Date: August 20, 2021 08:30PM
Back before most people in the western states had ever heard of New York-based WWF, later WWE, there were numerous local circuits and promotions with (where we lived in the far west) weekly one-hour TV shows on Saturday afternoons, presenting several matches pre-recorded in some TV studio, I guess. I was 10 or 11. My dad and I always watched the program. In retrospect that was very decent of him; he was cerebral, an author, and surely not very interested himself, but I was in the barbaric condition of young boyhood, and was always interested.
While he was turned away looking at something else, a decent, honest wrestler was defeated with an evil trick by a villainous wrestler. In later years I learned that the losing man (who DID seem to lose every match I ever saw him in, despite his honest and upright ring behavior) was what is still called a "jobber," and the villainous wrestler was one of the puts-butts-in-seats, swaggering cheats, called "heels. Heels are the flamboyant, abrasive, proudly unprincipled, guys-fans-love-to-hate crew that keep the wrestling-entertainment business so hugely profitable, by constantly ignoring the rules and inflaming the rubes. By contrast, a jobber's job is to put up a good show but lose to the colorful heels, without having any particular persona or personality at all, being only an interchangeable wrestler-widget in the machine.
I was so mad that I hurled the book in my lap at the television screen--fortunately it was a half-hearted throw, and I was only a young boy, and the book bounced off. But my father had heard the thump and looked around and seen.
FATHER (completely nonplussed, and horrified by the possibility that I could have cracked the screen): "Why did you do that?"
SON (still furious, anguished by the injustice): "So-and-so cheated by [I long ago forgot how] to What's-his-name, and won the match!"
FATHER (now compassionate, although probably trying hard not to laugh at me): "Son, son! You don't think it's REAL, do you?"
Then he quickly brought me up to speed on the truth about pro wrestling, like the serpent marketing the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. And life went on. In time, I became a dad myself as well as a Curelom rancher and packer; a dozen years ago my old man, full of years and honors, left this fallen world....
SON-GROWN-OLD (sobbing alone in his den in 2021): "BUT SOMETHING INSIDE ME DIED THAT DAY...!"