It’s not often that a person is allowed to glimpse an alternate universe. However, I did, when I was cast as a doctor in an episode of Professional Championship Wrestling.
For PCW, we filmed several days at “The Gym” located inside the Six Flags Mall in Arlington, Texas. One scene took place during their weekly wrestling match.
Okay, first of all, I know that everyone has seen – at least the FRONT COVERS – of the genre of literature known as paperback romance novels. All of the guys look unworldly handsome, impossibly well built, and you just think to yourself, oh yeah, they’re computer enhanced or something. They are not real.
Well, I am here to tell you that they do exist. With my own eyes, I glimpsed Paradise! All of these guys looked like different versions of Mr. Universe and the women wrestlers were copies of Xena the Warrior Princess. I felt like a troll. And as I mingled with audience members during a break in shooting, I noticed that all of the women, all, were beautiful, thin, and wore impossibly tight clothing. I felt my snout growing longer and my ears starting to get hairy. I began to look for a bridge to crawl under; that was where I belonged and I missed my home. I’m telling you – it was intimidating.
I had to spend some time in the dressing room for this one scene where I have to tell a wrestler some bad news; his injury is too severe for me to allow him to compete. After we finished shooting, I tried to leave the room because they were dressing – for real! – but was told that I couldn’t go out into the hall because they were shooting another scene out there. I had to stay in the dressing room.
Now, I promise you, I tried to look everywhere but at those men, but it was almost impossible. I ended just standing, facing a wall, and saying, “It sure is hot in here.” They thought it was quite amusing, but it was a scene that I will never quite forget. Oh, did I mention that the wall was a mirror? Oh, well, that was the only place to stand where I was out of the way.
They were so nice to me, these wrestlers. They were educated, intelligent, well spoken, but they were ambitious. When they went out into the ring, they were wild! Some of them had children there, and one of the wrestlers – the one I liked the best – would go in and fight a round, then come out and pick up his baby from the stroller and cuddle him. I thought that was the sweetest example of humanity I had ever seen.
Danger Man (that was his stage name), the casting directors and agents in Hollywood have to give you a chance. In one of the scenes where he was supposedly giving a press conference, he looked fearsome and volatile, flipping his heavy mane of black hair away from his piercing eyes (you can tell that I’ve not only seen the covers of those books, I’ve read… a couple… of them!). But when the scene was over, he would grin and go over and pick up his baby boy.
Finally, shooting wrapped, and my trip to paradise was over. I had to go home. An hour later, as I was letting myself into the dark house, hearing the thunderous snoring of my husband, seeing the destruction that the children had wrought upon the house and the debris that, of course, still remained on the floor, I sighed. Only the Dalmatian came to the door to welcome me, blinking and yawning. Absently, I patted her on the head and satisfied, she went back to bed. I was not ready to turn in just yet, though.
I went over to the bookcase and selected one of my favorites: The one about the Native American warrior who captures a settler and makes her his slave and then she falls in love with him, etc. I sat down and began to read.
A terrible noise made my almost drop the book – it sounded like a donkey caught in a bear trap. I realized that it was just my husband’s snoring shifting into a different gear. Not to be deterred, I found my place and started to read again.
Ah, goodnight, Danger Man, sweet dreams, wherever you are.