I have a confession to make to you, my less-than-faithful readers: I have not been honest in the past. Not so much with my column, but more so in person. You see, for years, I have gone to parties
with an alias and a back story. Yes, even before “Wedding Crashers,” my friend Rob and I used to do this. It spices up one-time-only meetings that most people probably won’t even remember the next day.
My most-used alias was Lance Sterling.
Originally, we were just looking for a pretentious-sounding name for a fake Facebook.com profile I created a while ago, but eventually the persona of Lance Sterling morphed into a slightly over-the-top, yet believable one.
It came to pass that Lance Sterling was a professional snowboarder who decided to go back to school after several years competing on the pro circuits. Lance won bronze once, in 2002, but decided his career wasn’t panning out. He returned to Temple to study journalism.
Rob, my partner in deception, adopted the pseudonym of Dustin Davis IV. He came from a prestigious line of Davis’s. Dustin was a real smooth-talker, a lady’s man who had wrestled at University of Wisconsin but decided to transfer to Temple to be closer to home.Not surprisingly, many believed it.
I guess most people don’t assume somebody would not only lie about their name, but also their entire life story. I’ve had people recognize me as Lance when I go out and the name has become near-synonymous with my own.
Lance Sterling is not me at all, though. This is a common misconception. He is more handsome, more outgoing, a more interesting
alter-ego. He also enjoys dogs, while I consider myself to be more of a cat person. Lance has also broken many hearts around campus because he always gets the ladies, but I can’t do much past make them blink.
Other friends of mine, besides Rob, have fake names as well. There’s a Jervis Forbes Portsworth, a name created to have a rich, preppy sound to it. There’s a Fox Mulderbiff, a purely ridiculous alias.
There’s a Race Johnson, which we decided
sounded like a perfect golfer. There’s a bunch of them out there, you may have met one.Sometimes, when I get tired of living the party-life as Lance Sterling, I’ll utilize one of the other names I’ve picked up from friends and acquaintances.
There’s Jerome Uebelaquer, Alfonzo Ledreddy, Steve Tallerbash, Birkie Moss, Mendel Gaskins, Deek Mitchell, Eugene Sticklmeir. Eugene had a fake LiveJournal.com blog, the name of which I can’t reproduce here.
On occasion, however, people have seen through my shtick. The most mortifying incidences are the ones where someone knows my twin brother or a roommate and calls me out on it immediately.
“Hi, I’m Lance Sterling. Nice to meet you.””Uh, no, your name is Mike. I’ve actually been in your apartment. You’re a weirdo.”That’s actually happened a lot.
Rob and I used to bestow a character upon a mutual friend, Steve. Poor Steve had no game with the ladies, so we used to spice a night up by telling girls he was in the aviation field as a test pilot. We’d give him a name befitting a test pilot, like Nook or Rex.
Despite Rob’s best efforts, it never worked. Steve was just too gameless, which is why, by the end of the night, he would go from test pilot Nook, to old ‘No-Game-Steve.’ Such is life.
Anyway, the question remains: Why am I coming clean now? Has the burden of living a lie finally come crashing down on me? The answer, as you may have guessed, is no. I still enjoy it, but it’s time to put it to rest. To those who have met Lance Sterling, don’t consider yourselves duped. Consider yourselves lucky. He’s far cooler than I am and meeting him saved you from listening to Mike Gleeson who talks about Saabs, his cats and the New York Mets endlessly. Boring, right?
That’s not to say that Lance Sterling will fade into oblivion, or ‘Bolivian’ as Mike Tyson likes to call it. He’ll still be hanging out from time to time, showing up at parties or gatherings that bore me.
In fact, Dustin Davis himself made an appearance last week at Columbia Law School, telling people he worked in Scranton at a law office. Of course this isn’t true.
And his fake boss? Lance Sterling. Like you expected someone else.
Mike Gleeson can be reached at email@example.com.