What are your career options when you are seven feet tall? A tall writer meets a tall wrestler:
Paul Wight, bless him, seems to think of his massive size as a gift from God, not a devil’s bargain. There was a moment earlier this year when Wight was rumored to be fighting Shaq at this year’s Wrestlemania. If that had happened, it would’ve been the collision of the two most genially cartoonish giants in sports, the two guys who come off most like enormous eight-year-olds. I wanted to talk to Wight for this piece because, among the giants I’ve seen on TV, he seems the least tortured by his height. After all, he’s voluntarily spent the last 17 years in a grandly ridiculous, mortally dangerous line of work — strapping on his comic-book caveman singlet and pretending to fight hulking musclemen across the globe, risking crippling injury every time he lets one of them lift him.
There are plenty of reasons why I could never do what Wight does. Even though we’re nearly the same height, he weighs more than two of me. And the two afternoons I spent in a pro-wrestling training ring a decade ago taught me how much it hurts to wake up the morning after you’ve been learning to theatrically flop on canvas. But mostly, I’ve never been able to imagine performing my height. I’ve gotten used to people staring at me, but I’ve never learned to like it. I played basketball in high school, but I sucked at it, and hated sucking at it. I never bothered to learn how to play the game effectively beyond the obvious lumbering rebounds and shot-blocks. I fouled out of games on purpose if I was in a bad mood. I told myself that I wanted to do something with my brain and not my body, like that was even my choice to make, or like there was any real divide. So now I’m a writer, and I spend entire days living in my own house, only leaving to take my dog on walks or to take my kid to the park. Truthfully, I was too lazy and too self-conscious to ever do jack shit athletically. I’m a writer because it’s what I’ve always wanted to be, but god knows my height probably had something to do with that desire. Pro wrestling is pretty much the opposite of anything I could ever do. I am not like Paul Wight.