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  1. #1
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    Taste My Rainbow ~ Like Bother, Like Son


    Like Bother, Like Son
    ________________________








    Welcome back to the column thatís a Hilary wank away from turning this into the literary version of Boys Donít Cry - Taste My Rainbow.





    When news broke months ago of Brian Christopher hanging it up in a county jail and killing enough brain cells to be considered dead on sight, I had my smartphone in hand awaiting further updates. As Jerry Lawler hurried to the hospital to bid his son farewell, I couldnít help but wonder about the condition of Brianís mental state leading up to the faulty lynch job. He never quite caught fire like Becky but little Lawler - flanked by Scotty & Rikishi - certainly helped keep the Tag Team Division lit when it burned brightest at the turn of the century. Grandmaster Sexay had mostly cooled off however by the time WWE snuffed out his contract due a drug related incident and Brianís career never really recovered after that. It canít be easy staying clean when your dadís a household name and drags his baggage from marriage to marriage.



    Throughout my youth, it almost seemed customary for step-parents to be universally disliked by their partnerís offspring. Said kid played the babyface and often clashed with his heelish stepfather while poor mom was caught somewhere in between (aka the tweener). Youíd think his biological dad would receive some of the heat for leaving or not loving the old lady enough but such was rarely ever the case. I found myself in the unique position of having two moms and a dad who cared but was never there.



    I spent very little of my childhood around Pops. Summers and Christmas were a given but mom played both roles for the rest of the calendar year. She stepped up and filled those shoes whenever I needed new boots for winter, cleats for baseball or sneakers for school. Naturally I wanted to follow in dad's footsteps but itís kinda difficult to make those strides when youíre 700 miles apart. The same canít be said for young Brian who grew up in Memphis; the city his father ruled. Jerry Lawler might have remarried when Brian was six but he remained a constant in his sonís life. While King reigned over various Tennessee territories throughout the 80s & 90s, Lawler Lite enjoyed the privilege of experiencing a lot of his fatherís successes firsthand. Brian was directly tied to a living legend. The only thing connecting me to my dad was the phone conversations weíd have once a month. And even then, the idea of painting houses for a living wasnít exactly something that hooked me in as a kid.










    Your dreams know no bounds as a teenager and mine were sky high. I could be a pilot! Or a comic book artist! Perhaps even a standup comedian! Becoming a pro athlete appealed to me as well despite the jarring effect itíd wreak on my marbles. The possibilities were seemingly endless but when adulthood came knocking, it dawned on me that I didnít possess the keys to open most of those doors. Brian Lawler meanwhile walked right into a wrestling internship thanks to the business his dad had done around town. After working the first couple years in USWA under a mask, Lawler would later establish himself as ďToo SexyĒ Brian Christopher before landing a contract with WWF; no doubt benefitting off his fatherís employment there. Following high school, my lofty ambitions led me to Connecticut (ala the old manís neck of the woods) where I intended on becoming a sports journalist for ESPN. And ironically enough, a pro wrestling career probably wouldíve been more realistic at that stage.



    While in college, I started working for Pops who by then was running the family painting business that my Grandfather founded decades prior. I did so more for monetary reasons than desire though. Brian Christopher was doing what he loved and making decent cash at it while the elder Lawler watched from ringside. Adolescent SkitZ and his daddy issues bled with envy whilst bearing witness to that shit. It didnít even matter that WWF danced around the nature of their relationship on screen. Kayfabe couldnít blur the lines of their lineage (that Too Much tag team however had me questioning if Christopher would extend the Lawler family tree).



    I began to branch out as well but not before leaving my ESPN goals in the rearview. Who had the energy to complete hours of homework after spending eight of them doing manual labor? Not this guy. Classrooms and offices were a chore to sit through. Construction sites on the other hand had my name all over them (clothes and vehicle wise anyway). Pops presented me with this awesome opportunity without my rookie ass even realizing it; learning the tricks of the trade from him while making a few bucks in the process. Suddenly I started warming up to the idea of sticking with Keegan Works for the long haul even though dad had carved out a career path thatíd be tough to duplicate.



    Despite working in the same company as his father, Brian managed to make a name for himself wrestling just as I did with mine painting. Lawler of course did so alongside Scotty 2 Hotty while playing a pair of wiggers who wouldíve been the opposite of cool in any other era. Nonetheless, itís a difficult achievement to pull off when your successor is so beloved and respected within the industry. Grandmaster Sexay and I managed to make some noise but also knew we were playing second fiddle to our respective fathers. My biggest fear as as adult was letting my dad down and yet I - much like Brian - specialized at it in those younger years.










    You see neither of us could ever stay on the straight and narrow for too long a stretch. Eventually I felt the urge to forge my own path which led to an argument with the Big Boss Man, me leaving Connecticut angrily with the hot Asian wife and trying to thrive outside of the Keegan comfort zone. I was immature though. And wreckless. And overwhelmed. I routinely ditched work to smoke weed, cheat and do whatever else it took to distract me from how much I missed home. Nothing that warranted an arrest for disorderly conduct or public intoxication like Lawler but the late night drives home were pretty foggy. Working various warehouse jobs only made me more miserable. It felt like slave labor, my marriage was an absolute mess, her parents were oblivious to our souring relationship and I had no real support system. Therefore I decided to pack up the car, divorce my mail order Asuka and head for familiar territory. Unlike Brianís sporadic appearances on RAW and NXT, mine was a bit more permanent. I showed up at dadís doorstep a broken man and he welcomed me in with open arms.



    Could things have turned out differently for Christopher had King gotten him a backstage gig as a road agent or trainer? Or was Brian too much of a car wreck to handle life on the road? Itís common knowledge that Christopher and The Rock used to be travel buddies back in the day. When Johnsonís career took off and Brianís hit obstacle after obstacle, how could he possibly avoid feeling like an abject failure? Lawler went from carpooling with a future movie star to needing a DUI to make headlines. That sort of thing surely takes its toll. Change isnít easy and while I refused to let my dad leave me in the dust, it's not that difficult to see how Lawler lost his way. Living in someone else's shadow can cast doubt and lead you down a dark path. Entitlement carries with it a certain level of pressure and you either learn to drown the noise out or let it sink you to new lows.



    I never sank to the same depths as Brian but 2018 has proved a tough year to keep my head above water. I could feel myself plunging into depression this past winter when the work ferry stalled and left me stranded in isolation. Then the anxiety seeped in through my pores after I posted that Victoria column on the Main Page and faced the wrath of several scorned women from my past. The psychological ramifications of which brought me to tears as I called my father to explain why I wasnít at the job. Upon opening up about my uncertainty regarding work and mistreatment towards former lady friends, I fully expected him to lay into me. Instead of relying on his usual brand of tough love however, my dad said something Iíll never forget: "ListenÖ you're my favorite human being in the world and weíll get over this hump together. I love you, buddyĒ. Pops knew I was hurting and hit me with some heartfelt shit to ease my blood pressure. It instantly lifted the burden off my chest and Iíll always be grateful to dad for showing me a side thatís rarely ever seen. As easy as it was to look at Pops as a weakness, I had watched him become my biggest strength.



    Did Brian Lawler receive that kind of comforting reassurance later in life? Supposedly he and the old man were tight but how close could the two be with Jerry pushing route 70 and still touring the globe? Plus you figure tempers mustíve flared whenever Brian was in hot water with the law but to what degree remains a mystery. Pops and I had our rough patches (and being painters only compounded said issues) but never really slung mud at each other. Disappointment can be a bitter pill to swallow though and it consumed Lawler to the point of tying a rope around his neck. It leaves a knot in your throat thinking of where Lawlerís head was at during those final moments. I reflect back to Kingís feud with Michael Cole when he referred to Brian as ďa bigger screw-up than Charlie SheenĒ and canít help but theorize whether any truth hid behind those scripted lines. Having a father figure there to lend a hand when you hit rock bottom can lift your spirits and make all the difference. And in my case, dad's words accomplished just that. They made me feel less alone. Less of a failure. Less suicidal. Knowing someone thinks the world of you makes one less inclined to leave it.



    So imagine how powerless Jerry must have felt standing in that hospital room when they pulled the plug on his son. No parent should live to see their child pass away and yet I canít fathom a life without mine. Thereís too many birthdays left to celebrate. Holidays to share. Jobs to complete. I take pride in my contributions to the family business and knowing Pops is my biggest fan has made the journey all the more worth it (so have those pay raises). Making him proud is a top priority and I can sense the moment rapidly approaching when he passes that torch to me. Tragically, King never even got the opportunity to offer Brian the throne because everybody always saw him as Jerryís jester. The Tyrion Lannister of wrestlingís most royal family. Brian took his last breath and the Lawler family has since blown the case wide open in search of answers but it begs the question... did he simply suffocate under the weight of expectation?










    SkitZ_


  2. #2
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Dude when you are on you are one of the absolute best writers on this site. The way this so effortlessly flowed and blended the two narratives together was a real joy to read.

    I can't say I relate personally to being on the shadow of my old man but can certainly relate to the feeling of growing up to become him. In the public eye that must be so much harder, for every successful Charlotte you have a bundle of Reid's. Not just in wrestling either, I mean imagine being freakin' Sean Lennon releasing your first album and having people compare it to John Lennon, it would be nearly impossible to win.

    I'm really glad you've seemed to come to some sort of peace with things, sounds like you had a hell of a 2018. Depression and self loathing are a mini hells that just infiltrate everything in your life they touch and once they are strong they are tough beasts to keep at bay. For my wife they are a constant battle, sometimes she will be on top of them for a few months, even a year or so but then a few things happen and BANG they are back in her head poisoning everything.

    All that to say I'm glad you're back here dude. Love your writing.



    @Sir_Samuel

  3. #3
    The Brain
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    Damn dude, I knew a bunch of this but not everything, especially how hard it hit you when you got some very real backlash from that ill fated column. This really was awesome man. Terribly sad about Brian Lawler, I know he and Jerry had some problems at times but that doesn't really matter in the face of this kind of thing.

    Great to have you back man, seriously.

  4. #4
    It took me a while to comment after reading this. You currently know what is going on in my life and to say this affected me would be an understatement. This struck every cord and left me raw. Yet it was so beautifully written man!

  5. #5
    Forgotten Ponder
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    god damn.......

  6. #6
    What an impassioned piece of writing, there's so much to relate to here. Thanks so much for sharing, it's a phenomenal column.

  7. #7
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Great column, thanks for taking the time to write it

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    This was deep, dude, and hit me on so many levels.

    This line really hit home for me: "Disappointment can be a bitter pill to swallow though and it consumed Lawler to the point of tying a rope around his neck." Suffering from depression I feel like that on a daily basis and always wonder about ending it all to put me out of my misery. But yet I keep fighting, and most of the time I don't even no what for. I've been labelled the fuck up and a huge disappointment by almost everybody in my life and the weight of that sometimes make me feel like I could just collapse under it. All that to say that this column really resonated with me.

    Unfortunately, my father was murdered when I was 10 so I never had that feeling of having to live in his shadow. I always think, though, that if he were alive and giving me fatherly advice if I would be as down in the dumps as I am today.

    No matter what, though, Lawler should have stuck by his son. I can understand that there comes a point where you've committed one fuck-up too many, but I can't even imagine leaving my son out in the cold.

    This was absolutely brilliant.

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