i am clearly a creature of habit. once i find something that captures my attention- it’s full steam ahead.
when my dad, mom and baby sis all left to ecuador to finish some immigration legalities a few years back, it was me and my lil bro for the winter. i was dating linda at the time and playing ‘daddy’ to her two young sons, a situation that helped me out immensely since kirk (my brother) was 10 at the time. the thought of being able to roughhouse a three and one year old were pretty good at the time and when he got tired of that, linda would make him baked ziti and tell him how cute he was. me, i was just praying that this would keep his mind off the fact that the rest of the clan was far away. on occasion, i would see his eyes sink in and just be a bit away from crying with only burgeoning machismo sentiment keeping him from admitting that he felt abandoned.
we needed to bond, not just as brothers but as men as equals… what to do?
enter the super nintendo! he would whip my ass something awful on mortal kombat 2 and since the boys didn’t have the button moves down yet and linda thought we were being d-u-m it was our special thing. we found cheat codes and secret tricks and would play well into 2 in the am even though linda was calling me to make sure that i had already put him to bed (she was a mom, after all)
the clan returned and kirk got the super nes and i moved on to the play station. i was, literally, the first kid on the block with one and the boys came over to my house to celebrate with an all night session battle arena toshiden. game after game came through the pipe and i was obsessed. not just with the games but with all the behind the scene drama. how nintendo screwed ‘earthworm jim’ with high cartridge prices that ‘miraculously’ came down when their own hi-meg game, “donkey kong country,” came out. how sony was making their visual library open to everyone as opposed to sega that was hoarding their secrets tight and close. eventually, this faded out to a bigger obsession… something that would make monday nights the most exciting part of me week… wrestling!
linda, again, had a big part in this. as we were breaking up she asked for one last favor from me, tape wrestlemania for the kids. her cable was out and she needed a tape to keep the boys happy. i hadn’t seen wrestling since high school and was surprised to see what had happened to some characters. how they finally hit gold after years of obscurity. how they finally wrangled through the politics of backstage backstabbing to make it to the spotlight and (later to find out) how they were closely guarding their new found position.
the biggest drama was happening in the boardroom as ted turner (backed by aol-time warner) was taking a light grudge from the 80s into a full blown corporate war as he was challenging the empire of vince mcmahon. mcmahon was (and is) the head dog of the wwe (then wwf). vince built his empire by being more daring, more ruthless, more tech savvy and more coldhearted than anyone else and threw the rules of territorial respect out the window when the video age allowed wrestling to be more than a once a moth gathering. now he was meeting somebody just as ruthless with even more assets than him. it was tough battle and it took vince a couple of years to claim full victory. a victory that came as a result of a third party- ecw. local philadelphia promoter paul heyman chose to stay out of the big dogs fight and gave people a viable alternative- a federation so violent, so shocking, so hardcore that local cable wouldn’t be able to air it if it wanted to. ecw developed a hardcore following and was making stars. vince picked up on the idea and started forcing cable execs to change their practices to allow him to compete with turner. it worked and in the end wcw (turners fed) and ecw all went broke trying to fend off vince.
i was in love with this madness for years but it slowly fell out of favor to poetry. following the pattern from above, i quickly put my ear to the ground and was just as curious to history as i was to the immediate. what’s going on is always interesting but the factors that led up the events is what i have always found fascinating. soon i was piecing together histories and timelines and everything in poetry was complete- i had an artistic outlet that also let my inner detective and historian run free and have a good time. mondays became a habit and soon, i found myself in the strange position of actually being part of the storyline. from just a casual reader i became a bar13 regular and, eventually, a part of the louderARTS.
now, teaching is going to be my new monday fix. seeing the stories these kids will write will be more than enough to keep me in check and the stories that they will be generating from me will be more than plenty to keep my soul occupied. the new pieces that have come out of me are more related to my teaching at mind-builders and the pietri tributes than anything that has happened on monday nights.
from PS1 to WM17 to Bar13, my habits have evolved and changed but i will add this- i haven’t played a video game in years and this upcoming wrestlemania get together at seve’s has more to do with my enjoyment of mr maher’s hospitality than it has to do with HHH (and, yeah! i do want to see benoit win though i doubt now it will happen) meaning that i always go into everything 100% and rarely return phone calls to past loves and old habits.