It used to be that Mickey Rourke’s character in “The Wrestler” was inspirational for the sort of fool who did what his high school guidance counselor advised. That is he followed his dream. The issue is everyone entering the job market ought to pay close heed to the effort one man made to continue to live his dream…and work.
Rourke plays Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson, a world champion professional wrestler from the 1980s. The Ram drives a beat up van, lives in a single-wide trailer when he can make rent and has a hard time with a regular work schedule because of his continued need/want to wrestle on the weekends. He is ridiculed by those on the Monday-Friday scene for continuing to pursue his once realized dream of performing on his profession’s brightest stage. Alternatively, on the weekend he is revered by those who aspire to attain the status that he once had and reputation that he continues to enjoy.
The Ram isn’t an accessible character for many in the traditional work-a-day world. In the wake of his pursued dream he has a terrorized relationship with an estranged daughter. He has little of monetary value to show for his lifetime of work and sacrifice. Indeed, most sensible professionals would expect anyone who has put forth that kind of dedication to a career would expect to see long-term and sustainable gains or a new career path eventually being chosen.
But to those who have undergone such sacrifices to similarly realize dreams, Rourke’s portrayal not only makes perfect sense, but also views like a biography. Watching The Ram march through tunnels backstage en route to a growing din and awaiting match you can easily imagine the actor enjoying a similar thrill before the curtain rises over his weekend battlefield.
Similarly, when Randy Robinson politely asks for extended hours at work so long as they don’t interfere with his weekend wrestling, you can easily imagine the same thespian similarly struggling to find more hours to wait tables so long as they don’t keep him from the stage.
The Ram’s depiction is that of the artist’s traditional career path. He portrays what those who have striven to make a living selling their gifts have undertaken to ensure that they continue to eat and remain separated from the elements as they bide time enough for their talents to assume the breadwinning responsibilities. He is shining as the book-writing school teacher, the record store song-writer, the day care model.
But as employment figures continue to trickle in with waning momentum (most recently a fudged 8.3% of the population is officially unemployed), as more college students graduate indebted with student loans and the privilege of moving back in with their parents, as those same graduates find jobs out of school waiting tables or manning parking garages we are finding that it is those who aspire to work in their trained field who should find inspiration in Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson.
Rather than The Ram’s triumphant march to a waiting crowd, college graduates need to familiarize themselves with a similar walk Randy made to work. This also spun through the bowels of professional structure. Costumed with jeans and a hairnet The Ram wound his way to his professional destination, as anticipation grew and the sound of the floor groaned louder. But this time he was spit up behind a deli counter with only obligation awaiting him.
This is the reality for today’s young job seekers. There is now competition for everything up to and including teaching. Suddenly it isn’t only the talented that require patience while hoping for luck while trying to morph ability into success. But now patience and luck is a prerequisite for all success.
Contact DS Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org