It’s a twin thing and most of us have no idea what that means, but to Cash and Wyatt Mankin it’s just an everyday fact of life….they’ve been together since conception, and they can’t imagine life any other way.
Of course, I knew the boys before they were born, even felt a twinge of jealousy when I heard Delyn was having them since I had always wanted twins myself. Back then, I didn’t know a lot about twins, and it never occurred to me that the boys were not identical. How is it possible to look so much alike and yet not be identical twins?
“We watched a video not too long ago, and it was from the first day Mom and Dad brought us home from the hospital. They nearly had an argument trying to figure out who was who!” the boys laughed. “Dad was right. He never seems to get us mixed up.”
Most of the time, I can tell them apart if I pay close attention, but I have to admit that they’ve confused me more this year than they have since they were little. Back then, none of us knew which was which or who was who!
“We did trade places in Kindergarten,” Wyatt began. In fact, Wyatt (Baby A) usually is the starter when I talk to both boys. Cash jumped in to finish the story (as he often does). “We got walkie talkie watches for our birthday, and we decided to switch classes and talk to each other with our watches.
“Our teachers, Mrs. Hicks and Mrs. Smith, didn’t catch on, but our friends began to figure it out and tell the teachers. They couldn’t tell so they stood us together and looked at the back of our heads.”
You see, for many it is easier to tell the boys apart from behind. Cash has two cowlicks while Wyatt only has one! Cash has more money = 2 cowlicks….or something like that.
Anyway, since Sally Hicks and Guinn Smith are two of the nicest people I know, and since we all know the Mankin boys, the Mankin twins, or even just the Mankins (as Comanche calls the dynamic duo), the teachers laughed, sent the boys to the correct classrooms, and went back to work.
The twins tried the same thing in third grade, but Rhonda Roberts was one of the teachers they tried to fool, and since she knew the boys well, she figured out the switch fairly quickly.
“Our close friends can pretty much tell us apart….but most kids can’t,” the boys told me.
Looking so much alike once cost Cash a trophy. Well, actually it was looking alike and dressing alike that caused the problem.
“We liked dressing alike until we went to a stock show,” Cash explained.
“We were showing pigs, and showing for the jackpot, and we looked alike and were dressed alike. The judge got mixed up on who he had given what.. He gave me the prize when it should have gone to Cash,” Wyatt explained. “At least that’s what Dad said since there was no way my pig could have beaten Cash’s pig.”
I asked the twins what one of their earliest memories was…when they really realized that they were twins. I had to laugh when they told me that people apparently believe that twins are lucky.
“Every time our parents would take us to the mall, people would come up and want to rub our heads for luck!” the boys grinned.
So do they enjoy being twins? Very definitely.
“It’s like having a brother, but much closer than a brother,” Cash said.
Wyatt chimed in, “We can read each other no matter where we are. I can read his expression when no one else can, even though I don’t necessarily feel the same thing.”
“But if someone is talking to us, we often say the same thing at the same time and we think the same thing at the same time,” Cash interrupted. “But we don’t feel each other’s pain,” he demonstrated by hitting Wyatt! “I didn’t feel that,” he grinned with the devil grin.
“There’s always someone who has your back. We feel the need to take up for each other. It’s like you’re the only one who can pick on him…no one else. We fight, but we have fun even though we’re together every day.”
I recently listened to Danny Armstrong do a radio interview with the boys. When Danny turned to Cash and asked him if he ever looked in the mirror and was confused over which twin he was, I knew exactly what was coming.
“Nah,” Cash drawled. “I look in the mirror every morning and say, ‘Thank goodness I’m still the good lookin’ one!’”
A sense of humor has never been a problem for the boys, but there are some things about being a twin that they aren’t crazy about.
Wyatt, the elder, started this part of the discussion by explaining that he had taken a lot of the spankings that should have gone to Cash! I asked for one example.
“We were hauling off trash, and we didn’t want to do it. Dad told Cash to put some trash in one place, but he put it in the dog house. Dad didn’t know who to spank so he spanked us both!”
“When mom was going to spank us, we’d grab a pillow and put it in our pants and that would make her laugh,” Cash grinned.
“We can usually get away with things with her but, not Dad. Dad’s pretty laid back, but you’d better do what he says,” Wyatt continued.
The boys also aren’t always crazy that people seem to see them as one person instead of two. For instance, when one walks down the hall at school, most simply greet him with a “Hey, Mankin,” since they seldom know which one is which.
“I think our friends think of us as one friend instead of two,” both boys said at the same time. “Sometimes they can tell us apart when we start talking, but they can’t always tell by looking at us,” Cash said.
Athletics can also be a problem the twins agree.
“The coaches act like we are one person instead of two. Sometimes if one of us keeps messing up, the other one just goes ahead and takes the blame since they can’t usually tell us apart.”
Every now and then their mom can get confused as well. Delyn recently had me rolling as she told me her latest mistake.
“I knew that Cash was the one who was supposed to be playing in a basketball game, and I didn’t know that Wyatt had gotten a haircut that day. He usually has longer hair than Cash.”
Anyway, Delyn saw the twin with the short hair in the bleachers and the twin with longer hair on the court. She rushed to the bench to ask the coach why Wyatt was playing instead of Cash! I’m sure it was a rather confused coach who told Mom that he believed he did have Cash playing. On closer look, Mom agreed that he was probably right!
I asked the boys what they planned for post-graduation next year, and for the first time I stumped both of them because I also asked if they thought they would attend different schools. The blank faces told me that neither could quite imagine life without the other…at least not right now.
“We’ve never been apart at all so college…who knows….every now and then we do go out separately, but we usually hang together with the same friends. That seems normal to us, but it’s probably because we’re twins…”
Cash quickly jumped in to remind Wyatt (the elder) that he did have nine minutes to himself before Cash was born! Then, Cash explained something that I had never thought of.
“A twin always has a second judgment on every decision. You know…there’s two people to decide whether something is a good idea or a bad idea. Every decision we make has two people in it.”
“Of course, that’s why we sometimes fight,” Wyatt interrupted. “We don’t always agree on the decision we need to make, but there is always two people in our decisions.”
For now, the towheads with the sometimes evil grins are content to be heading to the basketball playoffs this year and looking for the same in football next season where you’ll find Wyatt at running back and corner and Cash at the outside linebacker spot as well as the other running back….unless they decide to switch places, that is…
More than that is beyond their imagination right now, and Wyatt closed by saying it best, “We’ve always been twins and can’t imagine it any other way.”