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It's easy - especially with the internet - to forget that not everyone has the same frame of reference or interests. Just because you're aware of, say, a musician or a director or an athlete, doesn't mean that everyone else does.
Only the really super famous - Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, for example - get recognised everywhere they go. Someone like Tony Hawk, on the other hand, doesn't.
Yes, he's the most famous skateboarder in the history of skateboarding, largely thanks to his video game franchise, but it turns out that a lot of people have absolutely no idea who he is in the flesh or why a grown man (he'll be 50 in May) carries a skateboard with him everywhere he goes.
Thankfully, Tony Hawk - who also goes by the nickname of The Birdman and who completed the first documented 900 (a two-and-a-half revolution aerial spin performed on a ramp) - doesn't seem to mind much. In fact, you look at his Twitter and he seems to relish the fact that people who don't know who he is get very confused when they see him carrying a skateboard around with him.
Woman on plane retrieving her luggage in the overhead:
"Who's skateboard is this? It's blocking my bag"
me: that's mine, you can pass it here
her: "It's yours? You ride it?
her: "Are you any good at it?"
her: cackles maniacally, exits plane
- Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) April 16, 2018
guy at restaurant: "you famous?"
me: I think that depends on who you ask
him: "anyone ever tell you that you look like Tom Brady?"
- Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) August 17, 2017
Woman at airport: "My husband told me you're an awesome something something. Are you?" Me: "Yes, in fact it's the title on my business card"
- Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) July 15, 2013
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
It seems that it's not just people who don't know who he is that get perplexed around the skateboarder, however. There are some people who know exactly who he is and still act weirdly around him. And not because they're overwhelmed by meeting him. They just act weirdly.
Ticket agent: "Anthony Frank Hawk, are you related to the skateboarder?" Yes, that's me. "Well he doesn't normally go by Anthony Frank."
- Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) July 22, 2010
Woman on plane: "You look like Tony Hawk!" Me: Is that good? Her: "Well... he's that skateboard guy." <== insert response here, I had none.
- Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) August 7, 2010
girl at restaurant: "Are you Tony Hawk?" me: "Yes." her: "Why?" I had no idea how to answer.
- Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) October 26, 2009
Still it's a good example of why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. So next time you see an older man carrying a skateboard around maybe do a quick Google image search to see if it's actually Tony Hawk. Because, well, it might just be.
We're sure it'll keep happening though, so we hope that he continues to take it all in good humour.
In fact, we think it'd be awesome if he gathered all these Tweets together and published them in a book.
Or he could just plaster stickers of his name and face everywhere so that people start to recognise him more. Judging by his Tweets, though, he probably wouldn't enjoy that as much.
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