“Hey, who’s Doc Holliday?” He gestured in my direction as he spoke with my boss. A colleague, he was in town to meet the rest of the team that worked at this location. And as what so often happens when meeting people who are normally only a voice, I failed to place the face with a name. Apparently, he suffered from the same problem, and chose to associate an actor’s particular character with my own.
I’ll note that no one ever sees me and says: “Hey! He looks like George Clooney! So devilishly handsome!”. No, instead I was being compared to Val Kilmer’s character–the emaciated borderline psychopath on the cusp of death from Consumption. That was me. And it wasn’t the last time that I would hear that observation.
In truth, I had never seen the entirety of Tombstone. As far as Wyatt Earp movies went, I found it to be a forced rendition with unnecessary drama. The story itself is one of violence and drama, so I felt it odd that they pushed it so. Plus, it didn’t really address Holliday’s backstory. Instead, he just kind of shows up as a stylish badass with an uncanny ability to attract the ladies, despite his debilitating and infectious disease. I guess if I was going to be compared to someone, it was a lot better than Elijah Wood’s Frodo. I could live with it: a dying wealthy gunslinger with sexy ladies. Fine.
So when the office held a costume contest for Halloween, I decided to see just how convincing the emulation could be. I bought a cheap black cowboy hat and red vest. The rest of the outfit I conveniently already possessed, down to the silver pocketwatch. I even shaved (though I required mascara to darken the mustache that was increasingly turning white).
It’s not every day that I can make the security guard burst out laughing.
In the end, I lost the contest to Mary Poppins (bitch). But more importantly were the costume assessments I received. Notably, from multiple people, that my costume wasn’t all that different from the way I normally dress, and were it not for the hat, they might not have even noticed it was a costume at all.
I guess, in the end, the comparison had been accurate all along. For better or worse, I’m now permanently associated with the persona.
I’m your Huckleberry.