only one out of every 90 pregnancies results in twins, the world is not exactly bursting with them. People crave the unusual.   
Sometimes we cover the twins up slightly with a blanket, just to throw John Q. Public off the scent.  Soon, weâre going to go to more common celebrity tricks such as the sun glasses and rustled hair so they can blend better, looking like everyday babies. 
The only Hollywood trapping missing from our jaunts from the parking lot into the supermarket is the whirring of the paparazzi. Well, that and the fact that the twins arrive in a minivan. Just like real celebrities, the twins often get inane questions.  Our favorite is, “Are they identical?”  Since Elijah is a boy, and Madeline is a girl, this is hardly possible. We put them in the proper color coding to make this evident.  Weâve been given an avalanche of blue and pink garments from friends and family to make sure they have separate identities.
Kris used to find the “identical” question sort of charming. Just like real celebrities probably find autograph seekers to be “sweet,” at first. Now she sort of glares at the question and responds with, “Yes, until I change their diaper.”  Just like real fans, the dripping sarcasm is often lost on the question asker. 
While mom and dad have gotten a bit worn down from all the attention the twins receive, Elijah and Madeline continue to relish it. When fans appear at the local grocer, the twins seem to know the spotlight is on them. They shift into a slightly different mode, as if playing a role.  Sure, they’re sweet and charming most of the time.  But in public, they seem to dig a little deeper as if a director is standing there saying, “More dimples!” 
Anywhere we go, there is never a shortage of people who want to hold the twins.  Why not? They’re cute. They’re cuddly.  And who wouldn’t bask in their glow for a few minutes. It’s just that glow can become a bit blinding when you’re trying to pick up milk and eggs.       
 
Forrest is an assistant professor of communication at Atlantic Cape Community College. His late mother Libby Demp Forrest Moore wrote the Joyride column for this newspaper for 20 years.

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