Tuesday, April 10, 2012

RJ Buckler is NOT in the House

The other night, Tori and I attended an event celebrating the release of our friend Dawn Xiana Moon's new CD, Spaces Between. Tori had a small part in the music video for "Strong", so we knew a few of the people involved in the production, and we were a little surprised not to see Director RJ Buckler throughout the evening. Tori had commented on his absence and I'd scanned the crowd when I walked through a couple of times and he just wasn't there.

That's why we were both surprised when Dawn stepped up to the microphone and said, "RJ Buckler is in the house." In fact, we both said (albeit very quietly), "No, he's not."

My friend Margo was with us; she doesn't know RJ, and so she leaned in and said, "Is that RJ?"

Tori and I both looked at the tall, behatted man at the microphone and said...nothing.

See, it clearly wasn't RJ.

Neither of us knows RJ well, but Tori's worked with him on a few projects and we did once spend nearly three straight days with him during a 72-hour film contest. We know what he looks like. It's different from what this guy at the mike looked like, and not just in some vague way. The guy at the mike was shorter, and had an entirely different nose, for example.

But everyone clapped. He started talking, and he claimed to be RJ, and he talked about making the music video, and he was funny. Everyone laughed. And still, neither of us answered Margo. Because we were both pretty sure that wasn't RJ. No, not pretty sure. We KNOW RJ. That wasn't him.

But Dawn had introduced him as RJ.

It was a very strange phenomenon, knowing full well that this guy wasn't RJ, but somehow feeling like we might just be confused, like he might just have had a nose job, like it was dim in there and we hadn't seen him for a long time...because how could this whole room full of people be accepting a fake RJ?

The event was in Chicago, so we had a long drive home, and during the drive we talked about how that clearly wasn't RJ. We talked about how funny it was that everyone had accepted the fake RJ just because he was introduced as RJ, and about the obvious differences. We brainstormed half of a screenplay about a guy who is replaced by someone who looks nothing like him and no one mentions it.

But every once in a while, we wondered whether that might have been RJ. Because, of course, sometimes people just shrink a few inches, have their skin bleached a few shades and get a radical nose job in the few months since you last saw them.

The next morning, RJ posted on Facebook from South Korea. Early the next morning. That clinched it for us. Except...the YouTube video from the event said right in the description, "RJ Buckler was on hand to..." And there, in the thumbnail, was the guy we were pretty sure wasn't RJ.

Finally, this evening, we confirmed that the guy wasn't RJ. Which, of course, we knew. Which everyone knew, right? Because we know what RJ looks like. But it was fascinating, that niggling doubt...that piece of our brains that was almost ready to accept what our eyes were telling us was absurd.