Tom And Tom

I had returned to college in the fall of 1985 after taking a few years off to work and to get inspired about school again.  After my freshman year a few years earlier, while I did well in school, I just wanted to get away from the book learning for a while.
 
It was kind of a last minute decision when I did go back that fall of 1985, I just showed up on campus that early day in September of that year and by a bit of luck I did get a dorm room.  I had planned on maybe getting an apartment but that late in the game, most of the affordable places had been taken, so I thought a year living in a dorm wouldn’t be so bad.  Truth be told, I liked dorm living, it’s a built in opportunity to meet new people and with me always having trouble meeting people, I thought a dorm room was the ideal situation for me at this time.
 
I still considered myself a jock back then, tennis, basketball, softball, whatever the season sport was, I was playing it.  I was still in pretty good shape too and always took up the offer of playing in whatever pickup game might be going on.
 
This would be how I would meet the guy that would eventually become my best friend through those college years then.  I’ll call him Tom for reasons that will become apparent. 
 
Now I had seen Tom around the dorm in those early days back at school and he was either alone or with this girl who it would turn out to be his girlfriend.  Tom also liked to play basketball and like I was a few years earlier right out of high school, he was invited to go out for the college team with no guarantee of a spot on the varsity, but he was assured plenty of playing time on the junior varsity team.  So right there we had that little bit in common.  When I found that out, we played a lot of one on one basketball on the asphalt courts that were on campus.  I still had some “game” in me and I would help Tom with his game, giving him some pointers not that he needed any as he was a second team all-state selection his Senior year in high school, but he’d listen and I’d push him hard on that court. 
 
Now when a person got to know Tom, he was one of the coolest guys around, friendly, outgoing, smart.  His drawback that kept people from knowing him though was he looked an awful like Tom Cruise, particularly the “Risky Business” Tom Cruise.  And whether he did it on purpose or not, he kind of cultivated his look after the actor, same hairstyle and dress.  Maybe his girlfriend had something to do with that I don’t know, but just that appearance I think made people think the guy was stuck up.  Me I saw the guy who liked to play basketball so that’s why I befriended him.  I could relate a little to that as myself in my younger days, I had a little Tom Selleck going for me, but I had that before Tom Selleck was Tom Selleck so for me it wasn’t a real big deal, I always thought the actor looked like me instead of vice versa. lol  
 
Anyway there we were Tom and Tom, pretty good friends who became best friends and eventually we would have a nice circle of friends that hung out and were always up for doing something on any given night.
 
Now like I said Tom had cultivated the look down to the sweaters and shirts he always seemed to wear.  Me I was a jeans and t-shirt guy and a friend of mine one time had given me a Detroit Tigers ballcap to wear to enhance my Magnum P.I. look and that was sometimes on my head.
 
One night we decided to roadtrip to a football game to one of our conference foes.  Our friends thought it would be pretty cool to make an entrance into that game with ‘Tom Cruise’ and ‘Magnum P.I’ and they would be our posse.  Sunglasses were located for the posse members along with suit jackets, somebody came up with a Hawaiian shirt for moi’ and when I donned the Detroit Tigers baseball cap, I did come off as a young Magnum, minus the dimple and with brown eyes and a few inches shorter. Close up people could tell the difference, but far away, those heads would turn. 
 
Tom Cruise didn’t have to do much except comb his hair.  
 
So there we were Tom and Tom with our posse as we entered the small the stands of that football field.  I couldn’t help but start laughing as heads were definitely turning looking at our small group as we found seats.  More than a few girls were taking long looks our way, me I was thinking they were more looking at my buddy than me, but I would catch a coed or two giving me a long look.  The funny thing nobody approached us, maybe our “posse” scared them off, well I would like to think that.  More than likely what it was people were sensible and figured there was no way it was possible that two celebrities were at this small college football game. 
 
After the game it was decided we’d go get pizza and like at the football game, when we walked into that pizza place, there were heads turning and even our server did a double take then had a huge smile when she came to take our order.   It would be funny that each time somebody new would come in to that pizza place, there would be the whispers and the gestures towards our small group.  After we were done eating and paid our bill, the three servers that were working that night, insisted they have their pictures taken with us so they could brag to their friends they were on shift the night that ‘Tom Cruise’ and ‘Magnum’ and friends had a couple House Specials. We obliged them with the pictures and even one of the servers gave Tom her phone number, but he told her he did have a serious girlfriend, but she didn’t seem to mind and told him to take the number anyway.  Me I had no such luck in getting any phone number that night. 
 
We’d pull the Tom and Tom caper off a handful more times while we were in college, it was whenever the mood hit us and naturally it would be road games as our faces became well known around campus.  Although saying that it was always fun each fall when the incoming freshman came on campus and they’d see the two of us playing basketball or just hanging out in the snack bar.  Always a double take but then after awhile they came use to it, knowing we were just a couple of students just like they were. 
 
Like I said in the beginning Tom and I became best friends in college and I was even in he and his long time girlfriend’s wedding, where one more time, I would get some looks from Tom and his girl friend’s relatives as they wondered how in the world did Magnum become friends with their Tom Cruise. 
 
Over the years I lost touch with the guy as it seems to happen so often with my friends and me.  But I like to think that every once in awhile, ‘Tom Cruise’ maybe tells the story of when he and ‘Magnum’ would make a surprise appearance at a ballgame and he smiles while he tells those stories.
ChevyVan ChevyVan
46-50, M
May 22, 2012