When it comes crashing down and it hurts inside


Yesterday I noticed a huge cobweb in the corner at my fencing club, so, not wanting to actually touch it with my hands, I used a two-by-four from a nearby lumber pile to clear it away. Then I slung the two-by-four over my shoulder, stuck a thumb in the air, stomped around, and brayed a belligerent chant of “USA! USA! USA!” in an imitation of 1980s WWF wrestling superstar “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.

This was completely lost on my audience. One guy at least had a valid excuse for never having heard of “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, as he’d grown up in Ukraine (or as Duggan would call it, “Russia”) and therefore wasn’t really part of the xenophobic grappler’s potential fanbase. I had a surprisingly hard time trying to explain Duggan’s gimmick to him. Would he be best described as a “patriotic retard”? Or as a “retarded patriot”? His diminished mental capacity generally wasn’t overtly mentioned, but we must be honest here and admit that the man was clearly mentally retarded. But on a more inspiring note, Duggan is also clearly living proof that intellectual disability does not preclude love of country.

After all, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a real American, as fellow patriot Hulk Hogan’s stirring theme song teaches us. As I’ve discussed, “Real American” isn’t just Hogan’s theme song, but a modern anthem more relevant to all living Americans than even the “Star Spangled Banner”. As the song teaches us, to be a real American, you must fight for the rights of every man, fight for what’s right, and fight for your life.* Brawn, not brains, made America great.

Hulk Hogan was my childhood hero. Even my father, who generally disapproved of professional wrestling, seemed to look up to him as something of a role model for balding men in their forties. Yet, the Hulkster has disappointed me in recent years. For example, there’s the time his son crashed his Toyota Supra while drunkenly drag racing, leaving passenger John Graziano in a permanent vegetative state, and Hogan went on Larry King to explain that the accident was all part of God’s plan to make Graziano a better person. It might be difficult to see how Hogan thinks turning Graziano into a vegetable with half of his head missing might make him a better person, but remember what I said up there about intellectual disability being no bar to virtue.

Okay, so, fine. But what about his public sympathy with O.J. Simpson following his divorce? How about the reports of his cheating on his wife with his daughter’s best friend? What about the creepy photos of him rubbing tanning lotion on his own daughter’s buttocks? And remember the time he turned his back on his loyal fans and his longtime friend “Macho Man” Randy Savage and joined the New World Order?

But never — not once — did I ever question Hulk Hogan’s patriotism. Even casual fans remember the first three Demandments of Hulkamania — training, saying your prayers, and eating your vitamins — but diehard Hulkamaniacs everywhere also remember his exhortations to believe in themselves and be true to their country. Whatever the Hulkster’s other human failings, I thought, Hulk Hogan is a Real American. His theme song says so. He’s certainly not the type who would ever launch a cowardly Pearl Harbor attack against his country. I mean, there were the bizarre, worrying dueling interviews leading up to Wrestlemania VI in which Hulk Hogan promised to give the Ultimate Warrior eternal life in return for his self-sacrifice and Warrior, in return vowed to tear down the cockpit door of Hulk Hogan’s airplane and send his airplane into a nosedive. But I never worried that Hulk hogan could be involved in any kind of sinister plot against his own country. Russia? Certainly. Parts Unknown, sure. But not the good old US of A.

That is, I didn’t, until I was reading a comment thread at the AV Club featuring posters doing pitch-perfect written impersonations of the Hulkster, the Ultimate Warrior, and Good Ol’ J.R, and found a link to the following image, which gives haunting, tragic new resonance to the opening line of Hogan’s theme song: When it comes crashing down and it hurts inside:

These are clearly not the actions of a Real American. To quote WCW wrestling announcer Tony Schiavone, we have seen the end of Hulkamania. Hulk Hogan, you can go to hell! Straight to hell.

* * *

* For an opposing viewpoint espousing the virtues of patriotic cowardice, however, see the parody lyrics to “Real American” that I wrote during public school:

When it comes crashing down and it hurts inside
I jump out of the ring and get disqualified
It hurts my head, it hurts my pride
I grab my belt and I run and hide
I am a real American
Run from a fight whenever I can
I am a real American
Don’t try to fight
Run for your life

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