Overcome by a combination of hunger and laziness, I visited Burger King this week in search of flame-broiled goodness.
However, unbeknownst to me, the stars had aligned in such a way as to throw a cosmic middle finger at me. Had I known this, I would have gone to Wendy's.
I entered the restaurant and strode to the counter with determination and thunder ready in my voice. I was prepared to boom, "Fetch me a Whopper, my good man! Do not include tomato!"
My simple goal of obtaining scorched vittles was clear in my mind. I needed only to convey this order to the Burger King representative and his homemade tattoos.
I had no more gotten in line when a nearby Whopper-eating man dropped his sandwich and leapt from his dining room table. Like a burger-eating missile, he bolted to the counter, hailed the cashier and demanded to know the following:
"Did the British Bulldog die last night?"
"He sure did," the cashier heartily responded, his knowledge of something other than flame-broiling finally finding purpose.
The British Bulldog, a popular wrestler named Davey Boy Smith, was gone. Once half of a professional wrestling tag-team with that other guy (not to be confused with that other guy from the British duo Wham!), Smith and his cohort captivated audiences.
Tragically, he passed away this week while vacationing with his family. He was 39.
A hush fell over the patrons. Diners looked at each other, unsure of how to go on with their lives. Happily enjoying their meals only a moment before, their worlds had been rocked by this startling news. I'm not kidding. Everyone cared.
To blend in, I feigned sullenness.
"How'd he die?" the Whopper Eating Man prodded.
"I don't know, man. I think it was a heart attack or something," the cashier replied.
While not personally shocked by the news, I was shocked by the man's pressing need for this information. Why right then and not a minute later, such as, after I got my order in?
Just then, the man in front of me asked for clarification.
"The British Bulldog died?"
"Bummer, man. Give me a Whopper," he said.
All I wanted was a Whopper myself. Instead, I got the Unofficial News of the Wrestling World delivered to me at Burger King.
While I waited, I remembered cool summer evenings in front of the television, watching the antics of tag-teams such as the British Bulldogs, the Bushwhackers and Demolition. Ax, Smash and Crush (not their given names) were the three-man tag-team Demolition, widely reputed to be evil.
I remembered caring deeply about the subplots of professional wrestling that appeared to be fake, but never openly admitted it. When the British Bulldogs paraded through arenas with their loyal bulldog, Matilda, I once sat transfixed.
When Jake "The Snake" Roberts pulled his patented D.D.T. move on opponents and then introduced his unconscious victims to his python, Damien, I cheered.
Once, Hulkamania surrounded me. Once, I was a Hulkamaniac. I said my prayers and I ate my vitamins. I wanted to be a Real American, fighting for the rights of every man.
Somewhere along the line, though, my life gained speed. School, work and reality crept into my head. At some point, wrestling and all of my other childhood interests lost importance. Now, they're packed away, gathering dust.
Now I get to worry about bills, finding a job, my checkbook, earning a degree, keeping my car running and what to order at Burger King. This is wrong.
So, when I get back from Wendy's, an evening of "Smackdown" is in order.
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