LEWISTON — Question: What does the Most Interesting Man in the World do on a snowy day in Maine?
Answer: He spends the afternoon cleaning off cars in his lot and then goes out to Pedro O'Hara's for a few beers. You know — Dos Equis.
At least for Wednesday night, Cliff "Tippie" Hammond was the Most Interesting Man, having won a look-alike contest at the Main Street Irish pub and Mexican cantina.
"Oh, yeah," Hammond said. "That's me. It's been me all along. I just didn't want everyone to know it."
He does share at least a passing resemblance to the Dos Equis pitchman, the gravel-voiced, bearded fellow known for arm-wrestling world leaders, wrestling bears and hooking marlins in tropical waters.
"I'm trying to get him to go fishing, actually," said his friend Sandy "Scooter" Lizotte. "You know, ice-fishing or smelting, maybe."
So, it's not the same brand of grandiose adventure Dos Equis Man is known for. Adventure is relative. Hammond, who lives in Poland, used to own a farm equipment company. He sold that and started Cliff's Auto Sales in Auburn. If trying to sell cars in a floundering economy isn't adventurous, what is?
It was a lively crowd at O'Hara's on Wednesday night. There were a few men with silvery beards in the place, but none wanted to be part of the contest.
"'Course not," Hammond said. "They know I'm here and they don't stand a chance."
Hammond wore a sweatshirt and jeans, not the crisp, dark suit preferred by the fellow in the commercials. "This is the Maine version," Hammond explained.
When another bearded man walked into the bar in full suit, things got tense. Here was Troy Kavanaugh to give Hammond a run for his money.
"To me," said Chad Porter, who performs at the pub on Wednesdays, "he looks more like the guy from Men's Wearhouse.
Hammond, as calm and confident as his famous doppelganger, was likewise unimpressed with Kavanaugh's look.
"Pretty-faced wannabe," was his assessment.
Unfazed, Kavanaugh stayed in character as long as he could.
"I don't always drink beer," he said in his best gritty voice. "But when I do, I PREFER Dos Equis."
A pause. A glance at Hammond.
"OK," Kavanaugh said. "He wins."
So, that was it. Hammond became The Most Interesting Man at Pedro O'Hara's. Man of the world. Man of intrigue. And a few other things that don't make the commercials.
"He's a very generous man," Lizotte said. "He does a lot to help the needy. There's a lot more to him."
Stay thirsty, my friends.