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Home > Secteur-English > General > Bill Cosby, a Pakistani Student, and Laurence Thomas

Bill Cosby, a Pakistani Student, and Laurence Thomas

One of the most amusing moments of my life recently occurred. Standing in front of my home waiting for a taxi, a Syracuse student from Pakistan walks by and upon taking a quick look at me he remarks “Nice to see you, sir”. On the inside I go “huh ?” I mean the greetings “Good day, sir” would have made sense. But the utterance “Nice to see you, sir” was baffling, since I had never met the student before. True, I have taught lots of students over the years. But I have a pretty good memory ; and foreign students stand out in virtue of being such.

At any rate, the story gets amusingly better ; for the student goes on to make the following remark : “I just saw you on Facebook”. 

Now, I am totally puzzled at this point since I had shut down my Facebook account about a month ago. I mention this to the student, but he responds with “I do not think so, sir. I just saw a video of you on Facebook about 20 minutes ago”. 

Now, he has got my attention. A video of me on Facebook ? How could that even be remotely possible ? Even when I had a Facebook account, I never thought to post a video of myself on the site. Was there any chance that someone had videoed me without my consent and, also without my consent, posted it on Facebook ? Well, as my brain was spinning through countless possibilities, it dawns me what was going on. You see, what the student had watched was a video of Bill Cosby and the student thinks that I am he.

As I had reached this conclusion, the student had pulled out his i-Phone in order to search for the video on Facebook. Well, sure enough : It was a video of Bill Cosby.

In the early 80s and 90s, I routinely dealt with the issue of people initially thinking that I might be Bill Cosby. In France, people back then would routinely stop and stareme. But, alas, since no one ever asked me for my autograph, it was clear that in the end people decided that I was not Bill Cosby.

Yet, in flying back to the states from Paris this summer, a young teenager who thought that I was Bill Cosby asked me for my autograph. 

At any rate, the Pakistani student truly made my day. He made an innocent mistake that was entirely void of mallace and ill-will. The mistake that did nothing but put a tremendous smile on my face and an ever so fond memory in my heart. 

© 2011 Laurence Thomas

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