I was in Junior High School before I met my first set of twins. I knew twins existed prior to ever actually meeting any, and I suppose it is possible I may have met paternal twins and hadn't realized they were twins or some other such business, but I was in double-digits before I knew anyone who was an identical twin. They were a year or two ahead of me in school, had the obligatory alliterative names, something like Laurie and Lauren, and looked remarkably similar. One thing I noticed about the people around these two was that the people around them seemed to fall into one of two categories: people who could tell them apart, and people who couldn't. People who could not tell them apart confessed unabashedly, "Oh those two, I don't know who is who!" People who could tell them apart loudly derided those who couldn't, "c'mon already, they look NOTHING alike!" A relative newcomer to the school, I didn't have the luxury of an audience, so I thought silently to myself with my own derision for all parties concerned, "actually they look remarkably similar with discernible differences."
And so it has been ever since. It has continued to be a source of silent pride that I have the ability to identify the discernible differences in such a way as to readily be able to tell the twins I encounter apart. One time, I was looking at baby pictures with the mother of twin girls, now young adults. She said, "they always looked so much alike. Especially as babies. Let's see - this was Janlynn?" I pointed to the other baby in the photo and said, "isn't this Janlynn? See how her eyes are more almond shaped?" To which the mother had to agree.
And so it also has been with animals. We have nine goats. One is all white, one is multi-colored, three are mostly brown with distinct white markings, and the remaining four are black and white. Since we have acquired them across the years, one of the easy distinctions has been their size. One of the black and white goats is several years older than all the others; the remaining three were easy to tell apart as one is primarily black (Kelly), and the other two that are more black-and-white are distinguishable because one (Bosley) has a white belt. The fourth goat of this ilk (Boo Boo) is about four years older than the others and a chronic overeater, making him heretofore distinguishable by his size. It never occured to me that the size differential would not always be a distinction I could use to my advantage.
How does the saying go? "Pride goeth before the fall?"
Imagine my dismay this morning when I noted that the size difference between the goats is not as great as it once was. As a matter of fact, and of special concern is that the fourth black-and-white goat (Bruddah Iz) is almost the exact same size as Boo Boo. And has the exact same coloration. And the exact same black face mask. And the exact same white diamond between his horns. And the exact same all black forelocks on his legs. And nearly the exact same peppering of white along his cheeks. And the same aloof attitude, food-seeking behaviors, and rotund belly. And, to top it all off, the obligatory alliteration in name.
The good news is that, which such practices are discouraged with children, colored collars work great for goats. At least until I can better identify the discernible difference.