Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Wrestling with my career options 

Being that this will be the first ever 'blog' entry for me, I'm probably going to fail to make it interesting, but here goes...I've often had conversations in my head, working out problems for myself or just simply debating the finer points of issues that I care about (yes, debating with myself). I picked this habit up at an early age. I wasn't an only child, nor am I now, but I've always had a much easier time conversing with myself than with others. I sent this trait into overdrive about 7 years ago when I started guest hosting radio talk shows. Debating or conversing in one's own head is a great way to work out kinks in a monologue or to be prepared for challenging questions. Anyway, what I was getting at is that often I have great conversations in my head and think "I should write this crap down..." Perhaps that's what this will be. We'll get around to the radio BS later.

One of the things I've noticed about the few 'blogs' or blog-style sites that I feel compelled to keep up with is that these people generally have a love, in some way, for professional wrestling. This has often puzzled me, though I'm not sure why. I personally haven't kept up with professional wrestling for many years, which is not to say that it's not ok to do so. My sister still watches the WWE and she IS still blood relation...Anyway, like everything else that I have come across in my time, I have extensively analyzed the impact that pro wrestling has had on my life. Before you judge, read on...

When I was in elementary school, I was introduced to the wonderful world of professional wrestling via television. The WWF was new and compeletly exciting to me. At the time, the AWA, the NWA and the WWF were the dominant associations, minus the smaller local circuits. At the time, we didn't have cable television (although I persistently begged my parents for it, cable wouldn't come into our lives for a few years...Approximately when I was nearly in Junior High School.) and so the only wrestling I could get, if I were lucky and it wasn't pre-empted by an infomercial, was the WWF...I had heard of the AWA and the NWA from the limited material I found at the library and at bookstores (this all sounds pathetic, I know) but for me, the WWF was king. I was a fan of the Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, Rowdy Roddy Piper and their ilk. The 'good guys' sickened me while the 'bad guys' spoke to my inner evil. How I miss such clear divisions. You were either for or against and everyone stuck together...With some exceptions. Andre the Giant was 'bad' for some time. Brutus Beefcake straddled the line, eventually becoming the barber and hell, even Leapin' Lanny Poffo was reinvented as 'the Genius.' I still liked him, either way. Probably all that flopping around and his underdog status.

My mother once announced with great certainty that she had two favorite wrestlers. "Mr. Wonderful" and Paul Orndorff. The subtle irony still makes me smile today.

Anyway, this is all very random, I know, stick with me...What I'm getting at is that I was HOOKED. I was SO into this pro wrestling stuff...I drew cartoons about wrestling, I had 'the wrestling album', I had the stupid action figures INCLUDING THE STUPID RING and I even built a makeshift ring in my backyard and staged matches. There is still a horrible blackmail video tape of the backyard stuff that exists to this day. My dream was to grow up and be a professional wrestler. Or the ring announcer. Maybe I could do both, I thought.

Now, you'd have to know me to understand that this was a significant detour in my young life. From 3rd grade on, I had decided my fate. I was going to be a "commercial artist," a job title that I had selected from the list at 'career day.' It was expected that I would just follow my path and shut up. I had always been proficient at drawing little cartoons, so, to everyone I knew, it seemed natural. now, though, I was threatening to destroy the very fabric that holds the universe together by straying from my destiny. That's right, Mom and Dad...I'm going to be a pro wrestler, just like Jake the Snake Roberts and Randy Savage. Although sans reptiles and not quite as macho. Either way, that was it. I was set.

I was going to have the love of the crowd. I was going to be likeable without being flashy. Best of all, I was going to have the most devastating finishing move the world had ever seen. I was convinced that I had found the rainbow's end. My finishing maneuver may as well have come to me in a vision surrounded by trumpeting angels. I practiced on dummies that I made with pillows and old clothes. I practiced on my friends. I practiced and practiced and...yeah...Practiced. I was taking this quite seriously.

There is a reason that I'm a graphic artist today. Not a pro wrestler. Simply put, the reason is: Koko B. Ware. Koko B. Ware had a parrot. Koko B. Ware danced around like a monkey with a vibrating butt-plug. Koko B. Ware was flashy. Koko B. Ware had my finishing move.

That bastard.

I was crushed. Devastated. I remember it all very clearly. I was lying on the couch at home, eating doritos, no doubt. I watched the first match for this Koko fella and enjoyed his antics right up to the bitter end when he whipped out a devastating suplex-piledriver. MY devastating suplex-piledriver. Mine. Goddammit. Mr. B. Ware won his match and went on to have a brief career in the WWF. As for me, I knew that my dream was shattered. I was finishied before I had a chance to begin. Without my unique finisher, I wasn't marketable (I convinced myself of this at the age of 13.) I'd better just keep drawing and hope that pans out someday, I thought.

I have accomplished many things in the 16+ years since that incident. I'm still working as a graphic designer, I'm still a part-time radio DJ. I've been a pro hockey announcer and I have a happy marriage. But I still hate Koko B. Ware.

Yes, I still hate Koko B. Ware.

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