LOP on Facebook LOP on Twitter LOP on Google Plus LOP on Youtube LOP's RSS Feed

Home | Headlines | News | Results | Columns | Radio | Forums | Contact

Posted in: Column of the Month
LOP Columns Forum June 2017 Columnist of the Month: Taste My Rainbow: Fade to Black (Funeral For the Fanboy) by Skitz
By LOP Columns Forum
Aug 3, 2017 - 3:49:51 PM

Each month in the Columns section of LOP Forums, we hold a competition to determine who was the best of the previous month. In other words, the Columnist of the Month. The winner earns the right to present you, the Lords of Pain main page audience, with an example of their work, laying the foundation for what will hopefully, eventually be a permanent spot on the LOP Columns roster.

As mentioned last month, Skitz went back to back. He has now won the award 5 times, which is rare air as only three others have ever won more. I told you to beware of his next piece hitting soon and, well, here it is.

If you would like to write for Lords of Pain, the path to doing so starts with the Columns Forum. You can visit it and begin your own journey by clicking the image below.

Fade to Black
(Funeral for The Fanboy)

We naturally flip through the chapters of our lives searching for likeminded people on the same page. I remember listening to Roderick Strong share his story a few months ago and relating to it despite mine not following the same narrative. My childhood was nowhere near as traumatic but I can certainly recall confiding in wrestling when real life more or less sucked.

The parents split around my 6th birthday and Mom gained custody after their divorce so I grew up with Pops living roughly 700 miles away. Not having that typical family structure made it difficult to build a proper father-son relationship and much easier to put up walls. I’d see kids around the neighborhood tossing baseballs with their dads and wish my mom hadn’t started playing for the other team. She did everything possible to combat the issue but being a gay woman in North Carolina during the mid 90s wasn‘t the most popular lifestyle choice so my mom decided to keep hers a secret. That meant me and my sister had to remain hush hush about the girlfriend as well so we simply referred to the other lady living with us as “Aunt Lori“. Even at a young age, I knew my mother was covering up the truth for the right reasons but living with her lie always felt wrong. That closeted mindset wore on me so I embraced wrestling and it opened up my world.

In school, the hot topic was Stone Cold who every kid idolized because real dads were far less cool by comparison. So of course, my belief lied in Steve Austin who ironically didn’t trust anyone. I saw him as the perfect outlet to escape my childish woes. A badass good guy that, despite not being the biggest or strongest, could beat the hell out of multiple guys at once through sheer determination. As a short scrawny preteen, Austin’s defensive demeanor resonated with me. I pumped my fists while he manhandled the entire Nation of Domination by himself at the D-Generation X pay per view. Then four years later, I watched The Rattlesnake stun an entire ring full of WCW/ECW wrestlers while attempting to reenact it on my pets and pillows. Stone Cold tucking his tail between his legs and going home however violated that trust I had in him. The mounting headlines and hiatuses only made it that much harder to suspend my disbelief.

When it became clear that Austin’s active career had finally flatlined, I had to make peace with letting him go. Admit to myself that he was just as human as the rest of us; no longer capable of walking into unfavorable predicaments and overcoming the odds. It did a number on my fandom which left me reeling a bit as did another chain of events around that time. After years of my parents keeping quiet about what exactly happened between them, my Dad suddenly came clean in 2006. Pops filled in all the blanks and even shed light on some details that I would’ve rather he left in the dark. The cheating, the deceit, the sticking together solely for the children, the truth about my mother being gay her whole life and leaving my father to be with a woman she‘d met in the military, etc. Old news or not, he threw a lot of information at me that day and I struggled to process it. Parts of what he said still don’t compute and while I’m sure they loved each other, the relationship itself was as much a lie as what you see on television.

I tried playing it off as a minor blow to the gut but the truth about my parents was killing me on the inside. My conscience would’ve been better off not knowing and the same applied to what was going on behind the scenes in wrestling. The internet era had other plans though and pulled back the curtain; exposing the business to provocative new levels. After Austin faded into retirement, I sought out another star attraction to invest in and Edge filled that role perfectly. He was the opposite of Stone Cold but his sneaky, vindictive ways made him a much more realistic anti-hero in my eyes. People manipulate each other all the time to get what they want and Edge piggybacked off that mindset (which is where Vickie Guerrero comes in).

Even as a dickhead who fucked with her feelings, The Rated R Superstar symbolized every dirty secret about society and that’s why I bought into the man. Edge used Vickie to satisfy his own selfish needs which is essentially what I’d been doing with my girlfriend at the time. I latched onto Simone more out of necessity than genuine affection; merely someone to cushion the landing when my divorce plunged me into a freefall. She helped get my ass back on track and as shitty as it sounds, I knew from the beginning that I’d kick her to the curb sooner or later. Simone’s faith in me proved as costly a mistake as mine in Edge. I’d become as restless as his nagging neck problems so I split in similar fashion and it blindsided her like Copeland’s retirement speech did me.

Not sure what to believe in, I retreated from wrestling and dating for awhile. I tried clearing my head but the lack of focus only served to strain my psyche… until an old childhood friend came back in the picture. We connected instantly and she reminded me what it felt like to be part of something real. I honestly had every intention of spending the rest of my life with this girl. Marriage, babies, house with the white picket fence, all that fluffy feelgood shit. Taryn was constantly running through my mind and I would’ve happily spent forever chasing after her.

It was the best feeling in the world much like my organic attachment to Daniel Bryan. The comedy stuff may have provided the platform to propel him into superstardom but Danielson was a wrestler first and foremost. Aside from being praised by his peers, many critics believed him to be the best pound-for-pound technician alive. Although initially hesitant, I rallied behind the YES Man and his cause to institute more wrestling in Vince’s entertainment-driven empire. Siding with D-Bry seemed like a no-brainer considering he had the mental and physical skill set to tap out any opponent on any given night. You could be 5’10, 215lbs in the land of the giants and still beat a behemoth with believable offense. In spite of his shortcomings, Bryan showed that not all midgets were vanilla and I ate that shit up.

When he dethroned Cena at SummerSlam 2013 and The Authority at WrestleMania XXX, it honestly felt like I’d won the WWE Championship. I had the girl, the guy (so to speak) and everything else had fallen into place accordingly. That’s when reality stepped in and knocked me off my feet. I was so preoccupied looking ahead that the rug being pulled out from underneath completely caught me by surprise. That brief moment of bliss had vanished as I lost both loved ones shortly thereafter due to health and personal reasons. I still held out hope that Taryn and Bryan would come back to me but neither ever did.

So I stopped believing in finding the right person(s). I can enjoy a woman’s company and a particular wrestler’s match or promo but that’s the extent of it. The hopeless romantic in me is dead and so too is the fanboy. Wrestling is a lie and relies on you believing in those lies. The sooner you realize as a kid that your heroes are pretenders, the better off you’ll be. The only thing that’s real is what’s sitting in front of me right now. This piece of junk laptop begging for the trash bin. This forum full of hungry writers fueled by public consumption. And these thoughts of a starved artist surviving on feedback alone. Surely a sad existence to some but one I believe could sustain me for a lifetime.

This isn’t a sob story or pity plea. It’s just the truth.