The Day Agent Dale Cooper Walked Into My Gift Shop

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fans of Twin Peaks know that the chewing gum they like is coming back into style -- the quirky David Lynch mystery series is being resurrected on Showtime next year, which will mark a quarter century since the show aired on ABC; Laura Palmer herself called it when she said, "I'll see you again in 25 years." 

I was a fan of the show until about halfway through the second season; I think after a while I got fed up with the bizarreness (a creepy woman who converses with a log; a dancing midget who sounds like he's speaking backwards; a girl being absorbed by a piece of furniture; cryptic messages about owls, etc.) Yes, all of that curious strangeness is exactly what gave the series its huge cult following that exists today, but I guess you could say that after a while, Twin Peaks really wasn't my cup of tea. Or rather, my cup of coffee. Damn fine coffee.

You see, I did have one reason to keep watching the show week after week, secretly hoping it would eventually make sense, and that was Kyle MacLachlan as FBI Agent Dale Cooper. He was cute. He was quirky. He was cool...and he sure loved his coffee, cherry pie, or doughnuts. Yes, you could say I had a crush on both the character and the actor. 

Then came the moment one day which was so surreal, it seems it was lifted straight from the show for me: a real-life Dale Cooper walked into the gift shop once of the hotel I worked at to put myself through college. The guy looked so much like him--right down to the white shirt, tie, trench coat, and dark, combed back hair. He was probably in his early 30s. But more than that, he acted like him.

He quickly nodded at me, and smiled and said hello when he came into the gift shop. Then he looked at the collection of Hanes men's undershirts we sold, for guests who forgot to bring them, and after making a comment about them, added in a sort of rapid fire tone, "Very good idea. Very smart." 

I half-expected him to whip out his handheld mini tape recorder at that point and say into it, "Diane, I'm at the Andover Marriott. Make a note of this...the gift shop sells underwear! Oh, and the lobby coffee is damn fine coffee. And the gift shop girl is cute. I think I'd like to stay here again the next time I'm investigating up this long as the room service menu includes cherry pie." 

And...that was it. We may have exchanged another word or two before he existed the gift shop and become just a blip of my memory. To this day I don't know why I didn't try to engage him in more conversation...such as asking where he was from, why he was in the area, and if he was a Twin Peaks fan. Actually, I do know why...I was 19 years old and still shy and unsure of myself around guys. The 43 year-old me wants to go back to that moment, enter my 19 year-old self (after smacking her on the head), and chat with him. 

Was it the law of attraction that manifested this mysterious dude right in front of me? I have wondered about it. Or it may have just been an eerie coincidence. 

And something tells me David Lynch would love this story. 

Have you ever encountered someone who appeared to embody a fictional character or celebrity?


  1. My son is reminiscent of Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

  2. What a great story! You should tweet it to Kyle McLachlan (assuming he has an account!)

  3. Thanks, Therese - that's a great idea!


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