Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hollies – "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" (1969)

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where

Gemellology is the scientific study of twins and twinning.  I’ve been an amateur gemellologist ever since I found out that I was going to be the father of twins.

My twin daughters are identical twins – that is, they developed from a single zygote, which split within days of fertilization and formed two embryos.  

Fraternal twins develop from two different eggs, each of which is fertilized by a different sperm cell.  (You learned about a very unusual kind of fraternal twins in the previous 2 or 3 lines.)  

I’m sort of a twin snob.  As far as I’m concerned, only identical twins are really twins.  Fraternals (which are three times as common as identicals) are just siblings who happen to be born at the same time.

Identical twins married to identical twins
Identical twins may not be exactly the same genetically, but they are very similar – one study indicated that about one in every ten million nucleotides in the DNA of identical twins is different.  

“Close enough for government work,” as we used to say when I worked for the federal government.

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According to Webster, the definition of “quaternary” is “of, relating to, or consisting of four units or members.”  

The term “quaternary marriage” is used to describe the marriage of a pair of identical twins to a second pair of identical twins.  

When twins marry twins, the two couples often live in the same house, which saves money and makes taking care of the children and the chores much less stressful.  

Think about it.  Most married couples either divide up household duties, or take turns doing them.  But someone living alone would have to do all chores by himself or herself, or pay someone to do them.  

Another quaternary marriage
In a quaternary marriage, you have four people instead of two to share the chores (or split the cost of hiring someone to do the chores).  That may largely explains why quaternary marriages are much less likely to end in divorce.  After all, economics – in particular, the economic pressure that result from the need to provide care for small children – is a major reason why many marriages fail.

When quaternary marriages do fail, both couples usually split up.  When twins marry twins, it’s rare for one couple to stay married if the other one splits up.

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According to one scientist who has studied quaternary marriages, husband-wife pairs in such marriages rarely switch sexual partners.  

That’s somewhat surprising, given the way men think.

Identical twins who married identical
twins and had identical twins
Let’s say you have two male twins named Tom and Jack, who occasionally go out together and have a few drinks.  Sooner or later, Tom and Jack are going to agree that Tom will go to Jack’s house and try to persuade Jack’s wife or girlfriend that he is Jack, not Tom – and vice versa.

I’m sure this happens all the time, but that you rarely hear about it because the wife or girlfriend usually doesn’t catch on.

Occasionally the deceitful twin gets caught.  From a 2009 story in the Stamford (CT) Advocate:

[Jared Rohrig] was charged Friday with posing as his twin brother to trick a 25-year-old woman into having sex with him . . . .

(FYI . . . Jared Rohrig was a police office at the time.)

The unnamed woman told police that she . . . had been having a sexual relationship with Joe Rohrig since March, and on July 19 she talked on the phone with someone she believed was him and agreed to meet at his house, according to a search warrant.

When she arrived, she got into the hot tub with the Rohrig brother she believed was Joe, began kissing him and agreed to go to an upstairs bedroom with him.

But as they were having sex . . . she noticed something missing: the cowboy tattoo on Joe's left buttock was not there.

The woman “immediately began to cry and asked him where his tattoo went,” the warrant states. “The male replied that he had never had a tattoo and told her that she must have hooked up with his brother who had a tattoo.”  

(Just one more reason why it’s a mistake to get a tattoo.)

Jared Rohrig allegedly told the woman that his brother, Joe, who had a steady girlfriend, did not want to meet her that day, but “he told me to go for it.”

Jared Rohrig
This kind of thing would never have happened if Jared and Joe had been married to or dating identical twin sisters.

You might think that if a man is attracted to one identical twin, he’s going to be tempted by her sister as well – right?

Probably not.  If a male is of a mind to stray from the friendly confines of his marital bed, he’s probably going to be looking for a woman who is very different from his wife – not her doppelgänger.   

I mean, what’s the point of sleeping with someone other than your wife if that someone is a dead ringer for your wife?

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I spent some time searching for accounts of a female impersonating her identical twin sister in order to have sex with the sister’s husband or boyfriend, but I couldn’t find any.  

That may be because that’s never happened.  Or perhaps it’s because a man would never complain to the police if it did happen.

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“He’s Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” was written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell, who were introduced by legendary songwriter Johnny Mercer.  (Russell was suffering from cancer when the two met.  He died only weeks after the Hollies released their recording of the song in the U.S., where it was a top ten hit.)

The song’s title was inspired by the famous slogan for Boys’ Town, which was coined by that orphanage’s founder, Father Flanagan.

The lines from “He’s Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” that are quoted above seemed apropos given what happened after the unnamed woman who hooked up with Jared Rohrig noticed he didn’t have a tattoo on his left buttock.

Still lying about which twin he was, Jared tried to drive the woman home in his pickup truck.  But he got hopelessly lost on the way.

That probably wouldn’t have happened if he had been Joe, who had previously visited her at her home several times.

Here’s “He’s Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” which features Sir Elton John on the piano:

Click below to buy the song on Amazon:

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