Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Semi-Open Thread: Birthday Reflections on the Life Wisdom of Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Rudolf "Minnesota Fats" Wanderone

As is our habit and tradition, please do treat this as a semi-open weekend thread.

My birthday was last week. I am still grappling with my decrepitude. I have decided that I will be 36-years-old forever. It is a lie. This lie is one that I am very comfortable with.

I was spoiled and treated well on my birthday. I ate good food, went for a walk by Lake Michigan where I admired the dangerous and beautiful waves, and tried to give the birds and squirrels some Popeye's biscuits...which they refused. We live in strange times folks.


I also listened to a great podcast conversation, and watched a compelling interview which I believe that the friends of Indomitable could perhaps find of interest.

The legendary professional wrestler Jake "The Snake" Roberts has fought and (for the moment) defeated many demons of addiction, suicide, self-loathing, and personal alienation. Mr. Roberts is one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. His mastery of inter-personal psychology is akin to that of a mental health professional or scholar of the field. Unfortunately, Jake the Snake is an expert on others while simultaneously being unable to master his own psyche.

He is now in a much better place after being helped by a friend to get back on the road to sanity and good health--this journey was recently featured on the TV show HBO Real Sports.

I am a child of the working class. As such, I collect wisdom wherever I can find it. In this podcast conversation with the one and only Stone Cold Steve Austin, Jake conducts a master class in professional wrestling, one that is the equivalent to a post doc in life. You need not have any interest in professional wrestling to appreciate Jake Roberts' journey of redemption and insights about life.

I have listened to his conversation with Stone Cold Steve Austin several times. Every time, I keep returning to Jake's hard learned lesson that a person "can choose to be rich or one of the boys". I also have been thinking about his observation that if a person is not careful they can "kill their own gimmick" in life. Truth-telling folks. Real talk.

I grew up in bowling alleys, arcades, and pool halls. My father, a man who because of his physically strenuous job, would fall asleep during most movies. Yet, he always stayed awake for The Hustler. At the time, I was too young to appreciate the genius of Newman and Gleason's performances. And I was especially too young to comprehend the film's message about life, existential malaise, and perseverance.

In the spirit of The Hustler, I have been watching interviews with the legends of billiards. Rudolf Wanderone, aka "Minnesota Fats", was/is one of the best pool players of all time; he was likely a better showman and talker than he was a player. Either way, Minnesota Fats has wisdom that we should all reflect upon as we navigate life's travails.

His stories about old New York make me smile. But Minnesota Fats' observation about hustlers, ego, confidence, respect, and knowing win to lose, moves me even more: when you are the best you do not need to take advantage of the weak.

Do you have any found life wisdom to share? News of public or private concern to disseminate? How have you celebrated or reflected upon your recent birthdays?

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