(This is #5 of 30 raw essays in 30 days.)
He had failed to play in the NFL, missing the qualifiers by one position. The muscles and smouldering hot looks would have helped his team rake in more money, probably, but they passed on him.
Years passed and he had found a new thing to do. He’d raise his eyebrow, pick people up, and slam them onto the bouncy floor. With fake elbows, strained war cries, and unbelievably long, theatrical pauses, he would rah-rah the crowd and cement his name as the People’s Champion.
They gave him shiny belts and kept him wearing underwear throughout his new thing.
Placing his glasses on the table and picking his nose, Howard thought, What a life! This dude was being paid to stay fit and play in a bouncy castle in front of millions, fake elbowing other contenders to fame and fortune. The underwear thing seems like an acceptable compromise. He would probably take it, he imagined.
I’m probably lying to myself if I said I would, though, he corrected himself as he shifted in his ergonomic chair, which sprung a little too much, sparking a little jolt of pain at the back of his neck.
Hand on his neck, attempting to squeeze the pain away, he floated back into the imagination.
I would later become a star, first by taking minor acting roles to hone my craft, and eventually, by becoming the leading man in fantasy jungle adventure movies and a superhero franchise. Somehow, I would manage to keep my persona as the People’s Champion and start my own brand of Tequilla that made people feel like a man when they drank it. It would sell itself as the liquid from the numerous shots I would drink in front of the camera — always straight from the bottle so the label can be seen — surges through my popping gym veins.
But I don’t even go to the gym. he warps back to his electronically adjustable standing (sitting?) desk, or at least his mind did. His body was static that whole time and could never have left. And I can’t do that eyebrow thing.
What seems more important than going to the gym and learning to raise one’s eyebrow, which could probably be learned, he thought, was the tumultuous lifestyle that would have accompanied a larger-than-life entertainer. It reminds him of a Macklemore song that goes,
Don’t wanna be a dad that’s living in FaceTime
But I’ve got a world to sing to and you at the same time
Cause this guy has kids, right? That must be difficult, travelling the world all the time to film the next blockbuster, NFL emceeing gig, run a small Tequilla empire, and do promotional tours. How does he manage the stress of living large? Perhaps he has found that some of the stress can be outsourced with nannies and a private jet, which calibrates him back to the normal level of stress that regular people have.
Howard instinctively reaches for his tea for a sip. Oooof, it is cold. The chill down his throat tightened his neck muscles, which made him twitch in pain.
He glances at the framed photo of his son on his desk and smiles. Now plugged in, he double-clicks on Growing Up by Macklemore on Spotify and drifts back to work.