I’ve always had sort of a love-hate relationship with my name. First of all, just to let you know, my name is just Alex. It’s not short for Alexander because my parents thought Alexander deCourville was just too long of a name. And yes, growing up, I heard “Alexander” and “Alexis” on occasion. I didn’t like either. I thought Alexander sounded a little too dainty while Alexis… well, that’s a girl’s name. I also heard Alec from time to time,but as I got older, more people wrapped their around the fact that someone’s name might be Alex.

Speaking of my parents, there’s a little dispute between them over the origins of my name. My dad claims I was named after Alex Trebek. My mom claims I was – sort of – named after Alex Keaton from Family Ties. I say “sort of” because she says she just liked the name but Family Ties sort of pushed it over the edge. She also figured it would be a good name if I was either a boy or a girl – but more on that later.  If that is true, I suppose it became fitting I’d grow up to not only be a fan of Family Ties, but an absolute Michael J. Fox-fanboy. In fact, I named this article after one of the most famous episodes of the show. (If you haven’t seen it,you’re really missing out – it’s on Netflix instant.)

I didn’t know a lot of other Alex’s growing up. I remember only meeting one other guy named Alex while I was in school. The only famous Alex I knew about was Trebek. But the real issue for me was where I often heard my name. Specifically, I often heard it as a girl’s name. Think Doug Walker’s the only one with a grudge against a Nickelodeon show? One show I couldn’t stand was The Secret World of Alex Mack– I remember thinking, dammit, more people using my name as a girl’s name? (Though, unlike NC, I eventually learned to like my namesake’s show.)

I even remember deliberately avoiding the Simpsons episode “Lard of the Dance”because Lisa Kudrow’s character was named Alex. To be honest, I still take umbrage to the matter.  While An American Werewolf in London was a relatively new discovery for me, I was irked that the love interest of that movie was named Alex. The same goes for Up in the Air (Though I did manage to enjoy both movies – even naming Werewolf the best horror-comedy).

As I got older, I learned of more Alex’s – cooler Alex’s: Alex Rieger from Taxi, Alex from A Clockwork Orange, Alex Van Halen, Alex Lifeson of Rush, Alex Murphy AKA Robocop and of course Alex Keaton. As anyone who watched Family Ties knows, in the later seasons,Mallory started dating a man named Nick. Now, that’s funny to me because my brother’s name is Nick. Even odder, when Jesse had his children on Full House, he named them Nick and Alex. My mom likes to joke that whenever people ask her about names from brothers, she always recommends the names Nick and Alex.

If you think my parents had weird taste, keep this in mind.My initials spell out a mental disorder – ADD. Then again, in their defense,when I was born,  Attention Deficit Disorder wasn’t such a hot button issue. My surname has also been sort of an issue of frustration. Think about it for a second, how many deCourville’s do you know? Growing up, nobody ever pronounced it right – well, until I entered college.That’s around the time people started pronouncing it correctly. “Decker-ville”was probably the most common mispronunciation I heard.  I also see it misspelled constantly – usually capitalizing/not capitalizing the wrong letters.

As many of you know, I am trying to find work as an actor.And yes, I do worry about whether or not to come up with a stage name. It seems like a foregone conclusion – I have a weird last name that people might not know how to spell. But the flip side of that is that people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Zach Galifinakis became huge stars despite their odd last names. Speaking of Galifinakis, I worry I’d do something like his character from Due Date (and yes, I liked that movie) and pick something really bad. You think I’ve got any idea what to change it too. Also, it’s gotten to that point where I’ve sort of grown fond of my last name – it’s odd, but it’s certainly distinct. Though I do ponder about progressivism. People talk about men taking their wives’ names upon marriage. I don’t know, does anyone think Alex Deschanel has a ring to it?

If there’s one strange incident I’ve had with my name, I saw an article on IMDB – “Potential Villains for the Governator,” yes a show about Arnold Schwarzenegger as a superhero. And one of the villains, they suggested was… are you ready for this? Alexis deChokesville. I was stunned. I like doing an Arnold impression in my standup act, did they really find that worthwhile to name a character after me? That was also the day after I learned I had a part in Research: The Musical. Had my name already gotten around? I decided to investigate this, and found out there was a 19th Century political scientist named Alexis deToquesville. That makes a little more sense…

I’m sure some of you may wonder why I named my Youtubechannel briancurtiswalker. Brian Walker is the name of a character from a show I created. At the time, I was a little paranoid about people finding me by way of internet. (To be totally honest, I still am a little paranoid about it –especially after an old man tried Facebook-stalking me.) So I sort of cooked up that name because I had the character in mind. Part of the problem was that atthe time I really didn’t plan on hosting videos on Youtube.  I just needed a channel name. “Alexthed” was something else I sort of just pulled out of thin air.

Believe it or not, the name of my blog series “Alex and His Pen” actually came from a criticism. In my Creative Writing class, I was criticized for characters that were,  get this, too clever (Also, I used too many references and my stories were generally considered strange). You know, they always had the clever line –Ironically, this is a criticism I often make of other movies and sitcoms. But anyway, someone said (I forget the exact quote) “there’s little separation between Alex and his pen.”

To quote Forrest Gump, “And that’s all I got to say about that.” But that’s my first year. Hopefully, the second year will be as fun as the first one. And hopefully, I won’t rub as many people the wrong way.

 

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