“But it’s the price you pay.” – Guns N’ Roses
I woke up at four this morning after going to bed around 11. It’s the price I paid for fueling myself with the ever dangerous combination of sugar and caffeine that I sucked down last night between 7:30-9:30. Between McAlister’s iced tea (ooh, peach flavored half sweet, half unsweet – delicious!) and a latte from Onyx Coffee in Springdale (laced with cinnamon and vanilla, oh man), I probably didn’t do myself any favor before heading to bed. I gave in to the tossing and turning and went into the living room. Early morning rising for me in cases like this usually leads to browsing the titles on Netflix. I watched a couple episodes of an interesting six episode series about a junior college football program in Mississippi called “Last Chance U” and I watched one mildly funny episode of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (I’m a sucker for any projects with former “The Office” cast members). After that I found myself being sucked in by a documentary titled “The Resurrection of Jake the Snake.”
“If you got a hunger for what you see you’ll take it eventually”
Some would argue that the heavily scripted WWF (now WWE) professional wrestling was at it’s best in the 80’s with legendary figures like Hulk Hogan, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Andre the Giant, Junkyard Dog, and many many more. Always a crowd favorite and a favorite of mine was Jake “the Snake” Roberts. Jake’s gimmick was always carrying a gunny sack containing a large python named Damien with him into the wrestling ring. After performing his signature DDT move knocking his opponent into submission, Jake would pin the poor sap, and then reach for his sack. He would then proceed to lay the snake all over the “unconscious” loser as the crowd roared in approval. If you need a reminder or never tuned into Jake in his prime, then may this tribute video serve as a reminder/introduction:
“You can taste the bright lights, but you won’t get them for free.”
I watched my fair share of wrestling in the 80’s. I wasn’t an over the top huge fan like some people I knew, but I watched it enough to know the storylines and who was who. Wrestling is essentially a soap opera for men even though many women enjoy it too. I was also a big enough fan to own the Nintendo WWF Wrestlemania game. I loved me some Bam Bam Bigelow and his cart wheels!
I watched wrestling into the 90’s and even went to a WWE event in Oklahoma City in the late 90’s so I could watch Goldberg perform. I actually met Jake the Snake Roberts one time. I worked part-time for a sports radio station in Norman, OK in the mid to late 90’s. I usually worked weekends and for awhile we had a wrestling show on Saturdays. I ran the board/produced the show and one Saturday the host (sorry I don’t remember your name dude) came in and said we’ve got Jake the Snake Roberts showing up here in person for the show. By this time Jake was past his prime, but he was still an impressive get for a small talk show in Norman. I don’t remember much of the show or what was said, but I thought it was very cool that we had a wrestling star in studio that day.
Anyway, the documentary/movie is a touching portrait of an overweight (300 lb.) drug and alcohol addicted fallen star (Roberts) and the attempt by long-time friend and former co-worker “Diamond” Dallas Page to clean Roberts up and help get his life back on track. Page spent many years in the WWE and now spends time as a motivational speaker and fitness guru with his DDPYoga. The film is more emotionally powerful than I anticipated as I watched the relationship between Page and Roberts evolve over the 18 months that this documentary was shot.
“And when you’re high you never ever want to come down”
It’s a really strong testimony to the power of love and persistence on Page’s part and to the openness and vulnerability of Roberts. Roberts is very honest and raw as he attempts to get clean and repair his family relationships. We see him work hard, make strides, and also relapse. We see the hurt and also the admiration in his children’s eyes. One of his sons makes a comment about Jake’s potential to spread the kingdom alluding to his and his family’s faith and I found that a touching moment in the film. And, more than anything, with the continual support and love from Page and Page’s team, Roberts appears headed in the right direction as the documentary concludes. I won’t ruin it for you with all the details, but my eyes watered up a few times watching (I told you it was emotionally powerful… but in a men-wearing-tights manly kind of way, of course), and as an added bonus the viewer gets a third star in the form of Scott Hall, aka “Razor Ramon,” who was also suffering with a broken down body due to years of a tough life on the road fuel by drugs and alcohol.
“If you got the money, honey, we got your disease.”
Today’s post was a no-brainer in using GNR as an accompaniment. The band exploded onto the scene with the best selling debut album of all time when “Appetite for Destruction” was released in 1987. Axl Rose delivered his vocals and Slash delivered guitar solos like Jake delivered DDT’s. I still own the cassette tape and it was a favorite of mine blaring into my ears from my 1987 walkman while I mowed yards in the summer of 1988.
Where do you typically find large python snakes? In the jungle, baby! See, this post is all tying back into snakes and jungles and getting through dark times. Also, who does the best snake dance of any musician? You know. Axl Rose. Welcome to the Jungle.
“Feel my, my, my, my serpentine. I want to hear you scream”
As always, thanks for reading baby