A real double take: Readers share their cases of mistaken identity
… In the early 1990s, Brian Knowlton’s father, James Knowlton, was a professor in the education department at Indiana University Bloomington.
“Knowlton is not a terribly common surname, but at some point, unbeknownst to us, another James Knowlton moved to Bloomington,” wrote Brian, who lives in Silver Spring, Md. “This younger James Knowlton, it turned out, had a PhD in particle physics, but came up with the rather improbable idea of producing a poster titled ‘Penises of the Animal Kingdom.’”
This was a poster of … well, the title pretty much sums it up. The poster was later awarded the Ig Nobel Prize in art, a parody of the Nobel Prize.
Brian’s family was quite unaware of this parallel-universe James Knowlton until one day his mother answered the phone and heard the caller say he wanted to order a copy of “Penises of the Animal Kingdom.”
Wrote Brian: “A very long silence ensued on her end. It took a while to sort out — I’m sure there was a fairly interesting behind-closed-door conversation between my parents — but anyway, for a while, ‘Sorry, wrong number’ was heard a bit more often in our place.”
NOTE: The image shown here is a photograph of a framed copy of the poster on display in a museum in Reykjavik, Iceland.