A Wrestling Tale 4.15.02: The Rock Tries To Sleep

This is a work of fiction. FICTION! None of this actually happened, so don’t write me letters telling me I didn’t kill Owen Hart or I’m an asshole for being in the PTC like last time. Feedback is always appreciated, but remember, this is FICTION!

The Rock was kind of pissed off. Kind of pissed off and exhausted as all hell. Sure, his movie had been plugged enough during the show, but he really wanted to slip in one more reminder at the end of the show. Oh well. This was going to be a busy week during which he’d get much more pissed off then this. You have to let the small things go in order for the big things to matter. Besides, it was his fault the show cut away so quickly. If he had said his lines without pausing before each one, the show wouldn’t have run late. The Scorpion King son sketch was not supposed to be that long. Or that dead. The Rock was only able to get the audience laughing when he flubbed one of his lines. It was his fault, but still, they could’ve pushed back Showtime at the Apollo two minutes later. It’s not like anyone would have missed it.

The Rock collapsed in his hotel bed, wanting desperately to able to sleep. As was the norm as of late, he couldn’t. He’d take a later flight tomorrow. It wouldn’t be a problem. He tossed and turned in vain for a few minutes, then got up and turned on the light. He thought of a line from an old song he couldn’t remember the name of, ‘So tired that I couldn’t even sleep.’ He walked to the bathroom and sat down on the toilet, trying to take a crap, but nothing was coming out. Too much effort. So tired. The hotel had provided him with a full array of magazines, and a little reading had never been too bad for the old pipes. They’d put a couple of the crappy wrestling magazines in his room, all out dated, all filled with pointless drivel. Why didn’t they just put an internet connection in the bathroom, so he could read all about how the WWF needed to turn him heel? Time was outdated, Newsweek was outdated, ah. The new Sports Illustrated. Tom Brady was shirtless on the cover, looking very, very gay. Barry Bonds was off to a good start. And Jim Brown talks from jail! This the Rock needed to read.

Jim Brown was one of the Rock’s secret heroes. It wasn’t just the fact he had been one of the best rushers in the history of the NFL. He was also a successful athlete/actor. He was the first black action star. True, the Rock hadn’t really been into all of the old stuff before he started acting in movies, but he was now developing a true love of the work of Jim Brown. Who was now in jail for some reason, but that was okay. The Rock flipped to page 54, and took in a couple of facts he did not know about Jim Brown.

1. Jim Brown starred in 4 sports in college.

2. He rallied other black athletes to show support for Muhammad Ali’s draft resistance.

3. He organized the Black Economic Union, which assisted more than 400 black owned businesses in the 60’s and 70’s.

4. He had a ground breaking interacial love scene with Raquel Welch in the 1969 movie 100 Rifles.

5. He was slightly violent towards men and incredibly violent towards women, which was why he’s in jail.

6. He’s 66 and looks older, kind of sadder. Maybe that’s because he’s on a hunger strike.

The Rock flipped through most of the introduction to get right to the interview. Jim Brown was sad about his kids. He enjoyed the documentary Spike Lee made about him. Money has changed today’s black athletes. Those who have the ability as African men to bring a change in a community that so desperately needs it are concentrating on their own careers, some charities and how much money they can make.

Eh?

The Rock threw the magazine down and picked up the outdated Time. The Middle East was having problems. The U.S. was supposed to decide whether to interfere or not. What business was it of the United States to interfere in some other country’s problems? Sure, we have the money and the means to make peace. We could help, but if the United States spent all of it’s time taking care of other countries, when was the United States going to take care of the Rock? No, he meant the United States. The Rock grimaced, put down the Time and picked up the Sports Illustrated. He flipped to page 55 and continued to read.

Which athletes disappointed Jim Brown the most? The ones that are most popular and most powerful. Guys like Michael Jordan, and there was a big quote in the middle of the page where he singled out Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods, who was half black and half Asian. The Rock was half black and half Samoan, and Jim Brown hated him. Wait, no, Jim Brown thought they were all nice guys, but they have the ears of the general public, they have the money, they could call together 100 black athletes and solve so many problems in these inner cities.

It went on like this. Jim Brown’s life has never been on the field. Tiger Woods makes enough money that he could change more things that are important to black kids then learning to play golf. By not helping to raise the education levels in inner cities, black athletes now represent the only way out for black youth. Education has become secondary. Jim Brown doesn’t have the power to get these black athletes together anymore. It would take a modern athlete at the height of his popularity and power to really pull people together. Jim Brown is just an old has been football player.

The interview stopped talking about social change, and the Rock lost interest. Nothing was coming out, and he suddenly felt very tired. He wiped anyway, turned the bathroom light off and walked back to his bed. He tried for a moment to be pissed about what had happened on Saturday Night Live, but it wasn’t working. Saturday Night Live. A show for white people, by white people. Oh my God, the Rock married a white person! He wasn’t about to get all Malcom Xed out now! Besides, the Rock is a wrestler. The core audience of the WWF is made out of white teenagers. The Rock was a WWF superstar, not a respected black athlete. Michael and Tiger can read that interview and feel bad about their lives. The Rock needed to get some sleep.

The way those kids in the slums are being raised is disgraceful, but it’s not the Rock’s fault. Jim Brown was a social activist and a sports star, or a social activist and a movie star. He never had to be a sports star, a movie star, and a social activist at the same time. Why was the Rock even having these thoughts? The Rock needed to sleep.

But was he letting his race down? The Rock needed to sleep.

But was he? NO! Sleep.

This was great. This was just goddamned great! Fan-f*cking-tastic! He had to promote the hell out of his movie for the next few months, both here and abroad. He had to wrestle a semi-full schedule, and now he had this crap on his mind. The Rock sold t-shirts, he acted and he wrestled. He had a wife and child and millions of people pissed off their friends by repeating his catchphrases. That’s a life. That’s a good, full life. Hey, he made that song with Wyclef where he said it didn’t matter how much people had if they didn’t share it. That was a positive message for the black community, wasn’t it? The Rock put a pillow over his face and punched it several times for even having that thought. The Rock needed to be sleeping.

Who the hell was Jim Brown anyway? He criticized Martin Luther King Jr. in that interview. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man, a real black leader. Let Martin Luther King Jr. rise from his grave and tell the Rock to be a leader of the black community. Hell, let Martin Luther King Jr. appear in a dream and tell the Rock to be a leader of the black community, and he’d do it in a second. It wouldn’t be anti-white or anything no. Martin Luther King Jr. was not going to appear before the Rock, and the Rock was not going to listen to what some old wife beater had to say. Yes. The Rock would sleep, and sleep well.

Sleep.

Sleep.

Sleep.

GODDAMNIT! Goddamn Jim Brown. No! This could be rationalized. ‘Real’ athletes, most of them anyway, mock pro-wrestling. While he’d eventually prove them wrong, right now most actors thought that the Rock was a joke, another Hulk Hogan. While that’s great in the world of wrestling, it sucks in the world of acting. It’s the kiss of death. Even if the Rock tried to get something going, it would be a total, utter failure. The media would find it funny. The mockery of the experience, the failure it would surely turn out to be would doom his career. Both careers. The white wrestling fans wouldn’t take him back. His wife wouldn’t understand. It would hurt the black community more then it would help, and it would destroy his life. If MJ wanted to put something like this together and gave the Rock a call, the Rock would be there in half a second. He would gladly participate, but it was not his job to lead. He played a leader of rebels, he wasn’t one of them. Sleep.

He was the Scorpion King, not Martin Luther King. This wasn’t his problem. He slept.