Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Artist Formerly Known As Grex

When I was about 18 or 19 I got a job as a busboy at what was at the time the largest restaurant in the country. There were 14 or 15 dining rooms and they could seat about 600 people at any one time. During the busy summer months they had over 100 wait staff, 30 busboys, 20 or so dishwashers, and the same number of cooks on the schedule at any given time. The place served breakfast, lunch, and diner and it was a freakin’ mad house. It had been in business since the 20s or 30s. The woman who ran the kitchen looked like a Marine Drill Sergeant and had worked there for more than 40 years. It was the only job she ever had in her whole life.

Anyway, I worked there for 2 or 3 years as a busboy. As a busboy I made frequent trips back to the dishwashing room. The dishwashing room was as big as most restaurants. It was run by conveyor belts, shrouded in steam, and occupied my Mexicans. One evening I was there unloading a load of dishes when suddenly out of the steam I saw one of the dishwashers waving his arm at me and he shouted, “Grrrex Morgaaan!”. He shouted it very enthusiastically, trilling the “r” in “Grex” for a long time and extending out the last syllable in “Morgan". I had no idea what the hell he was talking about so I just sort of waved back and headed back out to the dining room.

For the next several weeks, every time this guy saw me he would yell, “Grrrex Morgaaaan!”. It was very odd. A couple of my buddies heard about this and thought it was cool. They all started calling me Grex. So for the next few years I was Grex to 4 or 5 of my closest friends. A few years went by, and we drifted apart, and the name Grex sort of fell by the wayside along with weird hair cuts and bad fashion choices. I haven’t used the name Grex in years.

Last year I was the victim of identity theft. Somehow, someone got a hold of a credit card number of mine and started charging things around the world. I got home from work and there was a message on my machine from the Citibank fraud division. I was getting very nervous listening to the message on the machine. I called them back and they were very helpful. Apparently, the modus operandi of these people is to get a credit card number and make a few small purchases over-seas to make sure the number is valid. In my case they ordered something from Indonesia. If the number is good they will quickly make a few large purchases at brick-and-mortar establishments here in the States before the card is shut down. Citibank is aware of this practice so the small purchase in Indonesia followed by a large purchase at an auto parts store in Phoenix set off a red flag in their computer system. They discontinued the card number and called me.

All went well at my end. I didn’t have to pay for anything and they issued a new card. However, it made me very aware of how I treat my personal information. One area I started to think about was all of the crap I write on-line about me and my misadventures of restoring an old Victorian. When I started the blog a few months ago I decided I needed a new on-line persona that would leave my true identity seeming like an enigma, inside a mystery, wrapped in a riddle. I decided to resurrect my alter ego “Grex”.

All was well except for one thing. I don’t feel like a “Grex”. Grex was a gangly, awkward 19 year old. Now I’ve matured into a gangly, awkward 43 year old. Grex just isn’t me anymore. So I’ve decided to go back to my real name. How much can someone get from a first name, right? So, if any of you are still reading this, from this day forward, you can all me G-Diddy. No I’m only kidding, my name is Greg. A real mystery, uh? Bet you didn’t see that one coming. I was hoping to thwart the master-minds of an international identity theft ring by changing the last letter of my first name from “g” to “x”. It was a fiendishly clever idea, I’ll admit, but as I said, I’m just not a Grex. It doesn't feel right. So, back to the boring life of Greg, and Greg is going to go paint the kitchen now.

PS Just incase you’re wondering, my last name is not Morgan, and to this day I have no idea where that dishwasher came up with the name Grex Morgan. It is one of life’s little mysteries.


heather said...

Hmmmm...those of use who only know you online will miss GREX. It made you stand out...and we always knew who you were when you posted on comments in cyberspace even if you didn't post your webpage. Oh, well...We like GREG too, and as long as you keep blogging, we'll keep reading, regardless of what you call yourself. :)

Jocelyn said...

I wondered if that was your real name- it's kind of edgy and European or alternative sounding or something. What a funny story of how you got that name too. The only mistaken names I've been called are "Joshalin" or "Joz-lin" when people butcher my name. Oh and I was called Jasper by a friend in college and Jocie occasionally but neither stuck(thankfully).

I use my real name on my blog (obviously) and I try not to be paranoid about it. No one would really want my identity anyway- most people don't like working 7 days a week!

Kristin said...

For a brief while the summer before my senior year in high school, my nickname was Seven. I definitely don't want to associate myself with *that* anymore. :)

derek said...

The only think I can think of is that comic in the newpaper, Rex Morgan m.d. Maybe he was learning english through comics

Scott in Washington said...

Thats really odd - one of those mysteries you probably couldn't solve even with an army of investigators, forensic pathologist, and historians. What did he mean? We'll never know..

My favorite nickname that I have ever had that I didn't come up with myself was "Jungle Boy" This was when I was 22 and had to be called something on the radio. They decided to call me that after an unfortunate incident involving rum and coconut palms at the Regency Hyatt in Guam.

SD aka Scott Dennis