If there were any doubt that Elijah and Isaiah Rikli are identical twins, the fact that they announce “identical!” in unison when asked what type of twins they are puts the question to rest.
The Rikli Effect
FROM LEFT: ELIJAH AND ISAIAH RIKLI
“I feel like I understand him a lot more than I would if I had a regular brother,” Elijah says. Despite the similarities, Isaiah wants everyone to know it’s not “too different” from having a “normal sibling.” “I wouldn’t say it’s too different,” he tells us, “it’s just how they look that feels different.”
Elijah and Isaiah are in eighth grade this year, and though they share academic and extracurricular interests, they say people can most often tell them apart after getting to know them. “I feel like people overestimate the amount that we get mixed up,” Isaiah says, “it’s only people who we just met. After six months or a year, they’ll tell us apart easily.” However, don’t count them out for some innocent twin mischief. Whether it’s “borrowing” things from each other growing up or swapping clothes to pretend to be the other at a school assembly a few years ago, they’ve enjoyed a small portion of mayhem that only twins can appreciate.
What they have in common are the type of interests that brothers bond over, namely military history. Isaiah wants to know about the science behind military conflict and to see “how things work.” Elijah says he’s specifically drawn to the “weapons of war” and aviation. The genesis of this interest goes back to when they were younger, playing out imaginary campaigns with plastic soldiers. Before that moment, Isaiah says, their interest in history was reserved for dinosaurs, but their imagination evolved their fascination from the Triassic to modern theaters of war.
As they grow older and start feeling out a career, they both say they’d prefer to hang around Vandalia. “I’ve had interest in engineering,” Isaiah says and indicates that he’s looking to enter land surveying in some capacity. Elijah wants to enter the field of history, perhaps “working at a museum.” He’s also ready to answer the engineering call but believes that would take the form of a career in the Air Force. “I’ve also had a slight interest…maybe working on an aircraft carrier,” he says.
Regardless of the path, they both plan to work toward a larger role where they can “help people.” They’re already adept at noticing the physical and emotional needs of others. For instance, Elijah thinks his brother needs to learn a bit more patience. “I feel like he gets mad at video games way more than I do,” he jokes. We imagine they’ve picked up quite a few lessons on reading others from being so in tune with one another, and the effect their special set of twin skills will have from the stage of two different lives and careers will be momentous. We’ll be watching, paying close attention to which colors they’re wearing so we know for certain which twin is who.