My Doppelganger Drives a Mercedes

Last year, I found my doppelganger.

On a lark, I had typed my not-exactly-common name into the search box on Facebook. I was curious to see if there were other Mark Petruskas out there in the world, and if so, what they were like. To my surprise, there were several of us. Enough, as a matter of fact, to comprise the starting lineup of an NBA team. Granted, we would probably suck if the other Mark Petruskas are anything like me. I wasn’t exactly blessed with the tallness gene and about the only thing I can slam dunk is coffee, but that isn’t really the point. I was rather surprised that there were so many of us out there, having always figured I had a unique name and was, therefore, one of a kind. My bubble that day was burst.

Curiosity quickly overcame any lingering animosity over the fact that I was merely another John Smith, and I decided to send a friend request to the Mark Petruska who appeared to be the most like me. He is a year or two younger, married, has two kids – a boy and a girl – and lives in Connecticut. He’s a liberal who was fervently pushing the passage of Obama’s health care plan, even. Granted, he’s a Steelers fan, but nobody is perfect. I included a personal message that said simply Why not? and was thrilled when he accepted my request that same day. Suddenly, I was friends with myself. How cool!

Commenting back and forth was fun. Some of our friends were understandably confused, thinking we were adding comments to our own posts. Hell, I was confused sometimes when I’d log in, find a status update from myself, and not remember posting it. Especially when it talked about doing something with the wife (I don’t have one) or the job (again, don’t have one). My heart would race, and I’d panic momentarily, wondering how much alcohol I had consumed the previous evening, before I realized the update came from Mark Petruska v. 2.0 and not me. Whew! The funny thing is, over the past year and a half, he and I have sort of become real friends. We follow each other’s updates, look at posted photos, comment on important life events. If I were in town and he was hosting a barbecue, I’m sure he’d extend an invitation to me. And the steak would be damn good, too. He is a Mark Petruska, after all. I have long ago gotten over the fact that he’s probably the bastard who stole the gmail address I coveted.

There’s just one thing I didn’t bargain for. His life is far more glamorous than mine.

My brother from another mother drives this car. (Courtesy of

My first inkling of this came a year ago, when he posted pictures of his shiny, gleaming, brand new silver Mercedes Benz E350. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with my Santa Fe. But it is almost ten years old, has 107,000 miles on the odometer, is pockmarked with hail damage, and is…despite its dependability…still a Hyundai. Nobody talks about fine Korean engineering (though in all fairness, those Germans can’t make kimchee worth crap). Did I mention that his wife looks like a freakin’ supermodel? I’m happily in love now, but at the time my personal life was hell, and this just seemed like one more stab in the eye. I searched for possible chinks in their marital armor – surely nobody’s life could be that perfect, even with such an awesome name – but between all their sweet-and-sassy back-and-forth Facebook chatter and the numerous photos of their happy, smiling nuclear family – could find none. They were, naturally, living the American Dream.

A week ago he posted, {Wife} surprised me and planned a weekend in New York City. Just finished lunch and now shopping. 

Shut up.

And then, yesterday. On the plane to Aruba. Can’t wait to hit the beach!!!

Really, Mark? Really?!?!

Aruba doesn't look *that* nice. (Courtesy of

I suggested we switch lives for a few days, but I don’t expect a response. He’s no doubt too busy frolicking in the sand and surf and enjoying some rum-based beverage complete with a slice of pineapple impaled by a plastic sword and a tiny folding paper umbrella sticking out of the top. Is it wrong of me to hope he comes back with a bad sunburn? Homeboy is showing me up something fierce.

I kid, of course. I like the guy, and I’m glad somebody as deserving as a Mark Petruska is living such an awesome life.

And the truth is, as we head into Thanksgiving week, I am in a very good place myself. I’ve never been happier, and have much to be thankful for. This has been a year to remember – one for the ages – and I feel incredibly fortunate. Honestly, I wouldn’t switch places with the other Mark Petruska even if I could. As great as his life is, I know that mine is better.

I’d still take the keys to that Mercedes, though…


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

19 thoughts on “My Doppelganger Drives a Mercedes

  1. Aruba? Pssh…I’d take a BTS show and a Dutch Brothers Kicker over a tropical island any day. Besides, do you have any idea how much the insurance and maintenance would cost on a Mercedes? Yep, you got it way better. 😉


  2. Actually, I agree. I’ve had enough tropical islands to last me a lifetime! You+me+Seattle was magic enough. Which just goes to show that it doesn’t matter where you are so much as who you’re with.

    And that is why my life is much better than his.


  3. The good news is:

    1) You have my daughter with the heart of gold. She will shower you with love and tenderness and all the good stuff that money can’t buy.

    2) While a Mercedes is probably a really nice car, could you really enjoy driving it that much without the worries of a possible ding now and then. And let’s not forget that said ding would cost more than I make in a year to repair. With the Santa Fe, you don’t have to worry about any of that. It’s a win-win!

    3) The other Mark couldn’t possibly have your talent for writing, therefore, he wouldn’t have the groupies that you do.

    Yep, I have to agree. Your life is better!


  4. LOVED this post, Mark!

    And I think you answered yourself in your last line, which btw, is BRILLIANT!

    ” Honestly, I wouldn’t switch places with the other Mark Petruska even if I could. As great as his life is, I know that mine is better.”


    However, now I’m going to head over to Facebook and type in my name to see if there are any other Ron Carnavil’s – HA!

    Hope you had a faaaaaaaaaaaabulous weekend, buddy!


  5. Your doppelganger puts mine to shame. I found a photographer Tori Nelson who seems to be going through a “dark phase” and a female boxer who looks, well, not so much like a female 😦


    1. The question is, did our prizefighter Tori Nelson look like a dude before she took up a boxing career, or did that happen only after being on the receiving end of one too many left hooks?


  6. That’s hilarious Mark! I was confused when I saw him posting on your page earlier this morning. I thought you changed your profile pic!


  7. Could be worse. Your doppelganger could be a diaper-wearing astronaut, like mine. I also thought I had a one-of-a-kind name. Life has a way of being really snarky sometimes.


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