It happened again at the opera last Friday night. During the intermission, the nice people sitting behind us struck up a conversation (she wanted to let us know how nice we looked!). We chatted about where we were from and what prompted us to come to the opera. Suddenly, the woman looked at me and the conversation switched gears:
Me: [Don't say it. Don't say it. Please, don't say it.]
Lady: Tom Hanks! You remind me of a young Tom Hanks.
[Wendy laughs and shakes her head; The woman sees this, then sees the look of incredulity on my face.]
Lady: I’m sorry. Is that bad? Did I say something wrong?
No, lady. You didn’t say anything wrong. It’s just that, for more than the past 20 years, I have lived with the “you remind me of Tom Hanks” on a continuous basis. It happens at every play in which I perform. It happens when I speak at a conference. For goodness sake, it happens randomly after talking to a strange woman at the opera for less than five minutes.
For the record, I love Tom Hanks’ work. He is an amazing actor, he seems like a nice person, and I take it as oddly complimentary that I remind people of him (It’s better than living with: ”You remind me of Rob Schneider”). I think Tom Hanks and I would get along well and would enjoy one another’s company. However, with all due respect, I have never tried to look like Tom Hanks, talk like Tom Hanks, act like Tom Hanks, or emulate Tom Hanks in any way.
I am perplexed (and, at times, really annoyed) by the Tom Hanks phenomenon.