Road story's no Pulp Fiction
By BRET HART -- Calgary Sun
Rage and violence can be elements of productive tension in a soul. They can serve the fullness of one's identity. One way a man untrivializes himself is to punch another man in the mouth.
-- Don Delillo
It's always been a challenge to find the time to write to you each week, what with my crazy schedule. You'd think now that I'm retired, I could kick back. Well, that hasn't happened yet, and so, of course, it's 2:30 on Friday afternoon and I just sat down to write.
Last Thursday, I flew to New York to say goodbye to my fans, most of whom don't even know I've retired. That may sound strange to readers of this column or fans who keep up with wrestling via the Internet, but since I never had the opportunity to get on TV to say goodbye and thank you, the majority of my fans don't even know that I'm retired. People still come up to me every day and ask me why they haven't seen me wrestle lately. I decided to keep my retirement low-key and chose to do only a handful of interviews.
To reach sports fans in Canada and the U.S., I went on Mike Landsberg's Off The Record and Jim Rome's Last Word. When Good Morning America invited me to be a guest, I thought it would be a great way to reach my fans on all levels all over the world.
My intention was to do an upbeat interview, looking back on the positive aspects of my career and what my plans are now. Imagine my surprise when they promoted it by saying I was going to "blow the lid off of wrestling."
Still, I think I got a positive message out that I'm thankful for the good things which came from my 23-year wrestling career and that I plan to take the next year to write a book.
Meanwhile, on the plane home from New York, the guy sitting next to me was intently doing some writing. I immediately noticed it was filmmaker Quentin (Pulp Fiction) Tarantino.
I didn't want to interrupt his concentration and I couldn't help wondering what piece of genius he might be scrawling. Every once in a while, he climbed over me to get something from the overhead bin.
Once, while he was awkwardly manoeuvring past me, I said: "Just so you know, I'm a big fan of yours."
He thanked me and went back to his writing. I asked myself why I couldn't have thought of something better to say to him and laughed out loud when I realized how many times people have said that same thing to me and probably wish they'd thought of something better, too.
A few days later, I was in Toronto to participate in the Special Olympics celebrity dinner. I find that I look forward to it more each year.
It is such a valuable, well-run charity event and the smiling faces of the mentally challenged speak volumes in appreciation.
I usually run into Carlos Delgado there, my favourite Blue Jay. And this year, I met Pinball Clemons, who struck me as just the nicest guy. A young Special Olympian enthusiastically told Pinball: "I am just such a big fan of you!" And he answered: "No, I am just a big fan of YOU."
It was sincere. Real. A total class act.
I bumped into Ted Lindsay, who, like me, was presented a plaque for five years of participation in this great cause. Being as Ted was the driving force behind founding the NHL Players Association, I bet it won't surprise anyone to hear that we went off and had a little talk. Interesting.
On the plane home from Toronto, I realized that Good Morning America and the Special Olympics will be my last public appearances for a while. I thought back on the interesting people I'd been fortunate enough to meet during the last week and all the people I've met all these years.
Rage and violence can be elements of productive tension in a soul, but this soldier is finally going home to find peace.