Article from the 8/7/2015 Catalina Islander

Since March 10, 2014, I have officially answered 32,325 questions as the "Greeter" to the cross channel boats and cruise ships. 
 
Five more unusual questions/comments:
 
"How long did it take to build Catalina?"
"Is Catalina Island floating?"
"Do you have a very minimum of security in Avalon intentionally so that people can do pretty much whatever they want?"
"I know that Islanders have their secret last boat in the evening, which is only known to them.  How do I get on that boat?"
"Are Islanders allowed to leave the Island whenever they want?"
 
"YOU'RE A LIAR!"
 
Unless you are a professional politician, you shouldn't have to hear this very often, if at all!  This has been my fate since 2004.  In fact, I got it just last week!  I greeted a family in my usual manner in hopes of "answering questions or helping them" and the mother took one look at my name tag and said, as she hurried by, "You're a liar!"
 
It all started in the last week of March, 2004.  I was working security at the Casino Ballroom for an event and I got a call from my mother.  She said, "Now I know what you do with your spare time on the Island!"  WHAT SPARE TIME!?!  I asked her what she was talking about and she told me that I was going to fight a guy by the name of Tito Ortiz in Las Vegas the first Saturday in April.  I asked her if she was having trouble with the neighbors again and she needed me to defend our family.  "No", she said, "  saw it on television as a 'Paid Per View"!  "Let me get this straight, Mom.  A week from today I am going to be in Las Vegas fighting a guy, I have never heard of, Tito Ortiz, and it is going to be a 'Paid Per View' event!?!  Why  would I do THAT!?!"  "From the pictures on the screen, it looks like you are going to be wrestling him."  "Mom, I haven't the foggiest idea of what you are talking about, but if there is a chance you can bet on the fight, put ALL of your money on this Ortiz guy, as I have to work at the Casino next Saturday and I don't plan to be in Las Vegas!"
 
I didn't think too much about this.  I think it was Billy Delbert who had gone to the match  and brought me back the program with a picture of Tito Ortiz and "Chuck Liddell"!  Boy, I didn't take a very good picture.  My beard was gone, I had a Mohawk haircut and the sides of my head were shaved to show off my tattoos!  It turned out that this was a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) match and it was for the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champion) title.  I GUESS I WON!!!!!
 
I started watching this on television in hopes of catching my alter ego, "Chuck Liddell" in his matches, which he almost ALWAYS won, and I especially liked the way he was introduced:  "And Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Chuck Liddell!!!"  I almost decided to put this as my answering machine message, but felt it was a little over the top for me.  He is called the "Ice Man", but an Island friend, Johnny,  started referring to me as the "Nice Man", which he still does! I like it and use it myself to distinguish us.   I kind of enjoyed this notoriety, but was sorry that this guy who seemed to enjoy beating up his opponents.  I would have been a lot prouder  if this man  who shared my name, could have been the guy who had found the cure for cancer or found peace in the Middle East.  I guess I should have been happy that he wasn't a mass murderer! 
 
Early in his career, people knew that he was from California, but WHERE in California (I know, but for his privacy, I am not telling)!?!  Because his matches were on DVD under the label of "Island Entertainment", people started guessing that he must live on Catalina Island!  One of my first "Chuck Liddell" contacts came from a 12 year old boy who somehow got my address and sent me a letter stating that I/Chuck Liddell was his "Very favorite idol" and ALL he wanted for his birthday was an autographed picture of me/him!  I could have simply sent a letter back to him and let him know that he had contacted the WRONG "Chuck Liddell", but that might have crushed his hopes of EVER making contact.  I then thought of getting a picture of Chuck on the internet printed and then sign it myself.  WHY NOT!?!  I wouldn't be lying about the signature, but what would happen if he ever found the real signature of the other Chuck Liddell and the two obviously didn't jive!  I then set out to find out all that I could about "The Ice Man" so that hopefully I could find a way to get this young fan's letter request to him.  I found his manager and so sent it to him with a terse note that read, "Chuck had better respond to this young fan's request or he will have another Chuck Liddell to answer to!!"  I felt pretty brave through the mail service.  On looking over his web site, I noticed that whoever put it up didn't know the difference between the two of us either!  It showed that movies and television shows, that I was involved in regarding Catalina Island, were credited to this "other' Chuck.  Don't worry, I never take credit for any of his exploits on my sites.
 
In January, 2005, I was in Manhattan, New York, at an entertainment conference and I was walking down Broadway when I came across a three story building that stood out like nothing I had ever seen before.  A 30' Chuck Liddell was on one side and a 30' Tito Ortiz was on the other side.  I quickly contacted two entertainment friends of mine:  Gregory Harrison, who had been starring on Broadway in "Chicago" and Ivan Rutherford, who had starring in "Les Miz".  I asked them what the highest compliment an actor/actress on Broadway could receive and both told me what I already knew, "You name up in lights above the name of the musical!"  I told them to take a walk and see what a real tribute looks like!
 
With this name comes a LOT of confusion.  I wanted to have a banner made up for my "Liddell Talent Management" at a Kinko shop in Long Beach and told the guy that Chuck Liddell would be coming in to pick it up.  When I entered the store, I had never seen so many teen-20 year old guys all standing behind the counter at the same time, looking around.  I didn't get the connection at first, but simply went up and asked to get my banner.  "I thought Chuck Liddell was going to pick it up!"  "He is."  "Where is he!?!"  "He's, I'm here."  What a bunch of disappointed young men!  You would have thought that their fiancés had stood them up at the alter!  I realized what the confusion was and so I gave them each my business card in hopes that maybe, when they attend one of the matches, they could show this to the Security Guard,  They MIGHT get access to Chuck out of his curiosity regarding the existence of another Chuck Liddell.  It didn't help their overwhelming disappointment very much.
 
A few years ago I was down in front of C. C. Gallaghers when a women, with three kids with her, came over to me and asked, "Are you Chuck Liddell?"  Boy, was my head ever swelled!  I thought, "Somehow she recognized me as the Island historian!"  She then told me that she would like to have a picture taken with me!  Boy, my head ballooned up even more.  She said that she would take the picture.  "Why not find someone else who can take a picture of ALL of you with me?"  "No, only my husband wants to have the picture taken with you."  I looked over at the "bear" of a man and asked "Why only with him."  It was then explained to me that he ran a gym on the mainland and wanted a picture of Chuck Liddell for his wall of fame.  I, of course, explained that I wasn't the UFC Champion and she said, "We know.  My husband wants to have it up there as a GAG!"  My head quickly started shrinking!!!  Her husband put his giant arm around my shoulders and then we were told to "smile".  I did, but not with much enthusiasm.  My head was almost 1" across.  When the picture was over, the women came up to me with a dollar bill.  "What is that for?"  "For your picture with my husband, of course"!  MY PICTURE IS WORTH A DOLLAR!!!  Both sides of my head were now touching each other.  "No thank you!  You can keep your dollar."  "Then how about if we take you out for a drink?"  "I am sorry, but I don't drink."  "Then how about buying yourself an ice cream cone?"  AN ICE CREAM CONE!?!  MY HEAD IMPLODED!!!
 
When I was conducting tours of the Casino, I would introduce myself, and invariably "someone" in the crowd would say, "NO YOU AREN'T!"  I would then have to rush to these guys with my driver's license pulled out and then once they were satisfied, I would go on with the tour.  On one such tour, a REAL UFC Champion was on my tour and he wanted a picture with me putting him in a headlock.  That, I didn't mind, because at least he had a little respect for my feelings. 
 
Recently I called the mainland to buy a set of tires and have them sent to the Island.  Everything was going fine until he asked my name and I told him.  He then hesitated and said, "Because I have never done business with you and there are so many problems with stolen credit cards now, you will have to come to Signal Hill and appear in person with your card."  I thought that this was very strange as it had never happened to me before.  I was going to be in Torrance anyway that week, so I decided to make the trip then and told him when I was coming.  When I got there he had his camera ready! I asked him why and he said that his girl friend LOVED Chuck Liddell.  I assured him that I wasn't and he realized his mistake, but still had a picture taken with, you guessed it, with me placing him in a headlock!  I'm getting pretty good at this hold! lol!
 
While answering questions, I receive AT LEAST five a week that are all the same:  "Did you know that you have the same name as a UFC fighter?"  I always respond with "Do you want me to beat up someone so you can show it on YouTube!?!"  They always laugh and move on, but one guy, who had to be older than me, said, "Yes, I'll take you on!"  I was obviously thrown off by his response and while staring at him, he simply walked by as if he had shown me who was "boss"!  Some people actually get upset with me using "Chuck Liddell's" name and ask me WHY I have to come up with an alias, or why can't I be more creative if I am going to pretend to be "someone I'm not"!  I try to reason with them that with billions of people around the world, WHY is it so impossible that there is more than just ONE "Chuck Liddell".  I tell them that there is probably someone else on the planet that shared their name.  I wonder if the other Chuck finds people who mistake him for ME!  Boy, no ego here!
 
I have a CRAZY IDEA that I might still do.  I think it would be great for Catalina Island to have a MMA summer camp for young men and women in hopes that we might eventually get a wrestling program in our local high school.  This would give some of our guys a chance to get scholarships and more opportunities to go to the mainland to further their educations.  I thought ESPN would be interested in covering a match and sponsoring the event between "Chuck Liddell vs Chuck Liddell" duking it out wearing rubber sumo wrestling outfits.  I don't want get killed and, of course, I wouldn't want to hurt Chuck! LOL!   Hopefully Chuck will be willing to do it as I understand that he enjoys working with youth groups and I know that he has been to Catalina before.  Any thoughts?
 
I just thought of something.  Has ANYONE ever seen the two "Chuck Liddells" together in person or in a picture?  Neither have I.  Maybe we are the same person!  Wouldn't that be strange!
 
So "What's In A Name?"