It's pretty clear that there is very little that I will turn down if it's free. So, when my wife won a pair of tickets and told my friend Steve that he should use them with me, I certainly couldn't turn it down.
|Not just regular midget wrestling, |
Let's break down the phrase itself, for just a moment. You have "Extreme," meaning over-the-top, exaggerated and severe. Next, there's "Midget," a cringeworthy word that brings to mind other vile epithets like "kike," "mick" and the unmentionable "N-word." I believe the proper, politically-acceptable term is "little person." But not in the sordid world of wrestling. Here, they thump their diminutive chests and proudly proclaim themselves "Midgets." And that's with a capital "M," motherfucker! And, of course, the anchor is "Wrestling." We all know wrestling in some form. Depending on your age, the word evokes memories of Bruno Sammartino and Andre the Giant. Or perhaps you grew up cheering the antics of Hulk Hogan. Well, what I witnessed tonight made those guys look like the Bolshoi Ballet.
Two factors made the evening even more surreal than it already was. First, during the day, Steve let me know that he wasn't feeling well and wouldn't be able to endure several hours of midgets beating the shit out of each other. So, it looked like I'd be going solo. (When I told Mrs. P of Steve's sudden illness, she panicked. "You're not going to ask me to go, are you?," she asked nervously. After thirty years of marriage, I wouldn't dare.) Second, it was my 53rd birthday, so birthday celebrations can only go up from here.
I entered the darkened TLA (a one-time movie theater where I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show over one hundred times when I was in high school). Now devoid of seats, The TLA serves as a popular concert venue and, on this night, a showcase for short-of-stature wrestlers. The ring was situated in the center of the floor surrounded by metal barricades to allow a walkway around the ring and to keep the rabid fans a safe distance from the.... the.... um, athletes.
And what a crowd this event drew! It was a strange amalgamation of die-hard wrestling fanatics, mohawked pseudo-punks and the just plain curious (like me). And girls. Yep! There were actually girls in the crowd. It was pretty embarrassing. I was beginning to envy Steve's sinus infection.
|Down for the count.|
The show (for lack of a better word) started late. But soon, amid deafening, rhythmic chants of "Mid-GETS! Mid-GETS! Mid-GETS!" (I kid you not), the first round was announced. It was a grueling match-up between a musclebound miniature calling himself "Little Steve-o" (no, it was not my pal Steve in disguise because he stands well above the requisite three feet tall) and his challenger, a small fellow named "King Midget." I knew this was his name because it was tattooed in large script across his bare chest. The tiny referee clapped his hands to signify the contest's start. And the "extreme" began immediately! These two wee warriors pounded and kicked and body-slammed each other to the frenzied delight of the fans. Then, they broke out the obligatory "foreign objects" — two-by-fours, metal serving trays, even a standard-sized aluminum trash can —using each to inflict the most extreme damage upon their respective opponent. More smashing, beating, pummeling ensued. No wrestling match, no matter what size the participants are, would be complete without a spectacular flying leap from the top rope. And these pint-sized adversaries didn't disappoint. Finally, after several false finishes, King Midget pinned Little Steve-o in a surprise attack.
|"Nobody calls me 'chicken'!"|
The next match started almost immediately. An arrogant, yet slight, representative of Canada ("Boo! Booooo!," jeered the crowd upon his introduction, because, evidently, we hate Canada now.) battled a teensy guy in a chicken mask. Nosiree!, you can't make this shit up. A minute or two into this bout, somewhere around the time the Canadian bounded off the ropes with momentum enough to flatten the Chicken Man, I had had enough. I weaved through the maniacal crowd toward the exit. A security guard informed he that, if I leave, there would be no re-admittance. I told her she needn't worry. The whole experience couldn't have been worse if I had been at a slave auction.
I have done a lot of exciting, interesting and unusual things in my life. All I have to do now is skydive and climb Mt. Everest, then I will have done everything.
Now, please excuse me while I wash my eyeballs with bleach.