Tony Hawk has a problem.
See, lots of people know the name “Tony Hawk.” He’s synonymous with skateboarding, he’s had video games named after him, and in general he’s permeated the cultural consciousness so that most people in America are aware of him on some level. The problem is, most of those people either a. do not know what he looks like, b. can’t quite place where they know his name from, or c. do not believe he’s the actual Tony Hawk.
It’s not a problem problem, exactly, but you have to imagine that it makes aspects of his life very strange. Imagine walking around all day and having people not believe you are who you say you are, or think you’re someone else, or just in general question the very nature of your existence. I’m sure there’s a name for this phenomenon, but I wouldn’t know where to start. Here are just a few examples:
TSA agent (checking my ID): “Hawk, like that skateboarder Tony Hawk!”
Her: “Cool, I wonder what he’s up to these days”
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) March 21, 2017
Kid at skatepark:
“Are you Tony Hawk?”
me: I am
him: “no you’re not”
me: ok, I’m not
him: “but are you, FOR REAL?”
me: I am, for real
him: I thought you’d look younger
me: ME TOO
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) July 29, 2019
At Disneyland with kids, waiting in line for churros. Girl in front of me: “you look like Tony Hawks”
me: Is that good?
her, nonplussed: “I guess so”
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) June 15, 2019
Went to a convenience store on my way to skate, approaching counter with water & Advil (I’m old), clerk sees me: “you look like someone”
me: oh yeah?
him: “what’s your name?”
him: “last name?”
him: “you are him?”
him: “no charge, but you owe me a selfie”
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) June 19, 2019
Guy approaches me while standing in line at coffee shop in Cancún.
Him: my friend says you are a famous person. Is that true?
Me: that depends on your definition of fame
Him: will you show up on Google if I search your name?
Him (typing into phone): you are Tony Stark?
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) April 3, 2019
TSA agent (staring intently): I’m trying to figure out who you look like before checking your ID.
TSA: that cyclist Armstrong!
Nearby agent: that ain’t Lance Armstrong
Me: he’s right
TSA: oh you look like that skateboarder (checks ID). Same last name too! Crazy!
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) August 21, 2018
Surfing in Hawaii, paddling out to the lineup. Guy paddling next to me: “anyone tell you that you look like Tony Hawk”
Me (thinking he knows the meme): “yes, but you’re the first today”
Him: “you should tell people you are and then sign his name, haha”
His friend: “he’s real one”
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) February 28, 2021
Follow up: I asked him his name and he said Irving. I told him my name is Tony, to which he replied sarcastically “like Tony Hawk haha”
and then he left.
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) October 31, 2019
Bizarre, right? Well, we can all rest easy knowing that, as of today, someone finally recognized Tony Hawk for who he was.
Other nurse: it’s true, and she still skates. I blame you for when she got hurt and I was short staffed for a week.
Me: my sincere apologies. Don’t do a kickflip.
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) May 26, 2021
I’m sure he finally feels fulfilled.