If you’re a wrestling fan I would say there’s a 99.9% chance you’ve heard this question, “You know it’s fake, right?”

If you’re a wrestler, you have likely heard it posed more along the lines of, “I have to ask: is wrestling fake?”

How do you respond?

With a facepalming, “It’s 2019 for f***sake. Google it, dummy.”?

Or a, “Is it predetermined? Yes. But, is it fake? Sh** nah, bruh. People have been f***ed up beyond all repair in that ring! Some have been permanently paralyzed. Some have died! To use the word fake is to disrespect the memories of my heroes, you inconsiderate pube-louse.”

Or, maybe, a lighter, “Of course, but it’s no longer masqueraded as real, these days anyway. Wrestling fans enjoy wrestling the way you might enjoy a Marvel movie, we all know the Avengers aren't really fighting space-vikings, or whatever; we just choose to believe for that two-ish hours to escape from the real world. I hope that makes sense, my friend.”

Or, maybe, a much heavier, much less often applied approach, “*Slap* What’s that? Huh? What the hell’s wrong with you? That’s an open-hand slap. Huh? You think it’s fake? *Slap*...”

Or, maybe, the common wrestler approach of, “As ‘fake’ or as real as I wanna make it.” With the look a bored house-cat gives a limping you-wandered-into-the-wrong-neighborhood-motherf***er looking ass granddaddy long leg spider, before an added, “We like to get the ring set up early before events. Show up early and tell security, at the door, that I said you could have a try out. It think it’s best to see if wrestling is fake for yourself.”

I think all have there place and time, but which do I use?

FAQ: Is wrestling fake? And How the f*** do you answer that, J?

Well, I have previously used all of those except for the Dr. D Slap Method, but the most common one for my first many years in wrestling was to try to make the asker feel as sh**ty for asking it as I felt for being asked.

“I’m sorry, but I have to ask, issat ‘rasslin’ you do fake?” Asks a random person at the gym.

“Yep.” I say and stare them in the eyes with the sincerity of a great used-car salesperson and add, “It’s completely and wholly fake! I actually don't even have to go to the venue on nights I ‘wrestle’.” I say with finger air quotes and a wink.

I continue “Yeah, I mean, I’m not supposed to tell anyone, but…” I look around to make sure the coast is clear. The asker looks at me like I’ve started speaking Japanese very intensely at him.

“...but, it’s all done with holograms.” I conclude.

Usually I would get a you-sir-are-a-d**k head shake and walk off but sometimes I would get a “What?! Are you serious?!”

To the the later I would perk up excitedly take a quick, audible breath in and say suddenly solemn, deadpan, “No.” Then shake my head and walk off.

In both cases those people would refrain from chatting with me between sets at the gym.

Sometimes I would switch it up with a little gaslighting.

“Hey man, I ain’t tryin’ to be rude, but I always wondered. Is that TV wrestling fake?” Someone I knew from Middle School that I tried unsuccessfully to avoid at the supermarket might ask.

“Yeah, man.” I might say. Putting a hand on their should to make them as uncomfortable as I am at talking to excited to see me near-strangers in public. “I hate to break this to you, bub, but…”

Usually they would be staring at me like I invited them on what they thought was a date only to show up all dolled up to me telling them that it was my mission in life to save people like them from the agony of Hellfire.

“...But, it’s all in your head. Pro wrestling never existed. You have imagined it all these years. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, John Cena, Gillberg… These are all manifestations of your subconscious mind that you project onto the real world. Nobody wanted to tell you because they thought it was harmless that when you flipped through the channels you saw the weekly Westminster Dog Show as a surreal program where grown men in costumes play-fought over shiny belts.”

They might try to interrupt my flow here, but I would continue assertively over any would-be objection.

“They thought it was just funny and weird that you saw the Celine Dion shirts that were popular in the Mid-to-Late Nineties as saying revealing phrases like “Two Words: Suck It”. I’m not like them, though. I want to help. I want you to know the truth: it’s okay to masterbate. Not jackin’ during puberty drove you insane, man. You have time to catch up, though. Go! Be free! Let the baby gravy fly, buddy!”

When I would go this route one of two things may happen:

They would think I was the one that was crazy and smile with only their mouth and say something like, “Okay. That’s cool.” and pat me on the shoulder and add, “Well, gotta go. Good seeing you.” Then walk off, and be the one avoiding me the next time we saw each other in public.

2.) They would think I was the one that was crazy and laugh really really hard, damn near crying at the “okay to wack it” bit and pat me on the shoulder and say, “Well, gotta go, but damn good seeing you.” Then walk off still giggling and shaking their head, and never allow me to avoid them in public ever again. “Ay! Ask ‘im if wrestling is fake, Mikey Bob. It’s hilarious.”

Sometimes, if I was particularly impatient, and the person didn’t look very keen on a random fist fight, I might say, “As fake as your mom’s orgasms, dude.” and keep my day rolling along as I keep walking and allowed them to consider whether that meant it was really real or not.

Okay, man, damn. We get it that all those adults calling you a smart ass in your earliest years did nothing but cement it as a major aspect of your personality in your less-early years, but how about now? What does Jason “The Gives Public Talks About Siddhartha Gautama While Using Cuss Words” Kincaid answer when people ask him “The Question”?

Well, to start, taking the time to become aware of the fact that that question was a trigger to a silly overly-emotional response really helped. How the f*** was it that I had been getting forms of that question asked since I first watched PCO in a tag match one fateful Saturday night and got hooked on this wrestling thing, but still felt surprised, offended, annoyed, and angry every single time someone used my least favorite f-word in reference to wrestling?

Like, did I really expect people, to whom wrestling’s existence is only something that they even remember is a thing when something or someone wrestling-related enters their immediate consciousness to understand that when they say “fake” I hear “doesn’t hurt, at all” or that wrestling has been out of the apron skirts of Kayfabe for many, many years, so it’s a ridiculous-to-me question?

What if, I thought, to them it’s just trivial small talk and if they had any clue that when they ask me that question that ready-to-fight storm clouds of thoughts like, “I guess you think the post-concussion depression that almost cost me everything is fake, too? Huh?” came up, they almost certainly wouldn’t ask the question.

What if I was being weak and insecure by not just taking the time to answer the question genuinely.

“Hey, Kincaid, is that wrestling you do fake?” Someone might surprisingly ask me while I am hurriedly putting $10 in Pump 10 at the Go Mart on Eisenhower Drive.

“Oh, uh, hey!” I might say in a what the f**k just happened sort of way. Then I might take a deep breath and say, “Well, I’m in a bit of a hurry, but since you asked…”

“Hmmm… I personally wouldn’t call wrestling fake, and, to be 100% honest, it can seem pretty disrespectful to use those words, because I can sadly assure you wrestling really f***ing hurts!” I might say and pause for a reaction.

“Oh, hell yeah, I bet it does! But are you guys, you know, playing along?” They might say.

“Yeah, man, even playing is a weird-to-me word, because of the fact that people have died due to landing badly in the ring, but yeah, there’s a theatrical play-like aspect to it. So, I understand what you mean by ‘fake’ and ‘playing’. The real truth is that it is a form of fictional entertainment like any movie or TV show you might enjoy, only we’re doing our own stunts and doing a lot of unscripted improvisation. There’s really nothing like it. I actually hope that because of this conversation you will look at wrestling in a new light.”

“Maybe, I don’t know, before we started talking, today, you thought that wrestling was a scam sport meant to trick dummies out of their hard-earned money. Maybe, you thought that the steel and wood with a not-too-soft otherwise it sinks in mat and tight canvas ring was more like a trampoline, before I mentioned that people - one of my all-time favorite wrestlers actually - have died by landing on it in a more-rough-than-usual way.”

“But, hopefully, now you will see it as the crazy, hyper-real, live-action, mythical-archetypes fighting in the most spectacular way that humans have been able to imagine thus-far while simultaneously passing that fighting through the lens of a captivating, relatable story that gives you hope for Justice In The Universe sort of way that I personally think it is best seen as. Maybe, today, I made a new wrestling fan. That would be dope as f***!”

To which they might reply, “Okay, man, yeah, I’ll check it out and see if I can see whatever the f*** you just said. Didn’t you say you were in a hurry?”

To which I might say, “Oh, sh**. Yeah. Thanks.” Maybe, adding, “But it’s all good I have all the time I’ll ever need, anyway.”

To which they might say, “Dude. Just. Leave. Please.”

To which you might say, Is the dialogue in your columns fake or are you really quoting real life?

To which I might say: about as real as your mom’s orgasms and leave it up you and your mother to extra-awkwardly discuss amongst yourselves.

Probably not, though, I’m not that much of a d**k. So, I’d more likely say: To be 100% honest, I don’t speak as well as I write, so, I might fancy-up the language a bit, but that’s why what I write is more real than the very real conversations I base them on; because poetry - and pro wrestling - will always cut through the bulls**t and get to the essence that we’re physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually incapable of saying - and doing.