Theory: The Rock is a geek. I know, I know. I realise that you reacted to that preposterous opening gambit by saying, “The Rock? A geek? No sir, no sir, not my Rock.” But I’m not sure you’ll be so incredulous once you realise that The Rock is a geek.
Sure, I get it. It flies in the face of common sense. I feel your reluctance pulsing through the screen. Can The Rock, a sexy man who could lift you above his head, throw you into a towering pile of his own money, and then turn on his heel to make love to his glamorous wife, truly be a geek?
Initially I used the word ‘nerd’ in place of the word ‘geek’ because it is a more comical and inflammatory word; a syllable packed with disdain. Having looked up both definitions, however, I realise how apposite ‘geek’ is, and how hopelessly inaccurate ‘nerd’ would have been. The definition of a nerd is ‘a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious’. Even The Rock’s biggest hater [Stone Cold Steve Austin!!!!!!] would not accuse him of having his nose stuck in a textbook or being unable to strike up a conversation with a taciturn stranger. Turn to ‘geek’, however, and the penny drops.
Urban Dictionary, the only dictionary worth consulting if the truth is what you seek, tells us that geeks are ‘the people you pick on in high school and wind up working for as an adult’. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was picked on in high school; and now, by paying to see him in films and watching him on TV, are his bullies not, in a very real sense, working for him as adults?
Furthermore, my friends, the other indisputable character trait of a geek is an unabashed enthusiasm for their passions. When a geek likes something, they go hell for leather to make sure they batter you over the head with that fact. Brad Pitt, for example, is not a geek. Brad Pitt is not on social media; he does not babble about how proud he is of his latest blockbuster; he does not make nine Instagram videos in which he tells different parts of the world how grateful he is that they went to the cinema.
You know who does do these things? The Rock does these things. He doesn’t just try hard, he likes people to know that he is always trying hard. Cool people – Rihanna, Brad Pitt, Frank Ocean – don’t like to give off this impression.
My suspicions were first aroused when I watched this video of The Rock giving a message about Emily Blunt after she joined him on some new Disney project called Jungle Cruise. Half-way through his monologue to camera, The Rock turns away and has a conversation with an imaginary second party. “Oh, by the way, I know we closed Emily’s contract. There’s an addendum in the contract, right, that states she has to laugh at all my cheesy-ass jokes? And of course she knows that I like to work out and drink a lot of tequila. Cool with that, right? Aw great. We’re gonna get along wonderfully… Sorry about that, it’s President Obama. He’s excited.”
This could only have been carried out by a geek. Why… why would Barack Obama be next to The Rock as he filmed an Instagram video about Emily Blunt? Why would Barack Obama have any say whatsoever about the details of a contract for a Disney family film? And why, if Barack Obama were indeed there and excited about the news, would The Rock not be filming him as well? Truly strange.
Since watching this video, I have felt the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon kick in. I’ve realised that The Rock definitely is a geek. His adorable piano foot-playing; the slightly awkward way in which he laughs slightly too heartily at his own jokes, alone in a faceless gym; the fact that he thinks nothing of posting eight separate times in eight days about his latest film. The man’s a geek. The man’s a geek through and through.
It is no exaggeration to say that this will colour the way I see his actions from this point on. This has humanised him. The Rock is not cool; The Rock simply wants to be liked. He desperately wants to be liked. He wants you to like the things he likes. He wants you to be moved by his passion. He pours hours and hours into a quest to impress. “Love me,” says The Rock. “And love the things I love.”
Stay hungry, stay humble.
(Illustration: Dan Evans)