A Man Who Looks Like Kenny Rogers 

Forget arguing about human cloning. That horse has bolted. I am living proof. A group of doppelgangers and I have unwittingly been passing amongst you for years.

With hindsight it seems that each clone was given an initial, individual, but significant imperfection to distinguish us from our brethren, with the imperfection designed to diminish with time so that, by age 40, we were all identical. If I am right, the trail is cold as to who cloned us and why, but my own personal theory involves a syndicate of deranged Nashville scientists.

My personal imperfection was my huge ears. At a school concert, when I was about 14 and struggling as it was through puberty, a girl behind me uttered the humiliating words “Could you take your ears off, I can’t see the orchestra.” Orchestra, mind you, not a solo artist or chamber quartet. They were some lugs.

With time, my head grew but the ears stayed constant. I trained my hair over my ears to restrain them. As I entered “middle age” I did likewise for the jowls and grew a beard. Too proud, or too lazy, I did not try to stem the onset of grey hair.

By 40, I was a man who looked like Kenny Rogers.

There are many ways for others to let you know that you look like Kenny Rogers. Most common is the disdainful approach: “Hey, check out Kenny Rogers” with each conveyor of this information misguidedly believing that he (yes it’s almost always a male) is the first to make that connection.

More subtle was the German backpacker, sidling up to me at a bar muttering “You’ve got to know ven to hold them, know ven to fold them.” Less subtle were the Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners fans, who, when I walked into the bar before the local derby, ceased their mutual chiacking to perform a unison version of “One Kenny Rogers, there’s only one Kenny Rogers” to the tune of Guantanamera. Very funny, but very wrong.

There are hordes of us out there. One of my cloned brethren works in the same profession as I, and, one day we were both at the same establishment. I arrived, walked past an acquaintance, whose presence I did not observe. She was, it turns out, standing by the only entrance and exit. Five minutes later my clone walked in the same entrance that I hadn’t exited. The poor girl is still having therapy.

In fact, there are so many of us out there that there is a website devoted to us. Page, after page, after page, of photographs of men who look like Kenny Rogers.

The idea of setting up the Menwholooklikekennyrogers.com site came to the site’s administrator, Jaimie Muehlhausen in about 1993 when he encountered for the first time a man who looked like, well by now I’m sure you know who I mean, in a shopping mall. Jaimie’s reaction was to point to his friends and say “Hey, check it out. It’s the Gambler.” Jaimie’s reaction reveals that it is possible to blend both the disdainful and the subtle approaches when one happens upon one of our kind.

With the explosion of the internet in the early 2000s, and the arrival of sites such as “mulletsgalore.com”, and “uglypeople.com”, Jaimie decided to put his chance meeting with a Kenny clone to use.

“I remember registering the domain name and laughing about how long it was. No one really did that at the time. I created the first version of the site in 2000 as a joke to send to a few friends. They started sending it around to other people and the next thing you know I was getting 100 people a day coming to the site. So I took it from the 4 or 5 pages that I had originally built and turned it into a full site. People started sending photos in and I expanded it over and over again and pretty soon I had 2,000-3,000 people a day coming to the site. I’ve had as many as 60,000 in a day, but now the site averages under 1,000 visitors a day”

Jaimie does not personally subscribe to my cloning theory. His explanation is far more mundane: “My theory is really just that most of the guys on the site have reached a certain age where they have turned grey, or white haired and they grew up in an era of slightly longer hair in the ‘70s. They have held onto that look a little too long, grown a beard and, consequently, have ended up looking like Kenny Rogers”.

But as a self-confessed “non Kenny Rogers lookalike”, what would Jaimie know?

Some years ago I saw Kenny interviewed by Bert Newton. At the time Kenny had shaved off his moustache and was sporting a mere goatee. I may be wrong, but I could swear I heard Kenny respond to Bert’s question about his changed appearance by saying: “Bert, I just got sick and tired of people coming up and asking if I was Brian Ralston?”

Jaimie acknowledges that it is the “Gambler era Kenny” that is the true test of whether a man looks like Kenny Rogers and that “the current actual Kenny Rogers looks nothing like that these days”.

That of course raises a strange paradox: I am a man who looks like Kenny Rogers, but Kenny Rogers isn’t.

Brian Ralston