If you were born/grew up in the 1980’s or 90’s, you probably have memories of the “box”. For some of us it was a black box and some of us it was a brown one. If you didn’t have one in your home, surely you knew a friend, or had someone on your street who did. Let’s ignore the moral, ethical, and legal aspects for now…but for those of us familiar with it, this “box” was like magic. It gave you unlimited access to the latest released movies. No more trips to Blockbuster or Jumbo Video, hoping that the latest VHS tape you are dying to watch is still available and sitting on the shelf (if you don’t know what a VHS tape is, you are probably too young to continue reading…and you should be grateful that you were never reminded to “Be Kind, Please Rewind”). In addition to the movies, there were live Mike Tyson fights on HBO, (the original elimination tournament) UFC, and of course the…*ahem*…after midnight movies. And so much more…all at your remote controlled fingertips! But the icing on the cake for me, the best part of The Box, were those live WWF wrestling events! Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, etc…this was my guilty pleasure. It was beyond captivating entertainment for me.
When I was young, I had this weird, probably best described as sick, obsession with professional wresting. Saying I loved it would be an understatement. I spent countless weekend hours watching guys like Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and The Ultimate Warrior, prancing around in what I can only now described as ridiculous and wild predicaments. And I would regularly count the days to the next live pay-per-view Extravaganzas! Those magical Sunday evenings where weeks of built-up feuding and chaos would come to a climatic end. These events where to me better than Christmas/ birthdays/ holidays combined! My favourite…was “Macho Man” Randy Savage! Something about his intensity, his persona, and his “Macho Madness” just captivated me. And I couldn’t get enough of watching his “interviews”. I would sit on the edge of my seat watching him fend off the evil likes of The Honky Tonk Man or George “The Animal” Steele in an effort to protect the honour of the lovely Miss Elizabeth.
Seriously, I am writing about WWF wrestling???
The world of professional wrestling is fake. I hate to ruin it for you if you didn’t already know. The outcome of the matches are pre-determined, and the dramatic storylines are pre-scripted. I know this now, and even as a young kid I don’t think I ever truly believed it was real. And I don’t think that I ever really cared either. I just got lost in those stories of heroes versus villains, overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to become a WWF champion, and the shocking turn-of-events that would unfold on a regular week to week basis. I don’t ever remember believing in the tooth fairy or the easter bunny either…so give me a break…I guess wrestling was ‘my thing’…regardless if it was real or not.
So why did these fake stories of half naked muscled up “wrestlers” captivate me so much? Well I think it is pretty much the same reason why people get addicted to those seemingly endless soap opera’s. And why there were millions of people who couldn’t wait for the start of a new season of Game of Thrones. Not to mention all the award winning movies we watch and classic books throughout history we read. All these “fake” stories thrive at entertaining, exciting, and stimulating us. Simple as that. It is easy to get lost in them. Very smart people work long and hard to create these pre-written scripts and stories, and they without a doubt deserve all of the accolades that come along with it. They write it, and its just sooo good…we can’t get enough.
Even as a kid, I was able to separate these fake stories with what was actual reality. Because no matter what story you were in…there always came the time when you had to get back to reality. But, what got me thinking is…how much of a pre-written script do we unconsciously follow in our day to day lives (a.k.a. reality)? There are so many societal norms, “rules” guiding the way things should be, and environments that shape the status quo that are just accepted. They are often accepted without really asking why they even exist in the first place. It is as if these things are pre-scripted for us just like that fake world of professional wrestling. And if we continually follow these “pre-written scripts”, then isn’t the outcome pretty much pre-determined as well? Fairly predictable and safe. By following these norms and scripts, we basically have a good idea of how and where things are going…and there is definitely a level of comfort in just knowing.
But aren’t all the major breakthroughs, all the advances we make, achieved by breaking apart from the status quo? Doesn’t it all come from risks and taking chances on the chaos? It’s when we ignore the script, start thinking and doing things differently, that bring out the best. It’s done by flipping the script…breaking apart from what is predictable and safe…taking those fake imaginative stories, and somehow making it real.
Maybe that is why I enjoyed that world of professional wrestling so much. And maybe that is why soap opera’s, TV, and movies are so wildly popular. Because the stories can be so outrageous that we get lost in them. And maybe it’s because we relate to some of it, and wished that some parts of those stories were in fact real. I don’t know why…but I admittedly got totally lost in those fake stories of the Macho Man..and his crazy antics.
I want to get lost in REAL stories too!
We can sit, watch, listen or read them and are able to separate the fake ones from reality, but maybe we need or crave that same outrageousness in real life stories too. Maybe the script of reality should have these crazy, wild, and imaginative twists and turns. Now I am not saying we need to climb onto the top rope, jump off, and drive a flying elbow into an opponent’s chest…but maybe there is something we can learn from those behind the scenes writers of wrestling. What if we just took a chance and changed the script. Flipped it, and just wrote something in that is just a little shocking, crazy, or unpredictable. Just to see what happens…
We spend so much time being captivated and immersed in so many of these fake stories. So maybe we need to take control and change some of the pre-written scripts ourselves….write in something a little different. Maybe what was so captivating and immersing about those fake stories…can be just as, or even more, captivating and immersing…in reality. Maybe a little bit of “Macho Madness” is all it takes…