Farewell Heartbreak Kid

Authors note: This was orginally published under a different blog title on March 30, 2010. The only edits made are to remove defunct website links from former endeavours. These old blogs will be rerun as part of a Throwback Thursday to unify all my work in one place.  I hope you enjoy these. This is an early Cheap Seat Booking

The end of an era…yet again.  Sunday March 28, 2010.  ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels retires from professional wrestling. 

In early 1998 Shawn was forced into exile by a severe back injury that would take over 4 years to recover from and a myriad of substance abuse problems with pain killers and alcohol, a combination common among athletes in pro-wrestling.  Now the timing of the injury and the fact that it was such a freak accident leads me to believe that the injury was not caused by The Undertaker, nor the casket the small of his back hit, but by karma, karma not only for his part in the ‘Montreal Screw Job’ (if you don’t know, find google and ask it) but for all his past sins.  You see for many years HBK had a notorious reputation behind the scenes in the WWE (then known as the WWF) hard to deal with, arrogant, a prima donna.  The antics back then were easier to keep under wraps as pro wrestling may have been ‘out of the closet’ as far as staged and predetermined goes, but the back stage life had not yet fully collided with the social media boom nor the mass spread of the, then infant, internet.  His list of incredible matches was already long and distinguished. 

The story goes that during his injured hiatus he was then married and had children while alienating his closest friends and spiralling downward in addiction.  Then, some how, during it all he found the church and as such salvation.  Now my own religious views aside those are exactly his words on many occasions.  If you look on youtube you can even find an interview for a gospel show where the WWE icon HBK had a religious chat with WCW/TNA icon Steve “Sting” Borden.  For me that was surreal, the best that WCW had and the best in the WWF meet on TV.  To make it more poignant, neither had worked in the others company for any duration so a dream match never occurred on a national or global stage.

As the years passed Shawn eventually made amends to his alienated friends and co-workers and was eventually able to gain employment with the WWE again in 2002.  Whatever the intentions were then the stars aligned, fate stepped in, or God dictated, Shawn Michaels had ‘one last match’.  Only it wasn’t the last.  His back with stood the punishment.  Because the injury was so well known and wide spread the story of the lead up and the story in the match itself was his opponent and close friend off stage Triple H was going to punish that back.  Now before you get too down on this ‘punishment’ pay attention to the physics of a wrestling match.  All the “fall training’ a pro wrestler does is to ingrain an automatic reflex to land on as much of there back as possible to spread out the impact of falling from any height.  In fact the worst back in pro-wrestling is probably that of Ric Flair, watch closely how he hits the mat, he turns in mid air and lands on his side, every time.  Shawn landed on various surfaces flat on that back.  After the match stepped out of the spot light and returned once more months later and won his final WWE championship (World Title).  This was the start of a full time return.  He worked up to a weekly TV appearance and monthly Pay Per View.  At Wrestlemania 19 he once again stole the show working with Chris Jericho, I was amazed to have been there to see it.  That is the point where I realized the HBK was back for a long time, 7 years it turns out. 

Those years held few titles, all of them tag team championships.  However every match was as good as it could be.  Along the way he elevated a new generation of talent, Shelton Benjamin, Randy Orton, John Cena, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Chris Masters, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase Jr, Edge.  He had incredible matches with veterans, dream matches in many cases, Triple H, Kane, The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio.  He made the least technically talented or capable people look absolutely incredible, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Vince McMahon.  The truly astounding part was that given the easy to access dirt sheets and back stage gossip thanks to social media and the internet never did a story of HBK returning to his difficult roots emerge.  When the raunchy duo of  D-X HBK and Triple H) reformed on several occasions the raunchy humour was done solely by Triple H with HBK away from the camera for some reason or cutting his partner off in humorous fashion, he stayed true to his new faith.  D-X still had the edgy jokes but a new slap stick or air headed slant on the act in many cases.

In the last few months of his career what was considered unthinkable by many happened.  HBK had publicly apologised to Bret Hart for his role in the ‘Montreal Screw Job’ and he said in many media outlets and TV appearances including his return to Montreal with a televised WWE show that if Bret would extend his hand HBK would shake it and prove he was a new man.  January 2010 Bret hart did just that.  Bret said his piece on live TV on Monday Night Raw and Shawn said his and it was over with a hand shake.  In a video exclusive to WWE.com Shawn is shown return back stage after his final match and hugging Bret after a short congratulations from ‘The Hitman’ for an incredible match, had I not seen it I wouldn’t have believed it.

By all accounts the match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 26 was better than their match the year before and once again HBK had the best match of the night.  When I am asked what the best matches I have seen are I say Shawn Michaels a lot.  Just as much, if not more than Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit or Eddie Guerrero, possibly more than Bret Hart.  When I am asked what the best matches I have seen live are two pop to my mind immediately.  The first was seen by only a couple thousand people.  In the early 90’s at a non-televised event I watched The Hart Foundation (Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart & Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart) battle The Rockers (Marty Janety & Shawn Michaels) to a 20min time limit draw.  I was so pissed when it ended and the ref wouldn’t give them an extra 5 min both sides seemed to want, I was so engrossed in the match that I thought it had only been a few minutes, little did I know that this would be a tone set for the next several years as Bret and Shawn would both go on to legendary status and many, many championship reigns.  The second match is Shawn Michael’s vs Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 19.  The psychology of the match was set in such a way that literally from the entrance of Chris Jericho it began.  I remember screaming for both to win and not caring who did, I was astonished that HBK was truly back and stunned at how good he still was, having Chris Jericho to work with was akin to seeing a DaVinci sketch inked in and painted by Michelangelo. 

Now it is over.  I have been watching wrestling for 26 years and rarely does the kind of sincerity show through that I have seen after Wrestlemania and on Monday Night Raw from Shawn Michaels.  I have heard many “retirement’ speeches that the all seem bogus and most times they are.  I have lost respect for Mick Foley and Ric Flair, ok I never had too much fan respect for Flair, because they had great send offs to retirement by the WWE and both Triple H and HBK made each respective man look like a million dollars in their last matches when neither was in a league remotely close to them at the time of their ‘retirement’.   As much as I would love to see more Shawn Michaels matches I would hate to see this turn into an angle or false retirement.   A good friend of mine who had little to no respect for HBK admitted publicly that his retirement speech did in fact
‘lessen his dislike’ for HBK.  I would be crestfallen to see HBK in TNA or return to the WWE after a few months off,  it would be like Shane riding back in to town after hearing the boy call his name.  The end may be bitter sweet to us all as fans and perhaps to Shawn himself, but it could not have been more fitting or better done.

Should HBK make one more foray in to the WWE ring there is, to me, one perfectly acceptable scenario.  I would love to see the one match that could eclipse all other dream matches; Wrestlemania, ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels vs “The Man They Call’ Sting.  It may never happen, but leave me my dream and leave Shawn his words to live up to.

Farewell Shawn, thank you for all you did to entertain us.  See you when you get you Hall of Fame ring until then, live well.

Why So Angry?

Why So Angry?

I pride myself on being an empathetic person.  Those that know me best know that I can sympathize with nearly everyone and if not I am usually able to at least see the other side of things even if I dont agree.  I am not perfect and can sometimes take a while to calm down before I attempt to see things from other perspectives, this happened recently with a family situation but I digress.  I get that not everyone is this way and that’s fine I understand that (see what I did there) what I don’t get is the random quasi-anonymous hate that has turned the Internet from an almost inconceivable ideal ftom an AT&T commercial to a haven for the worst type of humanity.  You know the ones, they shit on everything and seem to delight is trashing the work and choices of everyone who is trying to do anything.  It can range from anal retentive  fan boys to the dregs of the racist/sexist/homophobic zealots that give everything a bad name.

Recently I decided to figure out this Twitter thing, I have dabbled it for years (@TheMattHarding) but I never put much effort in it. A few days wading thigh deep in it’s waters and I realized why, these are cold waters and danger lurks below them. Seriously people what the fuck is wtong out there? If I dislike someone I sm not going to go out of my wsy to bash them in public, let alone a celebrity, why would they even care? You know what scratch that, why should they care? The haters aren’t fans, they aren’t spending money for whatever the celebrity is doing, of to block island these haters go. In my exploration of twitter I read tweets of such ignorance I was appalled at the wreckless ignorance, mysogeny and racism. I don’t mean borderline, implied or misconstrued I mean blatant in your face stuff. It’s 2016 people! How is it that any minor misstep or poor choice of words can result in a media frenzy of career altering proportions for a celebrity, yet the working class anonymous can spew hatred and ignorance that has not been seen in decades with out recompense?

So there I am, regretting my foray in to the ball shrivelingly icy depths of Twitter when I began writing this piece, now let me point out that this began Easter weekend and I was visiting my Mom with my fiancee and kids so it was not fast work, I had been perusing Twitter again as I stubbornly refuse to give up. I tweeted some stuff, got a few replies from strangers, some celebrities included, which baffles me becuase I’m just a dude in a border town on the west coast, then I run into a celebrity tweet on her knew article, her perspective on the social media non-sense. I retweeted it after I read it and then decided to tweet her a congratulations, fuck me if she didn’t reply. Before we go any further here is that article, I highly recommended it.
( http://thestashed.com/2016/03/22/a-work-in-progress-with-lisa-ann-the-social-media-effect/ ) Finished already? (that’s what she said) If you skipped over it let me stress that you should read it, go do it, or at least book mark it for later. Now then I am going to trust you to to look in on that and continue. It is not a new concept to me that the more noteriety a person has the more negative response the get to their work or opinions in this age of global tattle taling. What was once ball busting between friends is now cause for dismissal, why is any of this fodder for public judgment? Who are we as the faceless masses, especially you people that do not use your real name on social media, to spew the negativity at those that are living and earning in the public eye?

Let me denounce any sainthood I may seem to be applying for, there are celebrities I do not like nor do I agree with their methods, however, I am not interested in wasting my time or energy bashing them in public. There is is odd mentality these days that is summed up best with “They aren’t real people, they don’t have feelings so we can say what we want.” Fah-Q. If any talked to these people like they talk to strangers with high public profiles the suicide rate would skyrocket. On that note let me relate something I hear several times a week on varioys podcasts, most notably The Nerdist (hosted by Chris Hardwick), I am paraphrasing here, this is not a direct quite from anyone; the performing class (comedians, actors, musicians, writers etc) are the most insecure people on Earth and therefore most susceptible to both praise and criticism, the irony/tragedy is that they are the prone to being the most thin skinned. This means that it is possible, even probable that the faceless masses could conceivably drastically affect the mentality or even life of a celebrity that is only a two dimensional image or a handful of letters on a screen most of the time. I do not ever want to read a story of an injured person or worse yet an obituary and think “Man I am glad I got to tell them they sucked before this.” Think about that, what if the last thing they read was your mean Tweet? No no, keep thinking about it.

Keep thinking.

Wait for it. Think more.

Ok either you did or you didn’t but real is real and if you didn’t it took you about 5/8 of a second to read further. I will level with you, I do this for free, just the exposure and practice, I would love to get paid for it, love it. I have four kids to feed and live near Vancouver, life ain’t cheap, I like Canada and fuck the snow, so pay me. The rub is to get paid for this I must raise my public profile. More readers, more noteriety, I am signing up for it, PLEASE share this link, invite to The Matt Harding Blog Facebook page, follow me on Twitter (@THEMATTHARDING ), I am BIASED on this topic, I am the one that will get bummed out at trolls and assholes but wants to follow a passion, it took me twenty-five FUCKING years to get confident enough to put myself out there for free with nothing at stake but my ego, you all have been kind too so far. I know that won’t last, so I will vent now before I have a paycheque at stake. I DO want the noteriety, I HAVE goals set for the first time in a long time and they DO put me in the line of fire with these celebrities, to what extent I do not know BUT on behalf of those who can’t say it and those that won’t, to all you haters, shit heels and trolls….if you don’t like it, SHUT THE FUCK UP AND PRAISE SOMEONE YOU DO!

Social media is possibly the greatest invention since indoor plumbing. We get to interact we the performers, athletes, writers and a myriad of idols and celebrities we could not have ten years ago, literally Happy Birthday Twitter, on a quick side note The Nerdist Podcast episode posted March 26, 2016, which I listened to the day I wrote the last 2 1/2 paragraphs is an interview with the founders of Twitter, it turned my stomach to think of what they intended and loved about their invention as to what I have seen recently just doesn’t mesh well.

Let me close this long winded rant out with a few quick points. I have had only interactions with celebrities on social media, people I respect have been friendly and kind to a nobody with dreams. Lisa Ann, who wrote the linked article, was very nice, a comedy writer and actress was flattering, an up and coming comedian had a hand in getting this project, underway and a good friend of mine met Chris Hardwick, who was an inspiration to me, and wax very complementary about his demeanor in person not just with him but with his ten year old son. These are people, I am a person, you are a person, there is enough working against us with out having strangers add to it. Post, Tweet, status, rant, rave, endorse all you want. Go out there and make the internet your bitch. What I ask, for me just starting out, for the infamous, notorious and celebrities out there is use the power you gave, and it IS power even if you don’t realize it, use that power responsibly, positively. Lift us up if you like us, ignore us if you don’t but please don’t talk to us like you know us. I am the lowest rung but I desire to climb, let me hang or push me up, don’t drag me down. There is a show on History chanel called Join or Die hosted by Craig Ferguson. The episode on greatest inventions since1950 featured Trace Adkins as a panelist. This Country music icon had a quote (you can look this video up on the Join or Die Facebook page, about 1m:45s in to the clip) that nailed my thoughts on this so precisely that I had no choice but to assume that I was being told by the universe I had to write this article. Mr. Adkins said, while discussing whether the internet was the greatest invention since 1950, that he used it minimally because of the interactions with the public had left a sour taste in his mouth; “The hate got where I couldn’t deal with it anymore. Then somebody said ‘Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel’ You know what I have a different view of that. It’s the ‘Somebody shit in the pool’ thing and y’know, it wasn’t me and it wasn’t you but we all need to get out of the fucking pool.” The interaction we have with, heroes, influences and celebrities is an incredible thing, especially if you remember a time before the internet, so please don’t shit in the pool.

You Wish They Could Be This Good

Authors note: This was orginally published under a different blog title on March 29, 2010. The only edits made are to remove defunct website links from former endeavours. These old blogs will be rerun as part of a Throwback Thursday to unify all my work in one place.  I hope you enjoy these. This is an early Cheap Seat Booking

I have been on a kick this past weekend.  It is the same kick I get on every year about this time.  My mind starts functioning on a level of heightened awareness and nostalgia for times shared on the road and in airports, distant cities, good friends and the biggest spectacle in entertainment and sports in North America.  There is no bigger international draw in North America a year than Wrestlemania.  Every state and province is represented by fans willing to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to travel to strange cities. 

Now at this point many of you are thinking, ‘Yeah right.  Stanley Cup, World Series, Super Bowl, Olympics, Nascar. ‘Well let’s look at that list then.  Wrestlemania is routinely held in grand scale stadiums normally used for Football and Baseball; due to the relatively small performance area they nearly always set a record in attendance because of the thousands of extra seats on the floor or field section.  I personally have added my own ass to the 67, 925 in Houston’s Astrodome in 2001, 68,237 in Toronto’s Skydome in 2002, and the 54, 097 in Seattle’s Safeco Field.    How do I remember those numbers, you may ask.  Well when you are in buildings that large with that many people you remember the total once you see it and every year the WWE announces those numbers to the crowd.  This past years attendance was over 72,000 still shy of the 93,000 from Wrestlemania 3, perhaps the best known edition of the annual event, head lined by Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant.  Now the hockey arenas are much smaller than the football and baseball stadiums and aside from a few cities in the north a US based NHL franchise has to be winning regularly in order to draw attendance.  The Superbowl is probably the biggest advertising draw in North America, always a guaranteed sell out, but next to impossible for an average person to get tickets for and most of the time the game is a let down or blow out and like hockey most of the world couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to the events.  Nascar brings thousands of people out every weekend, but even in North America it has a very limited appeal.   The Olympics draws people from all over the globe, but it is not exclusive to the North American culture nor an annual event.

My first Wrestlemania experience was incredible.  I met people from all over the US,  New Zealand, fellow Canadians, Mexicans, Brits and a ton of the local Texans of course.  There is a special charge to the atmosphere at a Wrestlemania, almost electric.  Those in attendance may vary across the age and culture range as far as they range across the map but everyone stands in awe of the sheer scope of the event.  Costumes, hats, apparel proudly announce the allegiance to their favourite athletes.  Chants break out as easily outside the locked doors as they do during the fever pitch of any match.  Factions divide the ticket holders as much as any team line would at those other events, only they vary depending on which of the matches you are discussing.  A heated debate over one match will turn into complete agreement on another, common ground is easily found, especially with those willing to travel great distances to see “The Showcase of the Immortals”

Every Wrestlemania has a moment or two that shine on through the ages.  When the fans gather elsewhere there is always at least 1 “remember when…” moment.  The WWE even had an advertising campaign based on it with the slogan “I was there…”  Personally I was there to see 9 – 0, 10 – 0 and 11 – 0 on the Undertakers streak.  I saw the second TLC match, father vs son.  The returns of HBK and Hulk Hogan to Wrestlemania, the final match of Stone Cold Steve Austin (so far).  Brock Lesnar nearly kill himself with a bad landing off a back flip, seen Saliva, Drowning Pool, Motorhead and Limp Bizkit perform. I got to watch, live, at least five of the top 25 matches in Wresltemania history.

Every soul involved in the production from the wrench turning ring crew to the pyro techs and A/V techs pour their heart and soul in to the event.  The announcers and agents pour over notes and ideas and research to enhance every second the show is on and the athletes themselves give everything they have to make a career performance in a short time, they above all know that what they will be remembered for it.  Athletes such as Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Bret Hart, Triple H, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and The Rock all made huge strides capitalising on the event, all have known the pressure that goes with being the biggest name on the marquis, as such being the most pressured to perform.  

Those other events can’t deliver the same quality no matter what.  They lack the structure and the ability to hype in advance.  Many times they fall flat.  Though WWE does lay out the winners and losers, the talent in the ring has the lee way and discretion to showcase every bit of talent they have and in return they allow their partners/opponents the same in hopes that no matter what place on the card they are the only thing anyone is talking about afterward is what they did that night.

When it comes down to the end of it all every sports fan wishes that the championship game could be as well done and entertaining every year as Wrestlemania. 

Tell Me A Story

Tell Me A Story

I love a good story, part of the reason I still love wrestling is that the story continues 51 weeks a year. Give me a long series of books like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth or Clive Cussler’s various N.U.M.A. books they hit a need I have to know how the story continues, give me more I say. Usually. I need a compelling set of characters to attach to and a story that draws me in, if a story hits a logical end and the story is tied together properly there is no need to continue or stretch it.

There are hundreds of cases where the story was fine and should have been left alone, no sequel was required, it didn’t need a high tech upgrade or a retelling with better special effects. Let’s look at Highlander the 1986 (30 years this month!) film by Russell Mulcahy, It was a complete story, we accept the mystery of how the immortals exist because no character can explain it, they simply don’t know all they know is that “There can be only one.” and to that end they must decapitate each other and endure the Quickening as they absorb the power of the fallen immortal. The movie alternates between the first days as an immortal for the protagonist Connor McLeod in the highlands of Scotland ,see what they did there , circa 1536 and New York City 1986, (shout out to The Fabulous Freebirds 2016 inductees to the WWE Hall of Fame for their breif cameo in the opening scene). As the story plays itself out it comes to the final climactic battle between the last two immortals and in the end there is one. The story was of the end of this immortal vs immortal saga, that is until 1991 when Highlander 2 was released. This is where the story lost me, had they looked at the sequel as a prequel instead and told a separate story of either Connor or another immortal prior to The Gatheringit might have been pulled off, instead we were treated to a greatly flawed explanation of the source of the immortality and an absolute train wreck of a story. They got the prequel portion right with the Highlander TV series in 1992 where the immortals do have a better back story and we see the variations of both culture and age range, the story through the movies never recovered in my eye though.

Highlander isn’t the only story to be improperly used in a franchise, James O’Barr’s The Crow was a rare early example of a comic book being properly transfered to the silver screen, the alterations to the source material made a compelling tale, a dead man is returned to life to right the wrongs that killed him and his wife. Simple story, dozens of versions could be made across any culture or time period…instead the sequels use the premise that you must be a long haired male for the crow to deem your injustices worth correction. Let me toss out a few ideas here: a slave and his live lashed to death in pre-civil war America, best part is either could be the resurrected. The last survivor of an indigenous North American tribe is brought back for justice. What about further back in history? A Christian in ancient Rome, a Jew in Hitler’s Europe, maybe a homosexual in the recent past you could easily cast Jake Gyllenhaal and play off of Broke Back Mountain. Insted the sequels used similar casting and motivations to drive the story that was more like a reboot than a contiuation. I will be fair and admit that the rules governing the Crow’s abilities to resurect the deceased are consitent, it could be that he just likes the skinny white emo guys, we all have a type I suppose.

Those are just two examples of where a story was just misused and pushed in a direction that not only less profitable but disenchantment to fans. The business of story telling seems to pressure the art, finding that balance creates greatness, Star Wars, Star Trek, James Bond, Harry Potter, they aren’t all 100% perfect but they all successfully found the happy medium and even a tragic misstep of a film can be recovered from if they take a step back and tell a better story in the next one. An executive looking to capitalize or a creator in a rush can ruin everything, like adding too much of any ingrediant to a reciepe, it may be a little off or it may ruin the whole thing. I would personally rather wonder what the next story could be rather than risk a poorly conceived cash grab come out. Leave Harry Potter be in his adult life, do not tell us about When Harry Left Sally or what would the next generation of Ghostbusters be like (oh yeah that was a shot). Tell me a good story and let it end if it is over, don’t stammer through more adventures that serve no purpose. If you want to tell another one make it a different one even if there are similarities it won’t matter if the integrity of the story is intact, John McLean only saved one high rise, four more adventures followed. I really lose interest in seeing the same things happen to the same characters in every outting, it’s boring. Get creative, get unique, tell me another one about the guy or girl if you want but tell me a different one, I might even pay you for it.

What is Quick?

Authors note: This was orginally published under a different blog title on March 22, 2010. The only edits made are to remove defunct website links from former endeavours. These old blogs will be rerun as part of a Throwback Thursday to unify all my work in one place.  I hope you enjoy these.

I work in direct marketing and in my life I come across a couple of statements every day.  They have root in bad press and misconception.  Now I won’t lie and say that like most stereotypes they don’t have a root in reality, what I am saying is that the realities of them are past those generalizations.  The one I am going to address today is this.  “One of those get rich quick schemes?”

Short answer “Yes”

Long answer “Define ‘quick’.”

Let’s start with the dictionary.com answer to that.

1. done, proceeding, or occurring with promptness or rapidity, as an action, process, etc.; prompt; immediate: a quick response.

2. that is over or completed within a short interval of time: a quick shower.

3. moving, or able to move, with speed: a quick fox; a quick train.

4. swift or rapid, as motion: a quick flick of the wrist.

5. easily provoked or excited; hasty: a quick temper.

6. keenly responsive; lively; acute: a quick wit.

7. acting with swiftness or rapidity: a quick worker.

8. prompt or swift to do something: quick to respond.

9. prompt to perceive; sensitive: a quick eye.

10. prompt to understand, learn, etc.; of ready intelligence: a quick student.

11. (of a bend or curve) sharp: a quick bend in the road.

12. consisting of living plants: a quick pot of flowers.

13. brisk, as fire, flames, heat, etc.

14. Archaic.  a. endowed with life.

b. having a high degree of vigor, energy, or activity.

–noun

15. living persons: the quick and the dead.

16. the tender, sensitive flesh of the living body, esp. that under the nails: nails bitten down to the quick.

17. the vital or most important part.

18. Chiefly British.

a. a line of shrubs or plants, esp. of hawthorn, forming a hedge.

b. a single shrub or plant in such a hedge.

–adverb

19. quickly.

—Idiom

20. cut to the quick, to injure deeply; hurt the feelings of: Their callous treatment cut her to the quick.

WOW, 20 different ways to define that word.  Look closely and you will see that nowhere in there does it define a time frame or speed.  There in lies the rub.

A car can get me from Vancouver to Calgary in half a day, a train in half of that, a plane in a few hours.  The car is quicker than a horse, the train is quicker than the car.

If I am told by Canada Post that mailing a letter will take 4 days to go from Vancouver to Edmonton,  then told that the same letter can be in Edmonton over night by Purolator.  Which is quicker?  24 hours is quicker than 96 for sure.  However this is 2010, I can e-mail the same letter and it is there so quick as to be instant to human perception.

The point is this, ‘quick’ is a relative term.  To identify something as quick you need to be able to compare it to something else.  Direct sales is a way to get rich quicker, retire quicker, enjoy life quicker, but this is compared to working for 50 years, even then the odds of being able to completely retire and remain self sufficient are low.  Why else would a 20 year old start an RRSP? That 20 year old should be enjoying the twilight of their youth before family, kids and mortgages become a factor and the waning days of youth are memories relived vicariously through children or over drinks with old friends.

With 33 years left in the work force I can chose to live out my days stressed over every bill and financial bump in the road.  Waiting to be granted retirement from a job I couldn’t stand in order to return to a job I did decades earlier, ripping tickets at a movie theatre.  You see those people all the time, some are bored but some do actually need the money before age renders them unable to even greet people with a smile at Wal-Mart.

I instead chose to condense those 33 years and beyond into 15 or 20.  That is quicker, in fact given that early retirement comes up as an option around age 55 that puts me well in range to be quicker than that.

Now to do that is not easy, fun as hell though.  The early years in this industry are hard work, not just on paper with all it entails but for many, hard work on themselves.  Changing attitudes and habits, thought patterns and goals.  That is where I am now.  Those I look to for guidance and education are in the next stage where the work is still hard but it is in a different line and far more fun.  Creating bonds with people and helping them adapt to the industry with their own strengths in the lead.  That stage is where the cash flow begins to reward you for all the work done when the flow was as small as a desert stream.  Finally the stage where those you train are training others and you are held as a shining example to all as what can be achieved.  Anyone who has ever been invited to learn about an opportunity like the one I took advantage of and share with others will tell you that those people are still relatively young or have been selectively retired for many years already.  I use the term ‘selectively retired’ because at that stage they have fallen as deeply in love with the industry and people as a married couple does with each other, a lot of the time more so as they may leave their spouse but never the industry.  They just choose to focus more on their hobbies and family and work far less than those tinkering away at their first few months.  That stage is where every second you spent working is paid in full and then some.

The biggest thing to notice before you consider or call anything ‘quick’ is definition 20.

Throwing that word around with out complete honesty as to your view of quick or the truth of what anything quick is in comparison will result in the use of that final definition.

Rites and Privileges

Rites and Privileges

Rites of passage, whether it is a small family ritual like learning to bait a hook or a government regulated one like learning to drive or vote, every culture has them. Most of the time we don’t consciously think of them in our modern lives but they are there. All too often they are just moments that pass with very little fanfare and aren’t recognized until well afterwards. Events like a Bar Mitzvah and Quinceanera are still held with the pomp and circumstance of a major life event, which they are, but many of us don’t get to enjoy one of these ceremomial celebrations.

Most of us get to cross the stage and collect a diploma, at least once, some don’t even get that (Full disclosure, I completed high school but did not get to partake in that event), we all turn 16 and can learn to drive but there is no grand bestowing of this acheivement aside from the grand taking of the worst photo of you sober posible. Speaking of sober, the 19th birthday is usually a hell of a celebration as we British Columbia residents now get to partake of liquor in the eyes of the law of course not all if us drink and those that do usually regret that party as the hangover sets in. Seems that for most of the modern milesyones there is no grand coming of age or rite of passage, we simply do not commemorate them in grand style, it doesn’t mean they are less important other we still get to become adults with all the rights and privileges it entails.

As of late I have been pondering the growth of my kids (shocking I know, bear with me and I promise something different next week) and wondering what I should do to mark some of the big moments for them, we have established a custom of a TV for the 10th birthday, not that we let them watch endless hours but it does make life easier for the days where what to watch is a brawl. With three girls in my brood I have put a great deal of thought into a sweet 16 party for each of them but then I wonder what to do about the boy in the group. I try to keep them all on an even keel so a name change for his to ‘Stripper 16’ sounds like a perfect solution…or not, I probably would need to explain things to far too many people for that. The irony of me looking that far into the future after lamenting the time that has already gone to quickly in the last few posts is not lost on me, in fact it is that time that has me thinking that I should do more things for them to mark the big occasions, focus on the presrnt for a change. With four kids running around my house there will be plenty of opportunity to properly commemorate the events that mark the path to adulthood, I would like to really make a big deal of them all but the reality is that is not feasible, even if it was just one child you can’t make an event out of everything, that would be both expensive and obnoxious, this is not The Real House Wives of the Fraser Valley.

Find the small moments of acceptance into a new group or milestones in personal evolution and hold them dear. A few years ago when I had been hosting karaoke shows for a while and some friends of mine, who are solid musicians in their own right, bought me a shot of sambuca. Sounds odd, just a drink right? Looking back I felt that I, totally devoid of any instrumental talent and with just enough vocal ability not to be an embarrassment, had been accepted on a greater level, not just as someone that can kind of operate a sound system and run his mouth but as a closer friend than ‘that dude at the pub’. The sambuca comes out when we all hang out at a pub or a party, that stuff is delicious, just a round or two with the boys. No matter how much we have you won’t catch me claiming to be a musician like them by any stretch but I do play the stereo quasi-professionally. Those are the moments that sneak up on us, we don’t recognize them for what they are until we look back and they may not mean anything to anyone else but they mark a moment where the status quo changed.

Big or small, the moments that mark our accession to adulthood and beyond bring us more rights, more privdeges and above all responsibilities, wait….why the fuck do we want these? I’m going to make a pillow fort and read comic books.

The IWC and Me

The IWC and Me

Well it has been a while since I debuted Cheap Seat Booking and I have yet to follow up on it, for a passable reason. It’s not that I don’t have any inspiration it’s that I have too much, I don’t want to turn this page into a haven for wrestling fans and their trolls. You see there is a demographic out there that is refffered to as the IWC, Internet Wrestling Community, by in large they are fans of the business like myself but their collective voice is largely negative and they seem to know better than the creative teams, promoters, talent and just about anyone else involved with putting on the shows, not just WWE but TNA, ROH, NJPW, Lucha Underground, you name it they can shit on it and tell us why the decades of experience going into creating the shows are wrong and they are right. I will not deny that these folks have a right to express themselves and their opinions, they do absolutely and I wish them well in their efforts, that is not my style and I am not a fan of trashing the product, especially before the story plays out. The conclusion I came to is twofold 1) I should be the change I would like to read, so avoid highlighting or being negative and above all do not talk like I know better than Vince McMahon or any other insider in the industry. 2) stop wasting time thinking and get going.

This time of year the chatter amougnst the IWC is heavily focused on the building of the card for Wrestlemania and the inductees to the WWE Hall of Fame, the chatter is always the same “Why is that person being inducted and not this one?” Once the debate over that is temporarily put aside the nit picking of story lines and booking begins. Here’s my big issue with it, these people do not know where the story is going, whether or not we like it is irrelivant, there is a story being told and to trash it in the first few pages is just ridiculous to me, not every story is for everyone, wrestling is not Star Wars, there are plenty of books I have no interest in but I don’t bitch at the authors online and tell them how to fix it. I have read many books where the endings left me unhappy, some of the larger series I have read have multiple story arcs inside of the broader tale, character fates and resolutions to plot points don’t always leave me overjoyed, readers of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (HBO’s Game of Thrones) know exactly what I mean.

So here’s the conclusions I’ve come to, I should be the kind of contributor to the IWC that I would enjoy reading, positive, open minded. I will start making this a regular feature, perhaps a Friday or Saturday piece to separate it from my Tuesday offerings, and allow me an opportunity to get through the week’s wrestling content while leading into the Pay Per Views…are they called that anymore? All that being said I will also not report news or rumour, this will not be that kind of experience, I am not nor will I pretend to be any sort of insider to this business, I have sat near a ring not been in one and to pretend other wise or comment as such would be disrespectful to a business where respect is a valuable commodity. So this little microcosm of The Matt Harding Blog won’t be for everyone, if you prefer the Tuesday offerings please share this with friend and family that are fans like me, the goal is to grow the page and readership while following my inspirations and passions because I do not want to do this for free forever.