Captain Awesome: 'It's just who I am'

EUGENE, Ore. - Clark Kent used a phone booth to change into Superman.

But that's just make believe, the world of comic books and fantasy.

Here in the real world of Eugene, Ore., Douglas Smith Jr. walked into the Lane County Courhouse - and walked out Captain Awesome.

"It's just who I am," Awesome said.

Awesome convinced a judge to approve his legal name change. On his Oregon ID card, his name is listed last name first: "Awesome, Captain."

Awesome had thought about changing his name all of his life.

"I'm tired of just being another sheep in the herd," he said. "I didn't really like just having the traditional name my parents gave me."

He got serious about changing his name earlier this summer when he moved - and the post office starting sending his mail to his father. Awesome missed some bills, the late fees piled up, and he started worrying about his credit.

"It was a lot easier to change the name," he said.

He didn't anticipate the response.

"I had no clue it was going to go as wild as it's been," he said Tuesday night. "Just today I've gotten calls from BBC World News, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer ... my friend I play xBox LIve with, his father's name is Doug Smith, and he saw it in the paper and told my friend about it - and he lives in Indiana."

So could being Awesome become Captain's claim to fame?

"Hey, if it takes me somewhere, I'm not against that," he said. "I'm an ordained minister, and I've performed wedding ceremonies, non-traditional weddings."

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