Which isn’t entirely untrue. I am a big fan of the Man of Steel, but there’s more to it than just that. Even though my last name isn’t Kent, my name is Clark Kent, with Kent being my middle name. Yeah, that’s right. My parents named me after Superman. Clark Kent Linderman.
The story goes something like this. When I was born my parents liked both the names Clark and Kent. The Superman comics of the 40s and 50s weren’t fresh in people’s minds, the movies hadn’t come out yet, and re-runs of the old TV series weren’t showing on TV. So the name Clark Kent had kind of faded from the mainstream.
Of course shortly thereafter, the reruns began showing regularly and new cartoons were produced. By the time I was three or four Superman had regained his place in mainstream pop culture, along with his alter-ego Clark Kent. I was forever linked to Superman.
Pretty cool for a little kid. But the story goes on. A few years later when my brother was born, my parents decided they couldn’t have one kid named after Superman and another kid with a plain old name like Bob or Rick. Can’t favor one kid over the other, right? So Bruce Wayne Linderman entered the world when I was five.
(Although between you and me Bruce, if you’re reading this Superman is a MUCH cooler super-hero than Batman. I mean seriously, anyone can have a utility belt with a bunch of contraptions but can Batman stop bullets with his chest? Can Batman fly? X-ray vision? No, no and no. What exactly can Batman do? And Superman doesn’t even need a sidekick like that sorry excuse for a super-hero Robin.)
Of course all little kids grow in to surly adolescents, so by the time I was 11 or 12 I began to reject all things Superman. But that phase wouldn’t last.
By the time I was in college I began to embrace it again, particularly when I realized that telling co-eds my name and showing them my ID to prove it was an excellent conversation starter.
And no, we didn’t keep the theme going with the kids. When our oldest was born many of our friends suggested Peter Parker (Spiderman) and Lex Luthor. I actually liked the Lex name, but then when I thought about it I realized that you can’t name your kid after your nemesis, so we dropped that thought.
When I first started my business in 2000 I thought the Clark Kent name would be great for marketing. So Clark Kent Landscaping was born, much more memorable than just plain old Linderman Landscaping. When we moved back to Swarthmore a few years later, I changed it to Clark Kent Creations, working that alliterative sound for all its worth.
So yes, my name is Clark Kent, at least as far as first and middle names go. But you can just call me Clark. Just keep me away from that Kryptonite.