When I heard about Dance Marathon my first year at UCLA, I was absolutely thrilled. Thousands of people getting together in silly outfits raising money to fight pediatric AIDS? What could possibly be wrong about that? Everyone I know who has participated in Dance Marathon loves it. I have even had the privilege of meeting a few children whose lives were changed by it. But as much as I’d love to celebrate the efforts of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation among other charities this weekend, once again, 26 hours will go by, hundreds of thousands of dollars will be raised, and none of that will go towards helping me kill my doppelganger.
To be clear, I have nothing against Dance Marathon. Not too long ago, when I was still in control of my own life, I was a regular participant in it. I prided myself in my ability to exceed my own fundraising goals—last year, in fact, I raised nearly 1,400 dollars for the cause. None of this seems relevant now that there is a creature parading around campus, talking to my friends, attending lectures and going by “Eric J. Matthews”.
Not only does my doppelganger look like me, but it is a convincing mimic as well. Already, my doppelganger has completely mastered my every mannerism and the nuances of my speech to the point that when I catch it posting on my social media accounts, I can barely tell which posts are actually mine. In person, not even my closest friends or family members can tell us apart. To make matters worse, my every attempt to contact them and reveal the truth has somehow been interfered with. Slowly I am becoming more and more unrecognizable to those I love.
Although I don’t normally condone the death of any living being (strange as it may be), we have to consider the facts: last year, more than 700 dancers raised nearly half a million dollars. Moreover, my doppelganger is incredibly tricky and will stop at nothing in its attempts to replace me. If we spent even a fraction of the time and resources we spend dancing for pediatric AIDS on killing my doppelganger, we would’ve stopped it from completely assuming my identity ages ago.
I’m sure many of you have met my doppelganger, whether you were aware of it or not. At this point, I have been forced to hide away in Los Angeles’s vast sewer network, biding my time and allowing the creature to act as it pleases. Regardless of whether you believe that its motives—whatever they may be—are right or wrong, I think it’s safe to say assuming someone’s identity without their permission is 100% wrong. Think of it this way: would you be okay if something posing as you requested access to secret documents stored away at the Edwards Air Force Base? This has happened multiple times.
My doppelganger is probably at Dance Marathon right now, trying to convince everyone that everything is fine and that my goal of ending it once and for all has already been accomplished. This is not correct. I am telling you now: anyone who looks like me and tells you that my doppelganger is dead is not the real me. Moreover, if anyone defends it, it is very likely that they are not who they claim to be either. I cannot be sure, but I have reason to believe that whatever this thing is, it is not alone—all the more reason for you take a break from dancing and help me stop my doppelganger. Fighting pediatric AIDS is a great cause, but I ask you: at what cost?