Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Lost Cat, Lost Man

Two things to talk about today, both important for different reasons. The first is first only because something might still be done to make that situation better.


This is Myles. He was lost by a friend of a friend, in Wilmington, Massachusetts.

If you've seen him, his people would dearly love to have him back. There is a reward. He was last seen on Saturday, the 12th, at 4pm, on Grand Street.

Please call (978) 658-0026 or (617) 778-4088, if you have any information. Thank you.


Eddie Guerrero is dead

Some of you haven't the slightest clue who or what Eddie Guerrero was. That's OK, I guess, though it's somewhat of a shame. Eddie Guerrero was a magnificent professional wrestler.

Professional wrestling is an art form. At its best, it combines the precision of ballet, the athleticism of a fine acrobatic team, the strength exhibited only by those in the upper echelons of professional sport, the theatricality of Broadway, and the humor of the best slapstick and/or pantomime. The moves, the speed, the agility, a sense of humor, great timing, the acting - the sense of drama (not melodrama) that a really good wrestler can build in a crowd, without saying a word - these are the skillset that very few of the performers have in total. Curiously, those most often in the public eye - a Hulk Hogan, for instance - do not always have the full complement. They make their fortune from a selected one or two of these attributes. Eddie Guerrero was one of the few in the business who had them all, and who used them consistently well.

Some wrestlers are just lumbering lummoxes. Others have no more going for them than their grotesquery; the only reason they have found gainful employment is because of some freakishness in their physical nature. They may be giants or dwarves; butterball fat or hideously ugly; they may be nothing more than a package of steroided muscle, unable to utter more than a sentence without stammering or stuttering, and moving with all of the grace of an elephant on qualudes. Or they may possess a glib tongue, but no noticeable physical gifts to speak of with that tongue. Another may be a gifted acrobat, but unable to work in concert with some less talented wrestler, in order to make him appear better than he is (known as "carrying" someone.)

Eddie was quick, humorous, inventive, knew the moves inside out, could make a match against a mannequin look as though the mannequin had a real chance to win, consistently made moves that put even his outstanding physicality at risk, and was able to make the most boring match interesting to watch if only for his own magnificent athleticism. It didn't matter who he was wrestling - it was worth watching. When he wrestled someone else really good (a Chris Benoit, a Dean Malenko, a Kurt Angle) it was as good as the American version of wrestling ever got.

I know I'm boring hell out of some of you. You couldn't give a damn less about such a freak show as wrestling. To me, wrestling is to athletics as heavy metal is to music. It is, I'll readily admit, a somewhat bizarre subset of the main endeavor. That doesn't mean, however, that there isn't value to be found there and that there isn't talent being displayed. You just sometimes have to look past the common conceptions concerning the form and the mundanities being foisted upon the public by those who hype but don't otherwise participate.

You sift through a hundred poodle-haired speed freaks substituting volume for talent and you find the occasional Ritchie Blackmore or perhaps even a Jimi Hendrix. And for every hundred roided-out goofballs with a hideously corny act and little athletic and/or verbal ability to speak of, you find an Eddie Guerrero - someone who cared about his craft, was admired by his peers, and who always gave his best performance for whatever audience was there on a given night. In other words, the sometimes clown-like nature of a form does not negate the transcendent performances of a select and gifted few participating within that form. Eddie was one of those few. I will miss him.


Uncle Jim said...

The one time I went to a professional wrestling match was in the old Boston Garden. Like the Jews say, "Never Again." Our mistake was getting ringside seats. Oh My God... we were surrounded by people who really believed it was real. Needless to say after the seventh thrown bottle and 16th spit hurled at the ring we felt it was in our best interest, (health wise) to get out.
Funny how life is. Many yers later we found out Eddie was a kind man who always had time for his young fans. My companions brother Paul had a photo of himself Eddie and his son taken just prior to Paul's death, it is a great keepsake for his son.

Suldog said...

I didn't know Eddie personally in any way, so I concentrated only on his professionalism here, but everything I've heard about him (and I mean EVERYTHING) corroborates what you say. He seems to have been a very sweet man.