Wrestlemania: Mystique vs. Mick Foley
by Nic Olson
I’m losing my mystique. Perhaps mystique is not the proper word—it reminds me of a flamboyant 1990’s wrestler or WNBA diva. But the mystery. The mystery of a man that doesn’t say much. If I don’t have that, what’ve I got? The ladies mentally whisper: nothing.
Not that I’m a greatly mysterious man. I write down everything embarrassing about myself and post it on the internet. That is maybe mysteriously narcissistic. But in my mind, maybe falsely, there is still mystery. I spend most time alone, don’t go out often, am usually quiet. I will usually say my word only if necessary and only if conflict will be avoided.
This past Sunday, at crokinole practice with Wilf, I left no one guessing. The last time things got this heated at the dinner table was likely when I was eight years old and said, “Thanks for Jeremy’s big hairy butt” in a prayer. This time I began as a tired observer with no intentions of contributing to the civil conversation. Then I figured I’d take civil and evolve it into civil-yet-indignant, probably offensive rants about gay marriage and closemindedness. The rage spilt over into another issue, topics related to my new workplace and the unending cynicisms that have arisen from my short time there.
I’d beat cynicism a while ago, I’d thought. I had it in the bag. But a Christmas hangover and a frustrating Friday crept up on me, the cynicism resurfacing like an overflowing septic tank floaty on the basement floor. I finally found a job that I believe in (whatever the hell that means) and the cost is pessimism at an all-time high. The things at work that get me enraged aren’t the threats-uttered or the feces spread on the floor, but rather the nice old ladies dropping off donations of clothing in the back alley. The people who drive Mercedes SUVs and give us their husband’s old golf shoes and cross-country skis so that they can justify purchasing thousands of dollars of shit that in five years they will donate to the poor. I create non-existant scenarios in my head, coldly judging people that support, in any way, an organization that supports the homeless. All the while, fully knowing that I am unfairly judging them. And on Sunday this barked out of me in several brief, animated tirades. I said excitedly in ten minutes what I have a hard time properly expressing on paper calmly with hours at my disposal. And when I finished, I felt stupid. Partially because it was ineloquent. Partially because I was getting upset for no reason. Partially because I was essentially cursing out grandmothers that support feeding and clothing the homeless. But mostly because I said so damn much in such a short amount of time. I became an angry Mick Foley wearing a Mankind mask, raging about humankind.
Mystique has imploded. This guy is a real prick, the ladies will say.
I blame my loss of mystique on working at Carmichael Outreach. I can’t decide if it is dealing with the burdensome, the awkward, or the exhausting that has broken me down to where I am unable to keep my mouth shut. Or maybe it is my new found interest in the perpetually depressing world of local politics that boils up stadium-fuelled rants. Or just me, gradually becoming an opinionated pissant with no self-control.
I have been scheduled for a public-speaking engagement. The last time I did this was my valedictorian speech, or maybe an ill-researched, uncertain, pitiable sermon since then. My old best friend’s dad ran into my potentially-gloating parents in the supermarket. Nic wrote a book. Nic works with poor people. So I am now a motivational speaker, trying to sell books and charitable tax-refundable donations while not offending old baptists in Balgonie. No damn clue what I’ll say, but when I form it, if it is suitable, you will see it here.
But this is what I mean. Two years ago if a man from my childhood asked me if I do ‘public speaking’, I’d laugh and say, “Uhh, you don’t want that. Ask one of the Roughriders,” but this time I laughed and said, “No, but I could.” Mystique gone. He asked if I need to be paid, meaning he expects something decent. I told him I am only ever paid in food. I’ve sold out.
Instead of semi-yelling at no one in particular at the dinner table, I need to better utilize this forum. An audience-less, editted version of my anger. The perfect filter.
I felt ill when I laid in bed at the end of Sunday. Not the headcold that Glitters Buffet gave me, not the two beers and Beyonce half-time show headache I got, but just ill at the inability to properly control myself to think before I spoke, potentially offending, potentially saying something I don’t even believe, potentially looking like a stupid politician. Being someone that regularly talks too much is one of my worst fears, and I was that guy for a day this week.
I’d rather be unknown in silence than well-known in speech. Right now I am poor at both of them.