Under the auspices of a fitness trip, (a.k.a. work off the baby fat, or rather toddler fat by that point) my husband and I were wiling away the time in the airport enroute to Canyon Ranch in 2002, when he handed me the latest copy of Jane magazine.
And there it was. The masthead. Smiling at me was the happy, blond editor-in-chief, Jane Pratt. Staring back at me was my own name. My name, sans the fame. So not-so-famous Jane read the issue cover to cover and pondered the parallels.
I had been a journalism major, and my career consisted of advertising copywriter, TV news reporter, TV weather anchor and public relations consultant. I hadn’t tried to scale the magazine side of media, but wow. How cool was that?
As the wheels started turning, reality landed me in Arizona where there were literal mountains to be climbed. So my attention turned back to the task at hand; slimming down while hiking up and up and eating less and less. Canyon Ranch rocked. (I highly recommend the carrot soup.) The hub and I left feeling fit, refreshed and cleansed from impurities.
I was back to my not-so-famous job as a communications consultant at a health insurer when the phone rang in my office.
“Hello, this is Mel Zuckerman, chairman and co-founder of Canyon Ranch and we were thrilled to have you here last week. We hope your stay was great. If there was anything you thought we could have done better, please don’t hesitate to give us that feedback. I’d like to invite you back again … And by the way, congratulations on your Adweek Editor of the Year Award…”
“Oh! Well, well… why thank you. Thank you so very much. Indeed, I’d be delighted to return for another visit.” Click. So much for having cleansed the impurities. Milk it for what it’s worth, right?
Feeling a tad bit guilty for slightly assuming her identity, I proceeded to write Jane Pratt a letter. Included were a copy of my resume and driver’s license to prove that I too am for real. And while not exactly the Doublemint Twins, we could’ve probably passed airport security back in the day. I offer myself up as a professional stand- in. Kind of a stunt double or “parent trap” switch should she need to be in two places at once or go stealth for any reason.
And then there are all the people who regularly call to congratulate me on my Sirius radio show. Except they can’t figure out the voice. “You sound so much different on the radio than you did on TV.” I keep them in a state of conundrum.
But wait. There’s more. Consider the following:
1. Jane’s middle name is Elizabeth. There are a gazillion Elizabeths in my family.
2. Jane has a precocious daughter whose name starts with the letter C. I have a precocious daughter whose name starts with C.
3. Jane’s JaneRadio cartoon figure of herself looks remarkably like Vanna White. That was my sobriquet in college.
4. We are about the same age, have about the same hair color and both make a living in media (probably not about the same ).
5. Jane knows lots of famous people. I went to college with Brad Pitt. So maybe it was a confluence of cosmic events that landed me a phone call from Jane Pratt. “Hi Jane Pratt. This is Jane Pratt.” The conversation flowed freely. Fortuitous, for sure.
While I haven’t done a Laura Buxton thing and put my name and address in a helium balloon, where another girl named Laura Buxton finds it many miles away and they later meet to discover all sorts of bizarre similarities, I do hope to simply meet in NYC for a coffee or something; at Serendipity, of course.