Within minutes of the breaking news that Mit Romney and Texas governor Rick Perry were twins separated at birth, I got a phone call on a secure line from my former missionary companion, Mit.
Before I provide an account of that phone call, I think it might be useful, in the event that you somehow missed the latest campaign bombshell, to give a brief summary of the rapidly developing story:
July 4: Mit and Rick run into each other at an Independence Day rally in Waterloo, Iowa. While Michele Bachmann is fondly reminiscing about her girlhood memories of movie great John Wayne, Mit and Rick literally bump into one another as they are strolling through the town square, each of them (not a coincidence, now that the truth is out about sharing the identical DNA) munching on a hot dog slathered with sweet relish, onions and French’s mustard (despite his days in Paris, France, Mit eschewed Dijon and stayed true to his boyhood favorite French’s, which he savored for the first time at a Detroit Tigers’ game in which Al Kaline hit for the cycle).
There is a moment of instantaneous recognition, though both men try to suppress the rush of filial love. Though they speak with different accents—Mit with the flat vowels of this Midwestern upbringing, Rick with his west Texas drawl—they speak the same words: “Hey there, hoss, how you doin’.”
“It was positively spooky,” said Hyrum Woolstenhulme, longtime campaign adviser to Mr. Romney. “Their greetings were absolutely synchronized, as if by divine design.”
July 6: During a debate sponsored by the Newton, Iowa, chapter of the Future Farmers of America, Mit and Rick keep casting furtive looks at each other, like a pair of boxers sizing each other up at a weigh-in. Debate moderator Regis Philbin chides both Mit and Rick for parroting each other’s remarks.
Then, during the popular Coke or Pepsi portion of the pageant, Mit and Rick express identical preferences. Both prefer Pepsi, both prefer light beer that is less filling, both prefer briefs over boxers, and both enjoy late-night walks in the rain.
July 9: With reporters sensing that Mit and Rick share a connection that goes beyond their superficial picture-frame male-model clean-cut good looks, both men are increasingly subjected to questions obviously designed to ferret out a filial connection. It turns out that both candidates are passionate followers not only of The Bachelorette, but also of pro bowling.
At one point it appears the quest to establish twinship will be derailed: A sharp-eyed investigative reporter notices that Mit’s highly-polished wing-tips have a two inch heel, giving him the extra height necessary to stare down the flinty-eyed Texan governor. Everyone breathes a big sigh of relief when a shoe stolen by a hotel maid from Rick’s Comfort Inn room is shown by forensic specialists to contain a two-inch lift.
July 11: In an event honoring the 50th anniversary of the hit musical The Music Man, Mit and Rick both don band uniforms and march down Main Street in Mason City, Iowa, while displaying expert skills on the 75th and 76th trombone. Saliva surreptitiously gathered from the trombone mouthpieces is rushed to a portable DNA lab, where it is determined to a 99.99 percent degree of certainty that Mit and Rick are identical twins.
But not until Governor Perry announces that he is downsizing his name, a la Mit, from Rick to Ric, is there conclusive evidence that the two men were separated at birth.
To tell you the truth, I had an inkling a long time ago that Mit and Ric were identical twins. One of the giveaways was Ric’s similarity to George Romney. Ric has George’s rough-hewn charm. As for Mit, try as he might, he just can’t pull off the charm thing.
This was abundantly clear when he woke me up at 3 in the morning just yesterday, once again railing against the fates and bemoaning his ill luck.
“Just when I thought I had successfully sidelined Jonny Huntsman by bagging all the Utah endorsements, along comes Perry to steal my thunder. I can forgive almost everything, but not him stealing my downsizing idea and shortening his name from Rick to Ric.”
“But Mit, this is gonna turn out great,” I said. “Not only can each of your serve as the other’s body double, you’ve got a no-brainer of a campaign slogan: Double Your Pleasure with Mit and Ric.”
Mit paused. “Well, we do look darn good in berets.”
D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.