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A Story to Illustrate: “Nothing Is As It Seems”

Dec 30

I gotta’ story for ya!  Please don’t hold me responsible for names, dates, or places.  I’m well aware of the frailties of human memory, and at this phase of my life, faces, wrestling territories, and times all seem to run together.  Just pretend you and I are in your vehicle; the wrestling matches are done, we’ve got our beer and we’re headed to the next town.  (Those were the days when our sensitivity to drinking and driving was not so high). You’re so happy to have the company, or someone to drive for you, you’d listen to anything I told you, no questions asked.

I’m pretty sure this story took place in the Southeastern U.S.  I think it was in Florida in the early to mid 1970’s.  My mentor, Gene Kiniski, had just pushed me out of the nest and fixed me up with the Graham brothers in Tampa, Florida.  I recall working with some of the truly greats of the day there, like (Beautiful) Bobby Shane, Doug Gilbert (The Pro), Tim Woods (Mr. Wrestling), Jack Brisco, Bob Roop, Bearcat Wright, Paul Jones, Pat Patterson (a bleach blonde Quebecois), Sputnik Monroe, Buddy Colt, and the incomparable (Cowboy) Bob Orton Sr.

This story involves one of the “giants” who like the others (you remember them?. . . Gianto Baba, Jean Ferre (Andre the Giant), for example) would come to a territory do a couple of laps of the circuit and then be on their way to the next territory.  I’ll never forget my introduction to Pak Song, the Korean giant.  I was awestruck at the size of him.  Like the others, he was over 7 feet tall and weighed around 400 pounds.  His hands had the span of tennis rackets and his fingers were like bananas.  We had all heard he was coming and had been looking forward to seeing him (and the crowds he would draw!).

He was introduced to the wrestling fans of Florida on the weekly TV show.  His “gimmick” was to karate chop a bull, real, live, right between the eyes, causing the bull to drop to his knees.  (Needless to say this was somewhat before the “Promotion of Ethical Treatment of Animals”).  Well, on this occasion the bull had other plans.  Pak Song assumed an impressive martial arts ready position, uttered a frightening sound from deep within himself, and struck the bull with what appeared to be all his might.  The bull simply shook it off, and looked at Pak Song quizzically.  The giant Korean shook his head and fluttered his lips like a horse.  He gathered himself, reared back, and came forward with an even mightier blow.  The bull didn’t go down, but the blow had broken the skin on his forehead, and he began to bleed.  We all (the other wrestlers on the show; who were falling all over each other in the dressing room doorway) looked at each other in amazement, the fans in the studio grimaced, they looked to the announcer, the announcer looked at the promoter, and the promoter began signalling to cut to something else.  Before Pak Song and the bull could be separated, the giant had delivered at least two more blows.  The bull was dripping blood from his snout, Pak Song had blood smeared all over his bare torso, and the fans at ringside had all been splattered.  Now at this point I could continue and take you through the complaints that flooded both the wrestling office and the TV station that lead to a public apology on the next TV show . . . but that’s not the story!

I’m sure you remember what tragic figures these giants were?  They were often thousands of miles from home, and family, and worked to the bone.  Even though I had such a bloody introduction to the guy, I sort of felt sorry for him.  So one night after the matches I invited him back to my place to meet my wife Moira, and our three small children (one of whom was only 3 months old).  Now picture this, as I recall we were living in a place on Dale Mabry Drive (in Tampa) right behind a MacDonald’s restaurant.  The light from the “Golden Arches” would shine right into the children’s bedroom.  It was angelic the way the yellow light fell on their tiny tanned bodies as they lay on their colourful “Charlie Brown” sheets.

The giant had to bend himself nearly in half to get through the door of the apartment.  Once he unfolded, and straightened himself out, he started bowing to Moira like a perpetual motion machine.  In her inimitable style she finally put him at ease, and I suggested we peek in at the children, who were sleeping, before we sat down to eat.  I opened their bedroom door and we stepped in.  As soon as the giant saw them he put his palms together and made an almost imperceptible bow in their direction.  After a moment or two, I thought the visit was over and began to move toward the bedroom door.  He didn’t take the hint.  He stood there in the light from the Golden Arches, with tears streaming down his cheeks, and said in his broken English, while pointing at the tiny bodies fast asleep in their beds, “I have . . . my home”.  We all knew exactly what he meant.  Right there I learned, “nothing is as it seems”.

Now remember what I asked you.  Sure, I might have a name or a place wrong, but don’t ruin a good story by fretting about it.  By this time, and back in that world,  I would have stretched the story, while we sped down the Interstate to our destination, the miles would have flown by, we’d have had a couple of drinks, I’d be paying you your “trans” and we’d both be happy.

As you may suspect, I tell you this story to make a point.  It might even be an allegory (look it up; you can bet those assigned to monitor your blog will have to).  Never forget this as you travel through the miracle that is your life, “it’s not appearances that will bind you, but your attachment to those appearances”.  This is tricky, as I’m not suggesting you must become indifferent.  From my perspective, we need to be able to discern between good attachments and bad ones; holding onto the former and abandoning the latter.  We are always striving to better ourselves; so maybe hanging onto something (i.e. becoming “attached” to it) like a belief that you’ve been mistreated by someone, that makes you angry and ill, is not a good attachment.  When you receive “a pearl” like the “it’s not appearances that will bind you….” one noted above, it’s not enough to accept it solely on an intellectual level.  I recommend you take it to heart, and use it.  Use it to quiet your mind.  Be like a devout monk (Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindi, whatever you like, it doesn’t matter) see if you can find a way to put it into action and use it to quiet your mind, think (meditate) on it, and with your “third eye” watch how your health responds.  So, the take away is this, when you receive a different perspective (a “pearl”), don’t throw it away out of hand; take it to heart and see if it quiets your mind, if it does keep it, “attach” yourself to it: now you have a good attachment that you can use to direct your mind in a positive way.

“Sed quis custodiet, Ipsos custodies?”

Dr. Mike Webster, R. Psych.

 

 

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2 Comments
  1. The ease at which you craft the words to slide them gently into my mind where they burst apart like tiny flechettes, tearing down the curtains that have blinded my inner eye. Showing me how to to see again, to believe again and to love again. No, not just you, but the therapy team and the medical marijuana and the techniques and teachings all together with the love and support of my wife and son, have reformulated my outlook on life. You sir, have been as the icing is to the cake, or the salt to the dark chocolate, an enhancement and a binding agent that sharpens the focus and heightens the experience. peace and good fortune for you in 2015

  2. denmaniacs4 permalink

    Mike. Your word craftmanship is stellar. And not just stellar. It is a beautiful and engaging story, memoir, parable, so delicious in the telling, the gentle twisting, the transporting back to an earlier time. A fine and heartfelt slice of life and learning.

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