On the Million-Billion Dougs

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Summary: I am legion.

BLOT: (01 Oct 2015 - 08:01:01 PM)

On the Million-Billion Dougs

In 1995, I had a chance for a full-ride at a college that did not quite fit me, and so after one day of being on campus, I went with my gut and turned it down. The next year, I got another full ride scholarship, and set off on the path that led to where I am now. However, there exists out there a version of me that went to that other college. He made different friends, married someone else, and has another life. Maybe he is in jail now, maybe he is successful. He is me in every way but the most essential one, he is not me. To describe this dance of Feynman twins, I one day used the phrase "Million-Billion Dougs", and decided I'd like to keep it around.

What's weird is the first utterance of it that I can find is practically non-sensical: "Out there, in the millionbillion Dougs, I hope one blamed it on things getting a little too hot to handle in a latest John Grisham thriller." Turns out I had very nearly stepped on my Kindle one night and was joking about my quantum-cousins having to talk to Amazon's customer service.

Perhaps my greatest utterance came about in my wedding "vows": "I am thrust through several points, an unwitting traveler in time, my own microcosm incomplete. I stand atop a mountain, a trillion light years tall. I swim at the bottom of a sea, a trillion light years deep. Just another of the Million-Billion Dougs, my many Feynman cousins, legion and disparate, adrift. Adrift, brilliantly awake aloud in the Universe, brightly asleep like MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI, unable to hold my eyes open in a dawn of a distance inconceivable even though it is constantly painted across all the windows of this myriad dream. All those Million-Billion: some have died and some have thrived, and there but for the grace of god go I."

So, why do I use the phrase? I don't know. I like to think that for every mistake and regret I have, there was a smarter Doug who did better. And for every great thing, there was a Doug who did it worse. The infinities of my life live out there in potential, and it frees me to be myself, the one in a million-billion that has screwed some things up and did some things beautifully. For every band I do not like, there is one of the MBD who considers it a favorite. For every hobby I missed, one of the MBD is good at it. For every thing I love, another of the MBDs hates it.

None of us million-billion are perfect, but I imagine most of them are alright dudes.

Plus, one day I hope to have a convention of the MBDs, and it will be an amazing thing, with a room full of social awkward people trying to ignore themselves. Tremble and weep, world, for we are legion.

And one day, the last of the Million-Billion Dougs will die and existence will be poorer for it.

Fun bonus fact, one day I was trying to pep-talk a friend about the GRE and I told her about the Million-Billions, and "Million-Billion" ended up sticking as an occasional mild term of endearment for her. But not just her, you are all my beautiful Million-Billion. And for now we exist, and we abide.


Written by Doug Bolden

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