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  • Howdy?

    I always thought howdy meant hello.

    Maybe that’s embarrassing for me, especially being from the south of the US.

    My girlfriend though, she’s from Turkey.

    When a language is your second, there’s something more exact about it.

    She might miss the nuance of a word, what it can become through slang and usage. But she gets the original meaning, more than I do at times.

    For the longest time she’d text me saying, Howdy, and I’d say, Hello.

    Funny, when she would send that message, it was seldom ‘cause she wanted to say hello, or even ask how I’m doing, and something must’ve been building inside her, a kind of frustration, because eventually she started adding a question mark to the word.


    See, howdy can mean, “how you doin’?”

    Maybe the etymology of the word says it even better: originally a dialectal contraction of a phrase inquiring after someone's health.

    Like you’re checking in on somebody.

    But there’s something about someone who knows you, like a woman who loves you. When they are asking about you, they often already know the answer to the question they ask.

    At that point, perhaps, howdy takes on a third connotation.

    Neither hello nor how you doin’.

    Rather, it becomes, I know how you’re doing, what you’re up to, and I’m giving you a chance to tell me, to tell the world, lest I have to be the one who does it for you.

    They’re asking first, because no one wants to be the one who has to disclose the deepest matters of your health.

    It’s been four days since I last binged.

    Food, at least.

    Tonight, I’ve been watching every Bray Wyatt video since he returned. Some are a second watch, even a third. Some, the latest ones, are for the first time.

    Tonight, I asked myself why some people live their entire lives at war with themselves. After forty years of living, that seems a foolish question to me.

    I guess the question is how some people live lives not at war with themselves.

    They go about being the loudest in the room, always projecting outward.

    God, there must be so much room in their heads.

    What is the difference between declaring, “Feed me more,” and it always being an extroverted spectacle at the expense of a jobber or three, and being the eater of worlds but always finding yourself the most consumed on your own planet?

    Does it have to be this way?

    Maybe not.

    After all, look at me. It’s been three days since I last binged.
    Personally, I was glad the Fiend was gone.
    Such an excess came with him, that it brought the credibility of matches and angles to a near breaking point.

    It made sense to me that when the fired Bray Wyatt returned he would do so in tears.

    Cry for Barry Windham.

    Cry for Mike Rotundo.

    Cry for all the credibility wiped away in a single PPV Cell.

    I hate to be the one who says it, but that man should have cried.

    He should have been ashamed of his past.

    And I can make that judgment, for I, too, used to be ashamed.

    Luckily for me, I've changed.

    After all, it’s been two days since I last binged.

    Last May I left a tenure-track job for a temporary program that would pay me half of what that already low-paying job was paying me.
    If I can be honest, I never knew if I was being brave or finding a newer, crueler way to declare war upon myself.

    I moved far away for very little, and I gained even less in the time between.

    I didn’t like the program I was in. I wanted it to be different. I wanted it to be more. I wanted to be more. Or, to be seen as more. Or maybe I only wanted to be seen, to be understood.

    If I can be honest, I never knew if the problem was my pride or my insecurities.

    I'm sure my girlfriend, 1,000 miles away, wanted to ask a thousand questions:

    Why aren’t we talking as much as we once did?

    Why are you starving yourself of the hope you once fed upon?

    What happened to your passion? Why do you claim it never was? That it wasn’t you?

    Why do you look more unhealthy each time we Skype?

    Why are you skipping classes and binging meals?

    Why is your sleep pattern as irregular as the heartbeat you still haven’t had examined?

    Why is your left eye chronically red?

    Why do you look like you had a stroke?

    Why aren’t you minding your blood pressure numbers?

    Why did you quit the program before a semester’s end?

    Where will you go after December?

    If you’re not careful, how long will you be with me beyond December?

    But she never said a word of that. Never asked one of the thousand questions clearly on her face.

    All she'd do is send a desperate text.


    What happened to crying Bray Wyatt in the time I’ve been away?

    A few weeks ago, he seemed on a path to redemption, with his only opposition being some pesky, demonic face antagonizing his recovery.

    But who was it that headbutted L.A. Knight?

    Who was it that left Knight on crutches and in a sling?

    Why does the man who once spoke of shame with great remorse now sound like he’s taking a gleeful bath in its flood waters?

    And how is it that the demonic face that seemingly antagonized this poor man might have been the only one who was trying to tell us the truth by locating a single word in his own name?

    Who are we meant to believe in a world where nothing makes sense?

    Earlier today, when I was waiting for nightfall so that I could walk to the local pizza place to grab enough pizza for at least four, I had a thought.

    Each time I do this, I pray that nobody will see me on my path.

    Yet, I also get high on the idea that somebody might.

    See, since I was a child, it felt like a universal truth that there was a reason that my name was only one letter off the word, Shame.

    Like no matter how hard I’d run,

    No matter how hard I’d try,

    The very thing I sought to avoid,

    To not be associated with,

    Was the one thing that would forever be witness of my time upon this earth.

    So don't ask me how I’m doing.

    Or if I’m okay.

    Don't say that word, Howdy, as if it will conjure up anything you want to hear.

    Maybe I’ll tell you that lately the irregular heartbeats occasionally seize up, as if someone hit pause in the middle of them, squeezing in my chest longer than even I am comfortable experiencing. Or that, when I go to sleep, I can hear my heartbeat in my knees, and I wonder what that means. Or sometimes my heart is either beating so fast or so slow, and I’m either so hot or so cold, that I’m not sure if I’m still in this world or not.

    That I fear a heart attack and don't know if the symptoms are of body or mind.

    Or maybe I’ll smile and tell you I’m okay.

    That it's been a full day since I last binged.

    And you can choose to believe me or not, but know this:

    when you engage an unreliable narrator, whose not even in control of his own hands and always on the brink of his own destruction,

    even if you come in the name of inquiry,

    the name of howdy,

    you become part of the game, one with the eater of worlds, and he has you, if temporarily, in his ever-hungry hands.


  • #2
    Howdy homie! Seriously though, heavy stuff here. And a poignant piece all the same. As someone who's experienced his fair share of bouts with anxiety over the past 10 years, my initial reaction to the fear latched to your irregular heartbeats and them possibly getting worse is just that. You're anxious and it's feeding into your health concerns and chest pain. My girlfriend is actually dealing with that right now; constant sternum soreness and tightness. She often puts an ice pack on her chest to feel better. We went and got her checked out a few weeks ago, and her bloodwork and EKG all came back normal. So I tend to think your discomfort is more of a mental issue, but it would still give you some relief to go get examined so you can knock that off the list. And if the doctor says you're all good and the fluctuating heart rate is still being a bother then you'll know it's purely anxiety related. I've been there and wouldn't wish that shit on anybody.

    Now on a more uplifting note, congrats on the Turkish girlfriend! The European ladies are a lovely breed. How'd you meet her? Does she live in the states or are you guys doing the whole long distance relationship thing? I demand answers.

    As for Bray, he's not the only one with conflicting emotions since his return. I'm assumingggg that Trips knew Wyatt would be heavily cheered upon his return, so they decided to portray him as a face initially. Then the unstable side of Bray willslowly surface, force him to do terrible things and eventually turn Wyatt back into a heel. It looks like he'll be feuding with Knight at least thru the Rumble so who the hell knows where WWE is heading with his character development. Personally, I'd love to see Bray take on an opponent like Drew or Edge during Mania season. In the meantime, try not to be so hard on yourself. It's great to see you pop up in the CF. Don't be a stranger! In fact, check your DMs.


    • #3
      My friend! I exclaim, but I also feel more than a little worry here. You say don't ask you how you're doing so I won't, but I'm doing all I can to send healing thoughts your way. Life can be a very hard road. As someone who just today increased his antidepressant dosage, I'll just say take care of yourself as well as you can, Shane.

      I can't say much about what Bray is doing now but I always felt there was a lot of potential there. I hope it is all put together in this run, it can only be for the benefit of everyone.

      The '92 Rumble! The Brain's Finest Hour!


      • #4
        Great narrative, man. The constant changing of “when you last binged” and how it leads to Bray Wyatt’s character being unreliable in all he’s saying, was great. Loved the line of how the eater of world’s is the most consumed. This is probably the best column you’ve come around and done in some years.

        If there’s any hope to be had, I think you can look at this and see what great deal of potential lies within you. Get well, brother.
        See the latest of my Ric Flair saga click here. View my story inspired by colorful wrestlers I've come across in my fandom.


        • #5
          SkitZ - Thank you for sharing your girlfriend's story. I feel for her, cause once you're in that cycle, it's hard to know what is what. And none of it reduces the reality experienced. I am moving in about nine days, so I need to get situated, but I'm hoping to get my bravery up, so that I can go get as many tests as I can afford/are advisable to know what is and isn't physical at this point . . . .I've been with my girlfriend for five years this month. She was in Spain first, now US. We met in grad school. She has been good for me in a lot of ways. . . . I'm curious where Bray is going. I like your point that Triple H might've known the fans would do whatever they want early (as they tend to do), and we are slowly moving into what might be the actual plan. I don't know if I'm in the majority or minority, but I don't want to see him simply become the fiend or have matches that have visual effects. I hope they keep the heart of it based in identity and psychology. Who knows though. I'm open as long as it lands well.

          mizfan - As SkitZ says, I think we're slowly moving towards whatever is to come. Some people are complaining about how slowly it's moving, but I quite like that. I'm now praying for Barry Windham as well. Very scared for him. I saw his picture and thought, My gosh, they're using him in the Uncle Howdy angle. But that wasn't it. I hate how old and fragile everything I care about is becoming. There shouldn't be a world where Barry Windham can't do a floatover superplex.

          Button - Thank you for the kind words. It wasn't forced at all. I didn't even get to my original point, which was to explore Uncle Howdy. But, while writing, I realized I don't want to know or guess. I want to just wait and, hopefully, enjoy. The parts you mentioned just came organically while writing, which is a nice perk of writing in the cf.


          • #6
            Wrestling is for nerds.

            Can relate to a fair amount of this. Re-entered therapy because of my cases of avoidant and borderline personality disorders. Not fun, oy.

            Arn Anderson would spinebust Satan if he got the chance. So at least that'll never grow old.


            • #7


              • #8
                Great seeing you pop by! A really well put together piece here, which I've come to expect from you.
                I can relate to the irregular heartbeat and the anxiety that comes along with it, ironically making it that much worse. What stuck with me was if you're not sure if it was in body or in mind because this can be a very stressful situation that can play with your head, even if there's no problem. I went to the doctor a couple times for my heartbeat and did an ECG but yet the doctor says mt heart is normal. That didn't stop the anxiety, though.

                And what more can be said about Wyatt that hasn't been said in the past? This return was a chance for him to redeem himself, but instead it only took a few weeks for the train to sway off the tracks. As creative as he is, he just can't seem to catch a break. I really hate to say it, but the ship may have sailed on Wyatt for good.