Editorials randy3

Published on May 20th, 2011 | by Andy Whorehall

8

Randy Macho Man Savage – Wrestler, Hero, Uncle

width=550All our heroes die some day, and God is an asshole. - For Randall Mario Poffo, his family and friends.

 

I have questioned the existence of God many times before.  It who creates also destroys and robs us of family and friends all-too-quick and shocking or even worse, a slow, painful process.

I heard the news that Randall Poffo, aka Macho Man Randy Savage, died this morning.  A heart attack while driving his jeep.  I didn’t know what to feel at first. He’s a hero of mine, closing in on three decades of inspiration. He represented the strength, humor and no-nonsense ability to be quick with a quip—and with his fist——that I once saw in my grandfather when he was alive. Macho Man was my Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey wrapped into one large, ball of electric human life.  When the 1984 Cubs taught me  for the first time what it meant to waste tears on sports, Uncle Randy replaced those tears with laughter and a lifetime’s worth of sly smiles with Slim Jims. {There’s nothing better than sucking on beef jerky in a car with other human beings with the windows closed. The joke that keeps on giving, and it’s delicious. Thank you for the idea, Randy.) Grandpa used to say, the Romans wrestled for their tears, that’s what men do. Baseball players break little boys’ hearts. Pathetic. Bunch of phonies.

We’d watch Saturday afternoon & Sunday morning AWA matches on the local ABC affiliate after yard work or catholic services and eat home-made spinach sandwiches prepared with virgin oil and 2 over-easy eggs between french bread. As time and the 80s progressed, so did wrestling as an entertainment outlet, instead of a sport.  Saturday Night Main Events and sleep overs in South Rockford at Grandma & Grandpa’s house are memories I’ll never have to regret unlike many Saturday nights in Rockford spent with beer and buffoons as an adult.

width=300Every time Uncle Randy would speak to Mean Gene or perform his patented elbow drops, Grandpa would say, That Macho Man must be Italian too. All the great performers are. Paterno, Martin—bless him—DiMaggio, Marino, LaRussa.  Uncle Randy was too, yes, and he shared the same middle name as my father, Mario. Mario Whorehall and Randall Mario Poffo are both my heroes but they are not related.

Macho Man came from a family of wrestling; his brother being the great Leaping Lanny, and both raised by old school wrestler, Angelo Poffo. Randall Poffo spent the first part of his young life getting a formal education through college and playing baseball. I remember my Grandpa bragging about catching him in the 70s playing for the Cardinals farm system. My grandather disowned the Cubs after WW2 for the Cards, so, in hindsight now, I understand why Randy’s incredible success as a wrestler that left baseball for a real man’s sport pleased him all the more.

width=367Uncle Randy is not my uncle. I made him mine for many personal reasons. The memories and lessons of Macho Man, Grandpa, and Mario tucked into 1 entity is something I emotionally need to physically oppose mankind’s ability to breakdown a fellow man’s spirit.  Just this year, my girlfriend, after 12 months of hearing Uncle Randy stories fictionally mixed in with real life stories, discovered he wasn’t my Uncle—and wasn’t very happy.

The Sunday breakfast buffets at Hollywood Diner on North Main St in the late 70s and early 80s after enjoying wrestling matches at Boylan High School’s gym aren’t true?  No.  You never ate with Mean Gene, Uncle Randy and your great Uncle Lanny before they had to leave town? No.  So those action figures I keep buying for you aren’t your relatives? No.

I am so sorry for lying, Katie, but in my heart, Macho Man Randy Savage became more to me than an Uncle in my head. For that I take back any apologies because Macho Man was, and still is, my hero.

I’ve fantasized for over 25+ years as to what life could have been like had Uncle Randy received one invitation to elbow drop Michael Jordan on live TV.  Jordan represented everything that is evil about modern professional sports. He along with Magic and Bird helped kick in the era of ‘me first sports’, not team sports. Not family like Uncle Randy, his brother, and their father.  Wrestling has always been about me against you, for the family but for me mainly- no team needed. You could argue golf is the same, but golf is about playing yourself, and that’s just plain ridiculous. Golf is no different than ironically hiking aimlessly with a clear path in front of you. I’ll never get a chance to see my hero destroy everyone else’s now.

width=300Uncle Randy taught me there aren’t 10th innings, overtimes and sudden death shoot outs to settle a disagreement.  There’s hope and various possibilities to succeed, even after failure or thievery in many cases.  Uncle Randy was conned many times before learning to do the same while becoming the largest draw next to Hulk Hogan. He became many kinds of champions over the years but I will always remember him as the WWF Intercontinental Champion. This hero was different than the others, he always had love by his side.

Watching Macho Man & his manager, eventual first wife, Miss Elizabeth, court each other before a live audience wasn’t gross the way soap operas can be, it was devastating, he wrestled and fought for her love til she couldn’t wrestle her own demons. Uncle Randy did everything for her but the most beautiful moment happened at Wrestlemania 3. Two large, aerobatic men with abilities to destroy each other with one fist taught me as a child what it meant to win and lose gracefully.  Uncle lost the match to Ricky the Steamboat Dragon, but it was not sad. I never forget Randy crying before millions of people celebrating after beating the shit out of each other.  To this day it is the greatest musical, theatrical, athletic professional performance I’ve been witness to.

Two things happened when I heard the news today. I realized for the first time that all of our heros die at some point, and secondly, I was reminded that God, whatever it is, is an asshole. There’s good and evil and they all start to work together in life.  A little thing called heart took one of my hero’s life today.  It’s taken a few others too.

My grandfather & I would laugh together watching wrestling; Saturday Night Main Events and Sunday morning matches until he’d doze off for a few minutes in his chair, or sitting straight up on the couch. We never laughed & smiled watching baseball together. We sat frustrated, sometimes cursing the TV and then off to the other room he’d go to see what Grandma was doing. For a brief time alone together, we shared laughing and smiling, toasted spinach & egg sandwiches, and power naps. Thank you forever, Randall Mario Poffo; or as the world knew you, Randy Macho Man Savage.

Say hello to one of your biggest fans up there, and please save me an afternoon spot on the sun porch, metal blinds slightly closed.

AW

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About the Author

Agent of creative destruction. Andy Whorehall can be contacted at 815-570-9866. Please leave a message with Reggie, and Andy may or may not call you back. Probably not.AW also produces a one man show/podcast for SockMonkeySound.com called Songs About Stuff & Things, listen on our site or download for free on iTunes.Mr. Whorehall also records his own songs under the moniker Silent Kit. Listen online at: http://silentkit.comSee Andy's other work and waste more time stalking him on the world wide web of useless information at: http://andywhorehall.com/


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