The universe is being a little tough on a guy as shy as Austin Clay. Now, at the bottom of a long list of offenses, Austin's going to have to be on national television.
Austin, if you'll recall, is the 21-year-old QuikTrip employee and Wichita State University student I wrote about earlier this year who bears a striking resemblance to "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson.
The universe first cursed poor Austin with the Pattinson-esque looks — angular jaw, brooding eyes, floppy brown hair.
This affliction has been haunting Austin ever since the "Twilight" movies were released, and came to a crescendo after the latest film, "New Moon," hit theaters last fall.
Suddenly, Austin was being gawked at and asked to pose for pictures by hyperventilating young girls, some of whom refused to believe he wasn't the actual Pattinson.
The universe's next cruel trick came from Austin's not-at-all-shy mom, Dixie Ball, who called the newspaper to suggest that we look into this extreme case of celebrity doppelganger.
We did, and we agreed. Austin could easily impersonate Pattinson at tween-age birthday parties — a suggestion that caused a flash of fear and panic to cross over his superior bone structure.
In case you're not catching my drift, Austin's a shy guy.
Which is probably why, when the Maury Povich show (which I am somewhat shocked to learn is still on the air) started trying to contact him a couple of weeks ago after seeing my story in The Eagle, Austin initially ignored the calls.
They called him at home. He didn't call back. They called QuikTrip for permission to call him at work. He didn't call back.
Finally, they Fed-Exed him a package begging him to call back. So he did.
"He was trying to think it through and decide if it was something he wanted to do," Dixie said. "When he finally called, they told him, 'This Robert Pattinson is the hottest thing out there. We really would love to have you. Please, please do it.' "
The show is flying Austin and a friend to New York City for taping at the end of this month. The show, which doesn't yet have an airdate scheduled, will be about celebrity look-alikes, Dixie said. There will be some type of contest among all the look-alikes on the show, and a prize for the winner.
All that nasty string-pulling by the universe has actually been good for Austin, Dixie said.
Ever since the story about him appeared in The Eagle, he's been getting calls and e-mails "out the ying-yang," she said.
"It's been really good for him because he is shy," she said. "It's pulled him out, so it's been nothing but positive."