It's not every day that I, Gary Jepsen, a general contractor, Des Moines resident, and proud father of six, get mistaken for world-famous actress and beam of human sunshine Cameron Diaz in a supermarket.
That's a new one on me.
Usually it's my age, gender, or shock-white goatee that tips people off that I am not, in fact, the striking yet relatable star of films such as 2000's Charlie's Angels and 2003's Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Other times it's my laugh, which I'll admit right here and now isn't a third as delightful as Cameron's.
But I'm gonna go with it.
Sometimes life hands you lemonade straight up and it's already nice and sweet and you don't have to lift a finger.
Of course it's a bit of a head-scratcher to be confused with one of America's most consistent box office draws; an actor with the range to do both comedy and drama while bowling people over with her sheer undiluted charisma across any genre.
But I can't say I'm totally surprised.
I imagine it's my positive attitude that's behind this happy accident. I always try to see the funny side of things. It's like when I fell during that roofing job, fractured three cervical vertebrae, and was laid up for nine weeks or when Cameron's character in 1998's There's Something About Mary put that man's seed in her hair because she thought it was hair gel. Both of these scenarios are “bad” if your attitude is bad.
You've gotta roll with the punches in life and stay flexible, whether that means performing broad physical comedy in movies like 2014's Sex Tape or channeling the raw, dark energy required for a film like 1999's Being John Malkovich.
So when my wife left me with our six children to run off with that big top circus ringmaster I improvised like Cameron does. Sure my wife got the house I lovingly built and lives there with the ringmaster, our children, and all his circus animals, but I got the RV.
You may also have picked up on another quality that Cameron and I share: Drive. It's the kind of determination that has allowed me to work on over 30 houses in the past five years despite my divorce and life-altering back injury and has allowed Cameron to lend her ebullient vocal talents to the role of Princess Fiona in Shrek 1, 2, 3, and 2010's Shrek Forever After.
I'm still taking all this in but I imagine in my new life as Cameron I will go to many interesting places and have a truckload of exciting adventures.
I'll probably go snorkeling off Trinidad and Tobago with some marbled TV hunk who's as entranced by my infectious joie de vivre as every other sane person in the moviegoing public. I'll probably do cartwheels on those hot, white sand beaches and then do something whimsical and fancy-free like make a “sand angel” while giggling the trademark giggle that my spiritual doppelgänger showcased so well in 2002's The Sweetest Thing.
Above all: I won't let stardom change me.
I will always see the good in people. I won't care if they drive a beat-up car like Jim Carrey's character Stanley Ipkiss does in 1994's The Mask. I will judge them by their character like Cameron's character Tina Carlyle does, and I will strive to convey the same beguiling mixture of danger and vulnerability that she did in that classic comic book adaptation.
Now I know what you're probably thinking: How many years can he keep that up? How long can a person live such a beautiful lie? Well, it's hard to say. But I'm going to ride this tiger and see where it takes me.
And if I ever meet Cameron at some big Hollywood event I will explain everything, and she'll be totally cool and understanding about it, because that's who she is, and we will laugh our delightful laughs.
Sorry, what's that? You were saying “Camembert Discount” and pointing at the cheese rack behind me? You didn't say Cameron Diaz?
Well then I'll take eight pounds of cheese, my good man. Eight pounds of cheese.