Article from the 2/26/2016 Catalina Islander

Since I became "Catalina's Official Greeter", March 10, 2014, when the Chamber Of Commerce assigned me to greet the cruise ships and cross channel boats, I have answered 43,441 questions.
These are some of the more interesting/unusual questions/comments I have received:
"Are we allowed to feed the fish?"
"Why do all of the vehicles on the Island have California license plates?"
"Do you 'rotate' the buffalo?"
"Do you pour chlorine into the ocean to keep the water so clear?"
"I am NOT going to hug you!" I have NO idea what motivated that response!


For those loyal readers of my column, all five of you ( I know, you read Jim Watson's column, "Mysterious Island", first, and then, if you have time, will get around to mine!), you know in the past I have had some pretty major identity problems when it came to being mistaken for the UFC wrestler, Chuck Liddell, but things REALLY got out of hand within the last month.  Face Book, which I had been on for over 10 years, suddenly questioned my identity and must have thought  I was trying to pass myself off as the other Chuck Liddell, although we don't look at all alike, I have no pictures of him on my site, I rarely, if ever, even make reference to him, and I am old enough to be his father!  With NO forewarning, my FB site was BLOCKED (removed) and it took all of my 3700+ "friends" with me!  Friends and family alike feared that something MAJOR had happened to me. I began to panic thinking that ALL of the rest must be feeling the same way.  Being off FB, they now don't have any way to reach me!  I can't reach them, because I have to be on FB in order to communicate with them.  So, I had to get back, but was only allowed to go back as "Charles" Liddell, not "Chuck", the name I have used since I was 11, 25 years ago. O. K., 57 YEARS AGO!
Now the problem arose that I had to convince some of them that "Charles" was indeed "Chuck"!  They would often ask me about conversations that we had months ago, when I can't even remember what I had for breakfast yesterday.  More times than I like admit, I have been called a "fake"!  TALK ABOUT HUMILIATION AND DEMORALIZATION!!!  A GREAT friend, that I have had since we met on Catalina in 1960, Mitch Hammond (I wrote about him in my column submission, "Throw A Coin", about diving for the "S. S. Catalina"), has now started "Chuck Liddell Open Group"!  I knew that had put on a few extra pounds, but never considered myself as a "group"!  BRILLIANT!  Now, anyone looking up "Chuck Liddell" can locate me so that I can explain my sudden disappearance! I AM A GROUP!!!
While trying to locate "lost friends", I came across three names that have meant a LOT to me over the Past 18 years!  Peter, Vicki, and Wesley Alfvin!  In August, 1998, I was at the Casino watching a most remarkable movie, "The Truman Show", with Jim Carrey.  If you never saw it, FIND IT!  Not to give away the ending, a reality television company had decided to select a new born baby and follow his every movement, 24/7 for the rest of the world to watch on television, for his ENTIRE life. He was NEVER made aware of this exposure.  He lived his life "normally", on an enormous movie set and EVERYONE, including family, friends, and all who shared his "life" were actors.  He spent his life naively thinking that he was just a "regular" guy living out his life like everyone else.
At the end, I was quite taken by the "feeling" that I got from the film.  "How much of our lives are exposed to others?" I left the Casino and started for home when I heard the Alfvins behind me commenting on how Avalon looked like a movie set, just like the one we just experienced on "The Truman Show".  Comments continued along the lines of "Avalon looks too perfect to be 'real'!"  I suddenly looked at Avalon from a whole new perspective!  It was a cool, but balmy night.  The sky was bluer, even in the evening, than I had ever remembered. The stars were almost blinding and the constellations looked as if they had been painted on the "ceiling".  There was a full moon and that  silver shaft of light, streaming across the harbor, lightly "kissing" the Casino was there as I had remembered when I was kid, sleeping on the sundeck of my Descanso home, looking up at the remarkable sky and listening to the live "Big Band" Music from the "World Famous Casino Ballroom"!  I am afraid to admit this, but I did for a split second, O. K. EVEN LONGER, thought that maybe I WAS ON A LIFE-LONG REALITY SHOW!  My first thought was "HOW BORING" and then I thought back over some of the stories that I have shared in my column.  I HAVE HAD/AM HAVING A CHARMED LIFE ON CATALINA ISLAND!!  I started thinking of all of the unbelievable experiences that are so unique to Catalina.  The fantastic people I have met, had experiences with, and now call friends.  (To this day, I don't know how the Alfvin family became such good friends after their unassuming comments after the move.  I hardly paid much attention to them behind me, but we kept accidentally running into each other all over town.  COULD THEY HAVE BEEN ACTORS!?!)
So often, passengers getting off the cruise ships ask me how I was so "lucky" to end up on this remarkable Island.  I tell them that I really had little to do with.  Mom was here when I was born and I thought it would be convenient to be born where Mom was!  It was Mom and Dad who made the decision to move to Catalina Island. I wonder if I would have made the same perfect choice if I was deciding where to be born!  PROBABLY NOT!!!  I am SO LUCKY to be in the place where I want to spend the rest of my life.  IF it turns out that my life has been a "reality show", to all of my "fans", I promise to "raise the bar" of my life to make watching me even more exciting and, of course, to keep the ratings up. I look forward to sharing more of my unique life through my column! It's been, and continues to be, from another movie, "A WONDERFUL LIFE"!