I wasn’t trying to acquire my one-and-only no-doubt concussion, but if something seems once-in-a-lifetime, I lurch into its wake and see what happens. My existence is mostly long stretches of dull, occasionally punctuated by short bursts of absurdity I discover by relentlessly seeking them out. Eitherways, I was still in college, too young to realize playing a wrestler in a student film would inevitably end in neurologic trauma.
A classmate I didn’t know well, other than that she was supremely-driven, managed to scrape up five grand for her senior thesis, when most had but baling-wire and Beta tapes. The only student who scripted for her was a friend who I thought had a crush on her, but may have just wanted to see his words produced with real money. Story was about a washed-up grappler who lost an eye in a botched stunt, returning for one last payday, a parody of Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” seven years before it was released. The loopy-but-earnest lead, The King Bee, was written specifically for me. How could I not?
I already wrote how the project coined my burlesque name “Big Tasty” and how we accidentally broke into a national monument, but some misadventures demand more than one micro-memoir.
What’s important is that it involved two days training and filming with Rochester’s minor-league wrestling show, in their gym, using them as background actors on top of training us on the stunts. I’d never seen heterosexual man-lust before until those incredibly talented performers, who only weren’t on television because they were relatively diminutive, met our 6’8” weightlifting-ripped friend Charles, there to play a small role himself. Not that they desired a coitusing with Charles, they wanted to transplant their brainmeat into his body. Combining it with their skills, they’d be in the WWF by next Thursday. He broke all their fool hearts when he told them he’d rather be a science-fiction author. Anyways.
They showed us how to “take bumps”, their slang for making it look like you got hurt without actually getting hurt, and enough moves for the match. The difficulty was that to make me look small, the fellow playing the antagonist was a 7’1” 250-pound English major with questionable hand-to-eye-coordination. You know when wrestlers drop their leg on their opponent, making it look like they slam a whole bodyweight onto a torso but the back of the knee just barely grazes the chest? Imagine a man that size slipping and the leg falls across the side of your face instead. Of course, I don’t need to imagine that, Dotty. I lived it.
Forty-five seconds of my life, deleted forever. We all went out to a theme steakhouse, after wrap, that had animatronic décor and I will never know if that goddamn raccoon was a robot or a vivid hallucination. That’s my life, though, no brain cells, no dignity, no strange opportunity left on the floor. Not the smartest way to live a life, but it does break up the tedium. At least sometimes.