In college there was this guy we’d always see in the dining hall; he was a freshman and my friends and I were juniors. My friend Adam claimed he looked like Matt Damon. This was somewhat disputed, but sometimes we could see it.
Regardless, we all referred to him as “Matt Damon,” and talked about him kind of a lot — not because he was doing much of anything notable, but because we could call him “Matt Damon.” “Matt Damon almost bumped into me at the salad bar,” for instance. It was a strange complication when we learned his actual name was Carlos. That didn’t seem to fit.
He was good friends, it seemed, with this kid we called “Favorite Kid.” Favorite Kid was obviously everyone’s favorite kid. He always had a smile on his face, and was always at a table overstuffed with his new college friends. His dorm mates would light up when he entered the room. (Favorite Kid doesn’t fit in anywhere in the Good Will Hunting scheme of things, but is notable for simply being friends with Matt Damon.)
Last year Ted and I started seeing Ben Affleck at our gym, here in Cambridge. He is a trainer, and is actually not Ben Affleck — similar to Carlos’s Matt Damon qualities, the distinct Affleck-look isn’t always obvious. He is, for lack of a better term, “huskier” — Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting is to Vince Vaughn in Swingers as Ben Affleck at the gym is to Vince Vaughn in The Break-Up, but I suppose that analogy breaks down when regarding the extra poundage in The Break-Up as due to fatty-tendencies, not from being a gym trainer.
Occasionally, though, one had to do a double take, because BEN AFFLECK IS SPOTTING SOMEONE AT THE BENCH PRESS!
Somehow these Fake Celebrity interactions are much more satisfying than actual celebrity run-ins. (Okay, I made eye-contact with Jerry O’Connell at the Whitney Biennial — it’s my finest achievement and just a wonderful sentence to say; I would never say anything to discount its effect on my life.) Anyway, the point is, Fake Celebrities don’t disappoint; they don’t make Daredevil.
Though I think we did once see Favorite Kid on campus one night, very wasted, yelling while stumbling, with not a smile on his face. I suppose that was Favorite Kid’s Gigli.