We hired a double for Bob so that the Bob the world required could be places Bob could not be. We oversucceeded. Immediately, Bob was a fraud. He was not intrinsically as entertaining as his double, and while he was older by a day, and then a year, and eventually the father of himself, the doubles could always be Bob. The first—plucked from a stingy neighborhood and handed fame—quickly adapted to luxury and instantly felt cheated that his real talents were rented out to Bob. We found another, and another, and the public never went without its Bob. This meant shielding Bob from cameras and outbidding the tabloids for the occasional candid. To Bob, it meant trading a global persona for an unimaginably diverse but cramped private life most men would envy for a weekend but not for a lifetime. Nothing was too expensive, but he could only have what he could order in. We tried to nudge the market, but product Bob was a paradigm that any change, even improvement, diminished. Enhanced Bobs made promoters itchy and were at any rate ruled a breach of contract by the judge who specified what in future would constitute the Bob experience. Fans knew, I always have to remind myself, that what they were investing in was an image of a Bob. Theirs are the motives I can’t comprehend. Needless to say, the Bobs could not meet. The one night Bob and a Bob double shared my limo, I had to excuse myself and ride with the driver, though I’m not sure the double knew who sat beside him. By then, Bob was a different man, almost literally, doing 200 nights a year as Woody, of whom he was a presentable facsimile, and who had been dead for decades.

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