Recently I wound up at Comic Con in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. I was in town for a show at Rupp Arena. As I entered the lower levels of the arena, some of my friends informed me that Comic Con was taking place in the adjacent convention hall and I had to check it out. My all access pass would seemingly get me in.
I don’t have anything against my fine fellow human beings who are in to that world, but it is simply not me. Just when I thought I had seen enough, I came upon some people who are/were very important to me.
WWF was a big deal to me back in the late 80s and early 90s. Big deal. You may not know these guys, but suddenly I was walking past Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Greg The Hammer Valentine, and Brutus The Barber Beefcake.
I was stunned.
When I saw the movie The Wrestler back in 2008, my eyes were fully and finally opened to the realities of what happens to these real lives.
We all want to be entertained. We all want to connect with something. For a few of my younger years, I was “all in” on WWF, especially Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior and Macho Man and Undertaker. Yes, this was before the panda bears officially won rights to those three letters.
But those guys froze in time back when I stopped watching or caring about wrestling, right? They were bigger than life characters who sometimes positively, sometimes negatively, impacted the lives of those who cared to watch. They had it made, and that never changed, right?
Yeah, the film The Wrestler deeply impacted me. Mickey Rourke is phenomenal in that role. But five years later I accidentally went to Comic Con. I mostly hate that I went – both because I really don’t care about weird-ass creepy costumes and comic books, but mostly because I ran directly into my own unquestionable confirmation that we are mere mortals. A few of my heroes – from my childhood – had made their way to Heritage Hall and were sitting behind tables of 8x10s waiting for anyone interested to come by, throw a bit of financial support their way, then maybe pose for a quick photo and share an autograph.
But very few were stopping by.
I didn’t know what to do. I had no cash. It was obvious they weren’t taking debit cards. It was a weird moment, I’m not going to lie. I found my better half and we receded to our original destination. I basically ran, and I have thought about it a lot since.
It all ends someday. It has to. Goodness, please let that be a reminder to take advantage of every sweet little moment you have. Treat people well. Call your mom. Don’t be a dick. Smile. Laugh. And for you music industry people – clap! - and at least pretend to still care about the music.