Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Butcher Strikes!

I don't really like to post about work incidents here, but this is one of my rare exceptions. Sometimes my personal and professional lives- which I dilligently keep separate- merge in hilarious ways. Ah, one of those times.

Yesterday, I was teaching a lesson about occupations. You know, jobs. We read a list of common jobs, one of which was butcher.

After we finished, one of the students asked me, "Do you know the wrestler the Butcher?"

I thought for a moment, then told her, "I... think..."

A wrestler called the Butcher? That seemed vaguely familiar, so my mental harddrive began whirring away, trying to access the information. Which was somewhere among all the other files, but in degraded form. The Butcher. Bill the Butcher, from Gangs of New York? Sam the Butcher from Brady Bunch? The Butcher... the Butcher. Butch Patrick. Butch the fighter from Pulp Fiction (which has been on Stars Classic a few times recently, by the way).

Then it hit me. "Abdullah the Butcher?"

"YES!" she said, laughing. "Abdullah the Butcher!"

Everyone else was confused, but we quickly ran down a few storied names. Abdullah the Butcher, Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jesse "The Body" Ventura. She knew all of them. I briefly told them about my all-time favorite, Mr. Wrestling #2. I don't know why Mr. Wrestling #1 wasn't more than enough for Georgia professional wrestling, but I thank God he wasn't. Otherwise my childhoood would've been deprived of one of its seminal figures. A demigod occupying a pantheon of greats that included Evel Knieval, Muhammad Ali, Ed Podolak, Willie Mays, O.J. Simpson (oops), Dale Murphy, Hank Aaron, Gen. George S. Patton and Captain James T. Kirk among others.

An eclectic assemblage of august personages, to be sure.

I also briefly described the superhuman figure known popularly as Dusty Rhodes. The American Dream, possessed of the Atomic Elbow against which no mere mortal could contend.

You can never guess what's filtered through from Western pop culture into Japanese. Just when you think you have it all figured out, someone surprises you. It's little moments like this that can turn your whole day around.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Abdullah the Butcher is well known by Japanese of our generation; he wrestled in Japan quite a bit. Dusty Rhodes, Andre the Giant and others came to Japan to wrestle.

Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki wrestled in the States. There must have been others.

Here's a clip of Giant Baba and Dusty Rhodes. Dusty's atomic elbows and commentary, baby!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxImmp4fNh4

I think you'll like this clip; it's a currently running tv commercial with Giant Baba and Kuwata Keisuke (solo artist and long-time singer of The Southern All Stars).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjLZpwWwzgI

Or if you prefer Kurosawa in your coffee commercials . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSD_5Ls-L1U

Which of the above is your choice for best performance by a dead person to sell coffee?

mike

RAB said...

This is three different types of cool.

Also, for many years now I've been concealing a firm belief that O.J. was actually really, really funny when he guest-hosted Saturday Night Live -- who could forget him alongside Belushi in "Samurai Night Fever"? -- and that if only he had made some better career choices and done more smart comedy, he would never have become a murderer. Proof that comedy can save lives if we'd only let it...