“Do you think I love wrestling?” Asks my Heart to me.
“Damn. Okay. So, I guess we’re going hard out the gate on this one, huh?” I say, trying to gather my thoughts, and stall while I do. “Do I have to answer that?” I ask.
“Of course not. I understand if you’re too scared. It’s not-” Heart begins.
“Who you callin’ a-scared!” Says Brain who’s easily offended.
“Me. And…*sigh* Yes, I am.” I say.
“Bulls***! WE’RE not scared of ANYTHING!” Yells Brain.
“You’re such a liar, Brain! You’re the most sacred thing I’ve ever dealt with! Constantly worrying about th-”
“Who’re you calling a “thing”! You sonuvab***h! Are we no longer personifying all of a sudden? I’m not a person but a thing? F*** you I’m a thing! I am you, b****! I’ll straight up f-”
“Calm down.” I say to my brain.
“Don’t tell me to calm down! When has trying to force me to calm down ever worked?! By the way, I noticed you didn’t capitalize Brain in that last bit, taintcheese! I’ll straight up f-”
“Forget about this in a few minutes and start wondering how many platinum albums Kenny G has, even though you have no interest in Jazz music or-” I start.
“We should definitely Google that. I am just curi… How dare you! You snozzcumber savoring sucker with a savior complex! I’ll straight up f-”
“Fixate on whether someone who has no impact on our life likes “us” or not, and constantly flood Body with stress hormones over silly worry over doing, or saying, the wrong thing? You know what? I’m sick of your sh**! I’ll straight up f-” I start.
“Boys!” Heart interjects.
“I’m a grown-ass-man.” Brain and I say in perfect unison.
Heart smiles that “come on, I know you better than you pretend to know yourself, and yet I still love you with every essence of my being” smile.
“Are you going to stop stalling and answer my question, now?” Heart asks gently.
“Honestly, I have no idea.” I answer.
“Why do you think your matches in Japan have been a little better than your more recent ones in the USA?”
“Because… Damn.... I guess I don’t think you really care for wrestling all that much and so I’ve kinda subconsciously decided to shut myself off from you in order to perform at a higher level.” I answer.
“Hmmm.” Says Heart. “Why don’t you think that I care for wrestling?” Asks Heart.
“Because it, especially when it comes to wrestling storylines, perpetuates the myth of redemptive violence: this idea that if the right people get the sh** kicked out of them then everything might turn out alright...but that’s just not the way the real World works. It’s a child’s fantasy and not the good kind like Pixar makes.
Because it glorifies, on the small scale, the Us vs Them mentality that, on a larger scale, makes social media damn near unbearable sometimes and hardens people’s hearts to their neighbors, and, on the largest scale, leads to children who should be enjoying those wonderful Pixar films getting consumed by man made hellfire.
Because for a typical thirty-to-sixty minute time limit, I have to pretend that hurting someone else doesn’t hurt me.
Because, so far, I have been very unsuccessful when trying to wrestle with my heart guiding me: because, it seems, people enjoy the constant retellings of the myth of redemptive violence; because it simplifies a complex-problemed World into a shared imaginary space where we can just f*** our problems up with physical force. It’s romantic and sexy. It’s vengeance porn. And who the f*** am I to ruin people’s short, fun time where they get to vicariously live out the back-to-basics, animal-nature fantasy that we all seem to be born with: where people who don’t act right according to the agreed upon by the tribe structure of behavior you can just inflict pain on them and make it all better. It’s the same reason I jumped up and down everytime Stone Cold Steve Austin gave Vince McMahon a 100% Grade A Asswhippin’: because deep down inside me I knew I should rightfully be able to drop a mealy-mouthed teacher on that stack of dimes he called a neck for answering a sincere question with a stingingly sarcastic remark, because if he didn’t have this human-made invisible, imaginary-yet-real force field of social hierarchy - that calls for serious repercussions by intervening parties - my instincts to stomp a mudhole in my math-teacher’s jackass ass could run their very natural course. There’s a part of my brain that doesn’t know, or care to know, about consequences and just wants to do what it feels is natural and right: to physically f*** up whatever is f***ing sh** up for me, right Brain?” I say.
“OH HELL YEAH!” Says Brain in a familiar voice.
I continue, “So, really I have no business trying to change the business model of The Business. You want to sell tickets easily? Create a widely relatable personal conflict between two or more persons and have them resolve the conflict with artistically beautiful displays of ugliness to each other.
Maybe it’s good to give people a pressure release valve for their own instincts to untether the old asswhip on their own respective Vince McMahon’s, whether they be sorry sonovab**** syllabus slingers or any other form of unjust, drunk-with-power authority figure, or just someone who breaks a written or unwritten code of conduct. Even though we have the genuine want and capability to give our backhand compliment giving bosses an actual backhand or give a tailgating driver a size ten to their tailpipe, we don’t because the higher functions of our brains understand that it’s a bad move in the long run. So, maybe it’s good to let it pass through our systems in a fantasy World.
Maybe it’s healthier to allow our tribal instinct to pick a playteam to identify with - and derive individual gratification or disappointment from - group conflicts that are as easy to understand as a clearly-unkind Outsider group invading and altering the culture and property of a World renown championship wrestling group, than it is to have those protect-what’s-ours instincts kick in when an unclearly-kind-or-unkind outsider group “invades” or maybe just “genuinely seeks refuge” on the property and in the culture we identify with. Maybe because we’ve given those monkey-mind instincts a little recess to fling sh** at the obviously bad Them, when the not-so-obviously bad Them asks to share space with us, maybe we will let the higher processes of our minds take the time to: look deeply into Their individual situation, take the time to get to know Them while reserving judgement, use the scientific method to reach a richer understanding of what is probably a very nuanced, hard-to-grasp at first, situation, and, then, finally, act in the wisest, most compassion for both Us and Them, manner.
Or, maybe: each repetition of the myth of redemptive violence builds a bigger bicep of bullsh** for curling up by the firestorm of f*** Them because they ain’t Me: “It’s okay to treat Them like sh**: I’m justified in my actions because I am the superstar of the storyline called My Life and anyone who tries to cheat me out of my ever changing idea of a perfect life is the bad-person and deserves the bad that I do to them.” Maybe that line of thinking could build up a sort of pressurized paranoia pipe bomb where repercussions for our seemingly justified actions loom over our heads with the threat of explosion making us too anxious to enjoy the things that we were so sure would bring us happiness.
And, maybe, each staging of Ye Ole Play Thusly Titled Us vs Them is like a sh**y pop song that gets played so much that it gets stuck in our head and even though you have a whole memory bank full of highly thought out, skillful tunes carefully composed by master craftspeople, here you find yourself humming along to (in the style of Achy Breaky Heart - if you have no idea of the song I am referring to, I don’t recommend looking it up - if you did, I’m sorry) “Don’t - be-nice-to Them, They ’r’-not-yer-friends, ‘Ey cannnnot relate or com-pre-henddd!” And maybe, you repeat those lyrics so much in your head and hear them broadcast so much that you start to reason that, “It must be a good song, right?” So, maybe, you start writing your own songs with that old, tired-ass “They’re bad, so They deserve it” chord progression. You know with titles like: He Was Being A Bad Boy So I Hit Him, She Was A Bad Wife So I Beat Her, He Was A Wifebeater So I Raped Him In A Jail Cell, He Was A Rapist So I Murdered Him, He Was A Murderer So We Killed Him, We Kill So They See Us As Barbaric And Think It’s Okay For Them To Treat Us Barbarically, and, finally, It’s Okay For Us To Treat Them Barbarically In Return. All’s fare in love and war, right? Turnabout is fair play right? I mean that’s how all the reworkings of that worn out old recording goes, but like Meshuggah’s Bleed (if you have no idea of the song I am referring to, I do recommend looking it up - if you did - you’re welcome) I don’t feel well at all after I listen to it, and feel outright terrible when it gets stuck in my head.”
“So, you think ‘rasslin’s responsible for all the World’s ills alluva sudden?” Cries an angry voice from the Internet.
“Damn it. As if this dialogue wasn’t crowded with enough inner voices.” Says Brain.
“It’s okay, Brain. We need this voice. We were probably getting a little out of hand.” I say.
“Please, don’t start talking as Hand.” Says brain.
I resist the urge to paste an emoji middle finger and address Voice From The Internet’s question:
“Of course not. Wrestling isn’t responsible for our violent nature: that’s the point I was making with the first list of maybes. But our violent nature is clearly responsible for wrestling. Whether that’s good or bad I have no idea.” I say.
“Sounds like you’re the one trying to oversimplify things, now.” Begins an intelligent voice from the Internet (no jokes, they’re out there). “When are these issues ever black and white, cartoon versions of good and bad? It’s all grey...Nah, even more than that it’s a whole spectrum of colors. C’mon, man, I know you know that.” The voice continues.
“I know.” I say in a surrendered sort of soft pitch.
“Of course you do and what else you know is: painting with color is a lot harder than charcoal sketches, but it’s easier to shut down communication with your heart than be brave and allow it to share the ship’s wheel of this wrestleboat and guide it into new territory rather than letting the predictable winds carry you along those same old trade routes. You’re better in the ring when your not so f***ing sensitive, I get that. You’re better outside of the ring when you’re not so f***ing insensitive. I get that. But why don’t you stop trying to make it an either/or thing and start blending the red and blue parts of your life together and make some f***ing orange? It’s all about balance, bro. That’s the middle path, pal. It’s third way thinking, dude. Have you gotten much success from shutting your heart out?” Asks Intelligent Internet Voice.
“Yes. Plenty” I answer honestly.
“And how does that success make you feel?” Asks Intelligent Internet Voice.
“Empty and meaningless.” I admit solemnly.
“Have you gotten any success from allowing your humble heart’s blood to trickle in and mix with the severe sweat of your wrestlework?” Asks Intelligent Internet Voice.
“So far, just a little.” I answer honestly.
“When it is successful, how does that success make you feel?”
“Whole and meaningful.” I admit somewhat guiltily.
“So, you know what you need to do?” Asks Intelligent Internet Voice.
“We do.” Says Heart.
“...But it’s going to be hard.” I say
“Then you better cowgirl the f*** up.” Says Intelligent Internet Voice.
“Yeah! And stop with the f***ing philosophy nerd skullf***ery and tell us some gundam Japanese ‘rasslin’ stories for Terry-Funksake!” Says Angry Internet Voice.
“Okay. Next time on-” I start.
“Shirtless On The Streets Of Tokyo.” I continue.