From the start of Pyro and Ballyhoo, and my official introduction into Social Media a few years ago, my mission statement was simple, “There is no difference between you and me. We are all God’s people, we were all created equal. What’s different are our gifts and our responsibilities and our contributions to His kingdom.” I live my life trying to be respectful to others. Do I fall short at times—there is absolutely NO DOUBT that I do. Being flawed, I have an Italian temper and at times I allow that to get away from me. But, there is one thing I can tell you for certain . . . I have never disrespected those who are older and wiser than I . . . my elders.
That was instilled in me by my parents at a very early age. You respected your elders, you never spoke back NO MATTER WHAT. If, by chance you did, then the fear of God himself was immediately evoked upon you. Growing up, I always learned from my elders. To this day, my late Grandfather remains one of my idols. When he spoke of the “old days”, I sat on the edge of my seat, just wanting to know everything about him that I possibly could. Now, with my father being 87 in January, many of our conversation surround him as a child, growing up in Brooklyn, making wine for his father in the basement, the “Shot Heard Around the World”. Man, I just love that shit. I could listen to it all day long.
As I became older, I always looked up to my elders. Teachers, my Student Newspaper Advisor, Howard Weiner, who taught me everything about selling at CBS Publishing. I don’t know, man, I was a sponge–I just wanted to learn from them. That never changed for me, and became even more prominent when I got into the wrestling business. My first interview ever was the late, great Captain Lou Albano–that was by purpose. I got to shake the hand of Ernie Ladd, hear Chief Jay Strongbow and Pat Patterson lay out matches, ride in a car with the likes of an Arn Anderson, or a Dutch Mantell. I was an absolute sponge–soaking in every word. To be honest, I also listened and learned from some who I didn’t even particularly like. Why? Because perhaps they had some knowledge that could help me grow as a person.
Last night, I literally had a twenty-something tell me, “I hate your idea. It’s horrible.” Fact is–only met the person two days earlier. As I stood there–I’m not going to lie–absolutely hurt, I came to the realization that I just don’t belong in this world any more. A world where everybody disrespects everybody else no matter WHO they are. It’s not OK with me. It shouldn’t be. It is leading to the absolute downfall of our country. Currently, I’m trying to get into radio in Denver here. Peter Boyles, a legend behind the mic, has taken me under his wing—you’re right–WHY?!!! Peter is 74. A couple of days a week, I drive down to his studio, about an hour away, and I just listen and learn. Between breaks he stops and teaches me, and I sit there and write down every word that comes out of his mouth. Why? It’s real simple, because Peter KNOWS and I don’t. I am absolutely thankful that he is taking the time with ME to pass along his decades and decades of knowledge of the radio world.
As I was getting disrespected last night, all I could think about was Peter Boyle. Him, trying to teach me, help me, and me turning around and telling him, “Peter . . . you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Man, I just couldn’t even imagine. But, with a giant assist from social media, that’s what our society has become today. I can’t tell you how many people on twitter disrespect me on a daily basis, and I’m talking people who don’t know me, don’t know my upbringing, don’t know my wife, kids, etc. And, God only knows how many are in their 20s . . . or younger. What happened? Seriously, what happened? When was it OK to start disrespecting those who have far more experience and knowledge than you? How do you grow as a person if you don’t want to hear what those people say? If you already know more at half their age? I saw this coming in TNA a decade ago, when the young, brash talent coming in knew more than Vince Russo ever did . . . on their very first day.
At times . . . I just don’t want to be here. It’s an embarrassment. I long to be with those who crafted Vince Russo into being a respectful, honorable young man. I miss their wisdom. I miss their knowledge. This shit ain’t ever going to change. It’s here, and it’s here to stay. Thank God, I’ll be with Him when it all blows up in their faces. And, yes, the Italian in me will be laughing at them from high, high above.