July 26, 2006
John R. Nocero

Wrestling's In Our Blood

As I sat down to write this week, I put a little Doug Supernaw into the CD player…

It was six in the morning when I made the county line
There's someone I've got to talk to, can't get it off my mind
He is just a kid, and he's in a pretty rough spot
Two dimes to make a phone call, that's about all I got

Dear Son,

How’s Daddy’s little man? I am missing you tonight. You probably will need someone to read this to you. Yes, I know you are doing better with your reading but you aren’t quite ready for the really big words yet, plus I think you’ll lose interest, since this doesn’t have any pictures of snakes or mention the word “toilet.” I was thinking about something and, no I can’t call you at your mom’s house, I wish I could but there are certain restrictions against that apparently, but you know that Daddy always finds a way, doesn’t he?

So the other day I am watching the Dusty Rhodes DVD…it’s the same one you were watching when you saw him clean the toilet, yes, but I didn’t show you the part where Goldust and he break down and weep as they spoke about their relationship as father and son. Then recently Bob Orton Sr., the patriarch of the Orton wrestling clan, passes away. No not Randy Orton son, he is wrestling the Hulkster at SummerSlam. I can imagine the Orton family is mourning the loss of their alpha male.

So I was thinking about lost time and missed opportunities, and I put my WWE Anthology CD in on the way to work this morning. Yeah, that’s the same one that we play “Name That Tune” with. I still don’t know how you know the Bushwhackers theme, they wrestled a little bit before your time, big man. And I thought of you, me and the bond we have created over WWE wrestling. I just wanted to tell you it was special to me, that’s all.

How's my boy today? I know it's been three weeks
But you know how far I've got to go these days to make ends meet
How's your mama now, with her new live-in friend?
Oh, how I hate the wounds that never seem to mend

We might not have had the WWE to share if your mom had anything to say about it. She initially fought me tooth and nail about showing you a pro wrestling match. She said something about how it was going to turn you into a serial killer, and you would turn the world on its axis, running through neighborhoods with chainsaws, dispensing piledrivers with a sprinkle of Singapore cane shots. But I wasn’t showing you bra and panties matches or divas tussling in pudding. Remember that time I brought home a video of WrestleMania III? Your mom called me at work the next day and I could hear you in the background blabbing how you wanted her to show you Hulk Hogan. Your words were hard to understand and I probably should’ve been listening to the boss as she was at my desk with a research assignment with a stringent deadline. And besides, it’s not like Mom walked in as we were chopping each other in the chest re-enacting the Intercontinental title match with Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage, did she? Oh yeah, she did.

God bless the little hearts, there the ones who really pay
When Mom and Dad can't get along and they go their separate ways.
In a way I'm glad there's someone there to fill the empty space
Tears of understanding stream down a dirty face

Remember that Christmas Eve at Grandma’s house? Well, maybe you might not. You could’ve been too young. But I sure do. I went down to the basement to look through all my old toys that grandma keeps down there. I was just trying to find you something to play with because Mommy had most of your good toys at her house. And you found my old rubber LJN Wrestling Superstars action figures. I forgot they were even down there! Boy, Daddy had everyone didn’t he? We had the ring, Andre, Fred Blassie, who you kept calling “old man.” We had everything. I brought both boxes up from the basement and grandma and I washed each of the vinyl men off for you in her ivory washtub in the laundry room. We set up the ring right under the tree, and the bulbs flickered off the old WWF sticker in the center. Well, not entirely because the “F” was tattered and frayed. You, your aunt, and I had an old fashioned battle royal right straight from the Royal Rumble. I think your great-grandmother was even watching. Yes, I know her teeth are fake son.

Then under your Sgt. Slaughter-like orders, we brought everything back to daddy’s house. I left them under your careful supervision when Daddy moved into his new house. Funny, but the next time I saw the Junkyard Dog, his leg had been chewed off and his face mangled by your stepdad’s dog. I wonder who fed it to him, huh?

He is quite a little man growin' up as fast as he can
And I don't get to see him half as much as I had planned
There's so much I need to tell him, so precious little time
A little rain on the window, and a little wave... goodbye

Then last year, December 30 to be exact, was one of the best days of daddy’s life. Daddy, his new wife and his number 1 son went to real live wrestling in Erie, Pennsylvania. I still have the picture hanging up on my wall at work. Yes, the one where you have me in a headlock with your fist aiming right for daddy’s kisser! You were clad in your little white Rey Mysterio mask and gray Gap sweatshirt, while the fans in our section affectionately kidded Daddy for looking like Stone Cold Steve Austin. I remember how you ran to the barricade to get a small touch from one of the Superstars, to which Shelton Benjamin graciously obliged; how you ran to the front row to get a better look at Kane, and then when my wife and I held you up above the crowd after John Cena successfully defended his WWE title. The excitement must’ve been too much for you I think, because you were fast asleep before we even picked up the chocolate milkshake from Wendy’s we promised you. The car ride home was a long one, but just looking in the rear view mirror and seeing your sleeping face in the half-smile clutching your brand new Big Show teddy bear, made it all worthwhile. I remember pulling in the driveway and carrying you up to bed, as visions of loveliness danced in your head. And mine.

You said, "I don't call him daddy, but he takes care of things.
When you pick me up on Friday, are you gonna bring me anything?
Oh, don't worry Dad, you know, it don't matter what we do; Cause I don't call him daddy, he can never be like you."

Daddy’s getting tired now so I am heading up to sleep. You should be sleeping too. Remember I am picking you up to take you to soccer camp in the morning. I just wanted to say that I know things are hard sometimes, and I know that some things you don’t understand quite yet, but please know that it is such a gift that we are able to have a common bond over something that daddy and now you hold so dear. Yes, we can wrestle when you come over this weekend and I will even turn around and let you test out your new double axhandle to the spine move again. (why did I teach you that stuff??) And no, I haven’t touched your WWE Undisputed championship belt that is on your nightstand either, per your orders. We’ll size it this weekend so it doesn’t keep falling off your hips. And I just got the Superstar Billy Graham DVD too. We’ll watch it. Believe me, he was Hogan before Hogan was Hogan. And we can play the wrestling game too, the one with the Hart Gang and George Beefcake. I still got some wisdom to impart, I believe.

And to paraphrase your favorite tag team if I may: if you’re not down with that, I got three words for ya:

I love you.

Hug you soon.

Love,

Dad

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