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for this man, being CALLED awesome is no joke.

Byline: Karen McCowan The Register-Guard

Eugene-Springfield, meet Captain Awesome.

Not that the former Douglas Allen Smith Jr. is a newcomer to Lane County.

He was born here in 1983. He graduated from Willamette High School in 2002.

But he officially became Captain Awesome only last month, when a Lane County Circuit Court judge approved his name change petition.

And his new first name is no title, he made clear in a recent interview.

"Hi! I'm Captain," he said, making this story even more fun to write. Journalists refer to subjects by last name only on second and subsequent references. So, that's Awesome!

Any reader who - like Awesome - watches the television show "Chuck" will not be surprised to know how he chose his new moniker. It was, indeed, inspired by a character on the NBC action/drama series: Dr. Devon "Captain Awesome" Woodcomb.

"I just thought it was really funny that Devon's father always called him Captain Awesome because 'a poor nickname builds good character,' " said the local Awesome, an out-of-work cabinet installer.

Awesome said he had to jump through an extra hoop to legally change his name. Most such requests are approved in informal "ex-parte" hearings with Lane County judges. In Awesome's case, however, the judge who considered his name change in that setting balked at granting it.

That judge - whose name Awesome cannot remember and who is not identified in Awesome's court records - questioned his seriousness. The judge also advised him to hire an attorney to represent him in a formal oral argument for the change.

But Awesome decided to go it alone. He felt confident after researching name change precedents at the University of Oregon Law School library.

He hadn't counted on Lane County Circuit Judge Douglas Mitchell hearing his case, however.

"The first thing he said to me was that he thought Douglas was a perfectly honorable first name," said Awesome (nee Douglas Smith). "I thought, 'Oh my goodness - I'm screwed.' "

But Mitchell simply made him raise his right hand, swear that he wasn't changing his name for fraudulent reasons, and proclaimed him Captain Awesome.

Mitchell also allowed Awesome to change his official signature to a right-pointing arrow, a smiley face and a left-pointing arrow. The state Department of Motor Vehicles actually accepted the cheerful new signature. But alas, his bank refused to honor it, Awesome said.

"They said it was too easily forgeable," he explained.
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Title Annotation:Courts; After braving a skeptical judge, the former Douglas Allen Smith Jr. gets an amazing name change
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 6, 2010
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