Article from the 1/25/2018 Avalon Bay News

"INTERESTING/UNUSUAL QUESTIONS/COMMENTS CONCERNING CATALINA ISLAND"

From March 10, 2014-March 16, 2017, when I was "Catalina's Official Greeter", though the Catalina Chamber Of Commerce, I answered 64,590 questions from the cruise ships' and cross channel boats' passengers.  That amounts to "greeting" approximately 650,000 visitors.  Here are some of the inquiries I had to address (additional ones www.catalinaislandman.com):
"Does Catalina have it's own flag?"
"Why do you have so many California license plates on your vehicles.  Were they brought over?"
"Does your 'Down Town" boat go to Los Angeles?"
"Do you have a jail boat?"
"Can anyone live here?"
 
THE "CHUCK SHOW"
 
For those loyal readers of mine (both of you, raise your hands), you remember in my last column, January 18, 2018, "I AM 'ME'?" (see this and other past columns, www.catalinaislandman.com) I confided all of my problems that I have and continue to face with my name, as I share it with an ex-UFC Fighter, yes, of course, "Chuck Liddell"!  But things REALLY got out of hand in January, 2016.  FACEBOOK, which I had been on for over 10 years, SUDDENLY "questioned" my identity and somehow thought that I was try to pass myself off or impersonate this wrestle!  RIDICULOUS!!!!!  Look him up on the internet.  DOESN'T LOOK ANYTHING LIKE ME.  We simply share the same name!  I rarely, if ever, make reference to him on my site and I am old enough to be his father!  FB wanted me to "prove" my identify by instructing me to, over my cell phone, show them my  "Driver's License".  They acknowledged the receipt of this, but also made note that my name on the card was "Charles" not "Chuck".  I tried to explain to them that probably NOBODY was born with the name of "Chuck" or used it on legal documents, but was merely a nickname!  I questioned whether the "other" Chuck Liddell showed "Chuck" on his "Driver's License"!  Without warning, my site was blocked (removed) from FB, taking all of my 3700+ "friends" with me!  Family and friends feared that something major had happened to me.  I began to panic thinking that ALL of the rest must be feeling the same way.  I either was experiencing major issue or I just didn't "like" them anymore, or both!  Being off FB, they now didn't have anyway to reach me and vice versa.  So, I had to get back on FB, simply in order to clarify the situation with them, but FB only allowed me to go back as "Charles" NOT "Chuck" Liddell; the name I had used since I was 11--25 years ago.  O. K., 58 years ago!  I then decided to NOT have my face on it for any possible future confusion.  Once I got back on, I decided that IF I was going to contact all of these past "friends", I might as well just start up again and stay on!
Believe it or not, the problem now arose with me having to prove that I was indeed the "Chuck" that my family and friends knew me as, considering I was now "Charles", which they knew I rarely ever used, except for legal purposes.  I was often asked about conversations that he had months ago, when I normally can't even remember what I had for breakfast two days before.  As remarkable as it may seem, I was called "fake" by some and they BLOCKED me!  TALK ABOUT HUMILIATING AND DEMORALIZING!  
While trying to locate "lost friends", I came across three names that have mean a LOT to me over the past 19 years!  Peter, Vicki, and Wesley Alvin!  In August, 1998, I was in the beautiful Casino Theatre watching a most remarkable movie, "The Truman Show", with Jim Carrey.  If you have never seen 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 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 his family, friends, and all who shared his "life", were actors, excluding him.  He spend his life naively thinking that he was just a "normal Joe" 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 building and started to go home, when I heard the Alvins, who I didn't know at the time", commenting between themselves right behind me, on how Avalon looked indeed like a "movie set":, just like the one owe just experienced on "The Truman Show".  Observations were made along the line 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 equally magical and hypnotic!  It harkened back many unique and special memories of being a kid, sleeping on the sundeck of my Descanso Street home, looking up at the remarkable sky, listening to the live "Big Band" music floating across the harbor for the "World Famous Casino Ballroom", and smelling the "night blooming jasmine" that had been planted around the house.  
I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but I did, for a split second -- O. K., even longer -- think that maybe, just "maybe", I was on a life-long "reality show"!  My first thought was "HOW BORING", but then I got flash backs of some of the memorable experiences that I have been privileged to have and will share in this column.  I have had/am experiencing a "charmed life" on Catalina Island.  I started thinking  of all of the unbelievable situations that only occurred because of the uniqueness of this "Magical Isle".  The fantastic people I have had the singular honor to meet, and now I cherish as my dear friends, unfortunately, many now departed.  (To this day, I still don't know HOW the Alvin Family became such good friends after their seemingly insignificant comments leaving the movie that eventful night.  They can't explain it either!  I hardly paid much attention to them behind me, simply got a glance of them, but we kept "accidentally" running into each other all over town and are now, I am happy to report, GREAT friends!  I have since found out that both Vicki and Wesley are very accomplished performers!  Could they have secretly been actors role playing all along!?!  I am AFRAID to ask them!).
Passengers getting off the cruise ships often ask me how I was so "lucky" to be born and end up on this remarkable Island.  I tell them I really had little do to with this decision, at least the first part.  Mom was here when I was born and so I thought it would be convenient to be born where Mom was!  Old fashion idea, I guess, with today's technology!  I doubt very much if I would have made the same location decisions IF I had any control over my destiny.  Probably not!  I am SO LUCKY to be where I want to spend the rest of my life. 
IF it turns out that my life really has all been "set up" for the pleasure of viewers, to all of my "fans", I promise to "raise the bar" on my life to make watching me even more exciting and, of course, to work to keep the ratings up!  
I look forward to sharing more of my unique life through this column, much against the wishes and advice of a certain special woman in my life,  "CBHHBR almost CLR"!  It's been, and hopefully will continue to be, from another movie, my all-time favorite, "It's A Wonderful Life"!  
To contact me personally, chuckliddell.catalina@gmail.com