5 People Who Managed Complex Double Lives Better Than Any of the Stuff You’ve Got Going On
If my laundry hamper is any demonstration, one single life, and not a particularly hard one at that, is plenty enough for me to handle. I regularly can’t find the time to make dinner, much less pursue an entire secondary career. God bless the “grindset” folks who wake up at 4:30 a.m. to take cold showers every day, but I also wonder if they’ve ever experienced the joy of nine straight hours of sleep. Good luck with your weird vitamin gummy business, I’ll be happily swaddled in bed like a cozy lil’ baby.
Some people, though, take burning the candle at both ends to an even more extreme level: living two honest-to-god lives. I have no idea how they’re able to keep track of which name they should be using on what I have to assume is less than a full night’s sleep, but they manage. It’s a testament to their ability to make effective use of their time, and maybe an indication that the whole Clark Kent alter-ego might be a little more feasible than we’d like to admit.
Here are five people who led two lives, surprisingly effectively…
Dr. James Barry was a military doctor from Ireland who had a fairly incredible career. His rapid ascension through the ranks of the British military, eventually ending up as Inspector General, was no fluke. He was one of their most talented surgeons, and held the honor of performing the first Cesarean section in the British empire in which both the mother and child survived. He certainly made the many colleagues and instructors at his medical school, who were concerned he was a child lying about his age, eat their words.
It was only after Barry died at the age of 75 that his secret would be revealed. It turns out those colleagues were right to suspect something, but they were still wrong. Despite his last wish being to be buried in his clothes without the washing of his body (already a little weird), his body was prepared for burial, and when his clothes were stripped, they discovered Barry wasn’t a he at all. James Barry was actually a woman named Margaret Ann Bulkley, who had taken on a male persona, and her dead uncle’s identity, in order to study medicine, which was prohibited for women at the time. Way to go, you little medical Mulan!
Becoming an editor at Marvel Comics is already a dream career for any comic-loving young nerd. One that C.B. Cebulski achieved. While living out that geekily blessed life, though, a second dream job opportunity surfaced — to write comics for Dark Horse, a comics publisher that, while maybe not on the level of D.C. or Marvel, is well-known and well-respected all the same. He couldn’t pass it up, but decided to write under a pseudonym. A choice that, given his pseudonym, might be the only reason his tale is icky instead of a fun bit of comic-writing dominance.
The name he chose was Akira Yoshida, a name that suggests a much different heritage from “Cebulski.” To make everything even more complicated, after a couple of comics, Marvel themselves reached out, unknowingly to one of their own editors, to write comics for them. A job “Akira” accepted. Rumors swirled, leading to Cebulski flat-out denying them, but when he was offered the editor-in-chief role at Marvel, he decided it was time to release the cat from the bag.
A high school teacher taking a sick day isn’t that unusual. Whether they’d caught some teenage stomach bug or simply couldn’t face another day of being trapped in a room with two dozen 10th-graders, no one should be surprised when they miss a day here or there. Miss enough days, though, and like in any job, it becomes a problem. This was the situation that Matthew Kaye, a social studies teacher at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens, New York, found himself in.
He’d called out sick 11 times in one year, which was more than the maximum of 10 days that was allowed. The school board informed him that he was facing disciplinary action, after which he resigned. Luckily, he had a second job to fall back on, the same one that had caused him to miss a bunch of days of school: professional wrestler. That’s right, Kaye had been playing hooky in order to wrestle for WWE as Matt Striker, a pro wrestler whose gimmick was also being a teacher. Somehow, despite no masks being involved, no one had ever noticed.
Comics and wrestling are fun, and nobody’s going to have too much of a problem with a woman pursuing her dream career against the wishes of a backwards society. This entry, however, is not fun, and anybody who doesn’t disapprove of it needs immediate and extensive mental help. I’m talking about the double life led by Dennis Rader. On one hand, he was a church president, a Boy Scout leader, and by all reports, a good husband to his wife and a good father to his children.
It was for pretty much every other human on earth that Dennis Rader was one of the most dangerous people to exist in human history. While living a normal family life, he was also active as the BTK Killer, so named for his modus operandi of bind, torture, kill. It wouldn’t be until 2005, at 60 years of age, that Rader would finally be arrested and charged with the 10 murders he had committed over multiple decades.
Let’s go to a much-needed palate cleanser after that in the form of a fake identity created out of sheer productivity: Richard Bachman. See, the problem was that Stephen King, despite being one of the great modern novelists, was writing too dang much. Publishers were worried he would oversaturate the market, but, his prolificity knowing no bounds, he merely started two simultaneous careers, publishing some of his books under the name Richard Bachman. A book store clerk eventually tagged the two for their similar (read: identical) writing style.