(This is the opening monologue from my new play. It's also posted at my website, but I figured I'd throw it up in here and see if anyone reacts.)
Now don’t get this confused with the wrestling, which is what I grew up watching Saturday mornings, sitting on cold wood floors on Cruger Avenue in the Bronx, eating Frosted Flakes that were really just generic flakes of corn with generic spoons of sugar sprinkled on top with a little drop of milk to give the impression that shit was gonna get soggy when even then, nineteen eighty-six, I’m six years old, my younger brother’s five, my older brother’s eight, and even then we all knew that there wasn’t no Tony the fucking Tiger grrrrrr-owling at our poor Puerto Rican asses from the front of that box, but we ate it, and we drank a quarter water right along with it, cause before Grandpa came home Friday nights after driving rich people around all week in a town car he couldn’t afford, he stopped downstairs and picked up a case to get us through the weekend. No soda in our house. Unhealthy.
So Saturday morning, on the floor, Underoos, 11am--nah. Go back to 10:45. Still on the floor, still cereal, still Underoos and shirtless, me, my brother, and my brother, and we’re playing with wrestling guys. Not dolls, not action figures, nah--we played with wrestling guys. My brother and my brother, they played with the big World Wrestling Federation wrestling guys, with the big molded rubber that was like almost a foot tall and they were heavy, they were like hockey pucks, they were like two hockey pucks melted and molded into a wrestling guy that you couldn’t even move his arms cause they came already shaped into some muscle pose--man, that shit wasn’t even worth playing with. I think my brother and my brother only got them cause they were the British Bulldogs and Kamala and they were all colorful and they looked like the guys--they had the characters right, but you couldn’t wrestle with them. I mean, you could beat somebody over the head with them, like if you were wrestling with somebody else and you wanted to hit him in the head with something heavy like a hockey puck--I mean, we didn’t know nothing about no hockey pucks, but we knew the big WWF wrestling guys. And I knew that they sucked.
So they’re playing with the big doofy WWF guys, and nah, they’re not even playing with them, cause you can’t play with them, cause they’re not built to be played with really, they’re built to be put on a shelf, they’re not toys, but it’s worse than not being toys--they’re nothing, they’re not productive, and they give you the wrong idea about what wrestling is. Those big rubber things that don’t move, they make you think that wrestling is about big and static and pre-posed and color, that it’s about what the toymakers dictated based on what they thought would be interesting to kids, but nah--I was a kid, and what was interesting to me, as a kid, was being able to do some, you know, playing with my fucking toys. So what I had, I had the AWA--American Wrestling Association--wrestling guys, see, cause they were smaller, and their arms moved, and their legs moved, and the heads could even turn a little, and you could play with them, you could kind of almost have real matches and do real moves with them, but see, the thing was, nobody knew nothing about the AWA. The WWF was on TV at eleven o’clock, they had Wrestlemania, they had Cyndi Lauper and the MTV hook-up, the rock n’ wrestling connection or whatever, and all that made it look like their toys would be fun. But those toys weren’t shit. I fucking hate those toys. For real.
But the AWA guys, yo. I could tell stories with those guys. I had tournaments. I had whole drawn out epic storylines, where all the wrestlers from all the federations--not just the AWA and the WWF, but the NWA, and Stampede from up in fucking Canada, and whatever other company I could read about in Pro Wrestling Illustrated, even if I never got to see it on TV--I took all the wrestlers from all the federations and I acted out long-term stories about who hated who and who won what belt, and I acted them out with six little AWA wrestling guys. And my brothers made fun of me, and fuck them, because when the wrestling came on at 11am on Saturday morning, and they got all excited about the colors, and the music, and the like, cool, I don’t know, hair or whatever the fuck they got excited about, and they would stop eating the fake Frosted Flakes and start hitting each other and trying to do the moves they saw Junkyard Dog or Ricky Steamboat or The Hart Foundation doing, while they were doing all that, I was watching, for real, and I was understanding the way that the stories were being told, and I could tell you why Andre the Giant and Big John Studd hated each other, and I could tell you that there was no way S.D. Jones could beat King Kong Bundy but there was no way King Kong Bundy could beat Hulk Hogan, not cause Hulk Hogan was the best wrestler, cause he wasn’t, but because in the way they were telling the stories, they made him seem like he was the best wrestler, so him losing to some big fat dude who they made look like he could kill Hulk Hogan didn’t make no sense.
None of this is even the point of the story.
11am, Saturday, Underoos, fake flakes, big rubber wrestling guys, small perfect wrestling guys, my brother clotheslining my brother and my brother setting my brother up to try to body slam him--and that’s when my grandpa would walk in, already dressed, always dressed, cup of coffee and nothing else, the head flick up so he’s looking down his nose at my brother and my brother and they stop in a second and he doesn’t have to say nothing cause the bodyslamming ain’t gonna happen when he’s in the room, and the cup of coffee, and he looks at the TV, and he laughs, and he says:
http://worthwatering.blogspot.com Can it be I stayed away too long?/ Did I leave your mind when I was gone?/ It's not my thing trying to get back/ But this time let me tell you where I'm at-- Jackson Five