What would you do if you wanted to sleep in but “The Rock” wouldn’t let you?
There’s a “reality” TV show I surfed into the other day called “Wake Up Call.” In the show, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shows up in people's dead-end lives with a camera crew and proceeds to whip them into shape and get them back on their feet.
For those of you who only watch independent films and dark, critically acclaimed dramas that never include explosions, “The Rock” is a muscular, bald-headed guy who used to be a professional wrestler but has gone on to become an action movie hero. He’s in at least one of the 20 “Fast and the Furious” movies and in films like “GI Joe,” “The Scorpion King” and the critically acclaimed “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”
I like him because he looks a lot like me.
I’ve only seen 1.5 episodes of this new show, but it appears he is the same tough-but-kind character he usually plays in the movies. He’s strong, he’s unshakable, he’s brave and, for some unknown reason, he is treating you like a Navy SEAL from a previous movie who once saved his life. He’s qualified to do this because of what he’s done with his own life, apparently, and, I’ve got to think, because of what he’s done on the big screen. Somehow he has convinced us that he is “The Rock” on or off the big screen.
I think this is fascinating, and I’m OK with it because I’d like to believe that he would be my best friend if he only knew me better. And he would help me get in shape, take revenge on past bully bosses and get a new car that is not a station wagon. And yet, I can’t shake this nagging feeling that he’s not real. In real life, is he really this invincible guy that could take out Iran’s nuclear program and make all the Republican candidates wait a year to start campaigning just by force of character? If so, why doesn’t he do that for all of us?
I love the Rocky movies. And yet I know I would have mixed emotions if Sylvester Stallone showed up on my doorstep wearing a dirty sweatshirt with a camera crew in tow, in character, as Rocky.
“Yo, Steve, your wife asked me to come here and, you know, fix your head and teach you to do one-armed pushups,” he might say. “You know, if you don’t mind me doing that too much.”
At first it would be cool, but I’m sure it would get very uncomfortable fast. I would get home at the end of a long day and prepare my dinner — which would NOT include a glass of raw eggs — and get ready to relax by eating pizza and watching TV.
He’d be there standing next to me wearing those fingerless gloves, throwing that ball against our dining room wall and he would say, “Hey, you know, I ain’t no genius or nothin’ like that, but wouldn’t it be better now if you went for a run down along the railroad tracks? I mean, Mickey would have never let me eat this stuff.”
Now, if you could hang out with the Bruce Willis “Die Hard” character, John McClane, you could eat pizza, Cheetos and even smoke a cigar. But he’d also have you crawling through air ducts, getting blasted off your feet in explosions and taping guns to your bare back.
You could end up covered in spiders or encased in carbonite if you hung out with one of the characters Harrison Ford plays. Just who do you respect enough that they could give you a “wake up call”?
I like to be really clean, efficient and organized, but there aren’t that many film role models I can turn to for inspiration when it comes to time management. Action heroes don’t make lists. That’s just a truth I’ve learned to accept.
As long as we are pretending movie action heroes are real, maybe a better reality show would be to have me helping them fix their lives. I could ask them simple questions like:
“John, can you think of a way to deal with this problem without blowing it up? I know they are terrorists but if you invested a little effort in a diplomatic email you might win them over to your point of view without killing them. Let’s come up with some talking points.”
“Rocky, you’re getting killed out there! He’s strong but you’re better than he is! Let’s make a list on your arm of all the reasons why you are a better fighter than Clubber Lang that you can take with you into the third round.”
“Indiana, let’s think this through before you go in that cave. What will you do if the walls start shooting out blow darts? Did you check to see if there are any French archaeologists hiding in the bushes who might just take your treasure after you risk your life to grab it? Do you even have your vision statement done yet?”
Cue announcer: There was no plan. There were no priorities. There was no direction until he came along. “Indiana Jones and the List Crusade.”
Planning to come to a theater near you soon.
Steve Eaton lives in Logan, Utah, where he works for a real company called Muscle Wall. He can be reached at Eatonnews@gmail.com.