Tony Hawk has a problem.
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 don't know what he looks like, can't quite place where they know his name from, or don't believe he's the actual Tony Hawk.
It's not a 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!"— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) March 21, 2017
Her: "Cool, I wonder what he's up to these days"
Kid at skatepark:— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) July 29, 2019
"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
At Disneyland with kids, waiting in line for churros. Girl in front of me: "you look like Tony Hawks"— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) June 15, 2019
me: Is that good?
her, nonplussed: "I guess so"
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"— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) June 19, 2019
me: oh yeah?
him: "what's your name?"
him: "last name?"
him: "you are him?"
him: "no charge, but you owe me a selfie"
Guy approaches me while standing in line at coffee shop in Cancún.— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) April 3, 2019
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?
TSA agent (staring intently): I'm trying to figure out who you look like before checking your ID.— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) August 21, 2018
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!
Surfing in Hawaii, paddling out to the lineup. Guy paddling next to me: "anyone tell you that you look like Tony Hawk"— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) February 28, 2021
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"
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"— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) October 31, 2019
and then he left.
Bizarre, right? Well, we can all rest easy knowing that, as of today, someone finally recognized Tony Hawk.
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.— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) May 26, 2021
Me: my sincere apologies. Don't do a kickflip.
I'm sure he finally feels fulfilled.