Remember those Wrestling Buddies?
They were the best. As a kid, I had two – Macho Man Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan. On any summer day, I’d tear down last night’s fort in order to rebuild the couch cushions as a wrestling ring. I don’t remember who won those wrestling matches, but I do remember telling my little brother he wasn’t big enough to play.
Hindsight’s 20/20, and I was being unfair. After all, I had two wrestling buddies and my brother had none. But it didn’t matter – wrestling was for men, not little babies. If he wanted to get in the ring, he had to find his own pillowy substitute.
One day, my little brother burst into my room and challenged me to Wrestlemania’s Main Event. How, in just one afternoon spent at Toys R Us, was this boy ready to brawl Macho Man and me?
As I grabbed my buddy and rushed to the ring, my mind raced. Who will Dougie choose? ULTIMATE WARRIOR? JAKE THE SNAKE? The incredibly rare HOLLYWOOD HULK?
No, he chose this guy. I stopped. It was obvious he didn’t understand the gravity of a no-holds-barred match. I mean, a caveman?! I knew I had to beat him to prove he wasn’t man enough to participate in grownup affairs.
Then at that moment, I realized my little brother didn’t need to understand. He was just a kid and didn’t need the pressures of adulthood. I suppose I could let my prejudice slide for one night.
We had a great battle that pitted Macho Man’s madness against the madness of a man who did not understand madness. It was an epic battle. Blow for blow, my little brother held his ground. The match stretched on into the night until, in one final punch, Dougie’s doppelgänger pinned Macho Man for the count.
Against all odds, Caveman Carl won the belt. My little brother tasted victory, and for just one moment he knew what it was like to be man. By that time, dinner was ready and we had to wash up.
I went back upstairs and dropped Macho Man back into my toy chest. Before sealing him away for the evening, I thanked him for marking the beginning of my little brother’s journey into manhood.