Ask a psychologist what an alter ego is and he’ll say, “It’s a personality disorder in which a person exhibits multiple, distinct personalities.”
Ask a writer and he’ll refer you to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Pose the question to a second grader and he might say, “It’s when you go to church and enter as one person, but when you leave you’re another.”
The ladies at my church will say, “Tracy’s Alter Ego emerged the night neon streaks of lightning flashed and thunder rumbled down the alley.”
They’re referring to Friday night. The night my French manicure and shoes glowed in the dark. The night my name and seventeen other names popped up on three overhead screens in the bowling alley.
I hadn’t bowled a game in four years. After five dismal frames, my Alter Ego’s cocky attitude emerged.
Blood surged through her veins. The next four frames, her bowling ball crashed into bottom heavy pins for a spare, a strike, and two more spares. Yeah!
One frame remained. She glanced up at the other two boards. She twisted around, squinted through the darkness, and zeroed in on her rival. “No no no! She’s four point ahead.” She scraped her teeth over a tongue that tasted like gritty sand. Then she tuned out claps of thunder, spit into her hands, threw back her shoulders, and dashed down the lane. Her hips swiveled and the shiny black object rumbled down the glassy surface.
The Alter Ego’s lips split into a Cheshire grin. After all, with a marksman’s aim, she knocked down five pins for her second strike of the evening.
Her rubber soles squeaked, sliding across the floor. She elbowed her way through the rest of the contestants, gabbing, and cackling like a brood of hens. She sneered. Didn’t the game matter? She skidded to a stop and breathed down her opponent’s neck. Spying tiny hairs standing at attention, she egged her on. “You’re gonna choke.”
Her opponent chuckled and flipped her back. She swung back her right arm and lobbed…a gutter ball.
The Alter Ego rubbed her clammy hands. “I’m gonna win.”
Her rival tossed the ball in the air. It landed in her palm like it belonged.
The Alter Ego held her breath.
Her opponent’s ball bounced, knocking over a two pin.
“Phew!” The Alter Ego spewed out spit that dribbled down her chin. “Up by two points.” Still, she knew it was down to the wire.
Her rival glanced over her shoulder. A smirk danced across her face. She flattened the remaining pins and won by two points.
The Alter Ego dropped her head to her chest, shuffled back to her lane, and flopped down on the bench. She kicked off her shoes. A pungent odor rose to meet her flared nostrils. She wrinkled her nose.
The champion strutted over.
The Alter Ego jumped up and gripped her rival’s hand. “Just wait until our next match.”
I’d had enough of the Alter Ego’s nonsense. I stuffed her back into her shell, and then smiled at my friend. “See you at church on Sunday.”
“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.”