Great discovery this week, Rock fans. We know, don’t we, that there are a fair few people out there who are obsessed with The Rock. The world is full of people who wish they could share a few moments with the man himself. Some fanatics even write about him every week in an attempt to befriend him, the losers.
While perusing Dwayne Mr The Rock Johnson’s social media output, as is my weekly wont, I discovered that he had deigned to respond to one craven attempt to get his attention.
Matt D’Avella, a filmmaker in the US, has been trying for a long time to get The Rock to be a guest on his podcast. Every week he releases an episode of The Ground Up Show, ‘a podcast about the journey’, and seems to relish telling people that his overarching ambition is to get the world’s most magnificent and most inspirational man to appear on the show. He has a framed photograph of The Rock, in a bumbag, on a wall, in his home. He only follows The Rock on Twitter. He has devoted a page on his site to the quest.
It’s a quest I can identify with. Before The Rock became my best friend, this is how I felt. Desperate for validation, I wanted only for him to notice me.
This and only this was what I wanted from life: for the largest man on the planet to nod his huge head in simple acknowledgment that I existed. I embarked on this column in the vain hope that he might – MIIIIIIIGHT – one day throw some scraps in my direction.
I never imagined how things would spiral. I could never have dreamed that the pair of us would meet in the flesh twice in the space of 24 hours and come to share a precious bond that would be the envy of so many up and down the land. I could never have dreamed that he would do my own publicity for me.
Now that the two of us are close friends, I am fully aware that The Rock thinks about me at least once a day. This is a good feeling. It is a powerful and nutritious feeling, a feeling that, dare I say it, gives me sustenance and helps me get through the drudgery of the day.
So yes, I can empathise with D’Avella. But the time in my life when I was not on first-name terms with The Rock Mr Dwayne Johnson is a previous era to me. Like World War Two, it is a distant memory, fading into nothingness in the attic of my mind. I was a younger man. I had not seen the world. My eyes, they had not been opened. My soul, it had not yet been enriched.
I see in D’Avella’s eyes some of the hunger that used to drive me; some of the fire that has since dwindled to embers. I see a man who will not be satisfied until he has shaken The Rock’s hand, looked him dead in the eye, and said, “Thank you for agreeing to appear on my weekly podcast, it is called ‘The Ground Up Show’.”
When he does indeed reach these dizzy heights and join me at the top of the mountain, you can rest assured that something will change inside him. Maybe he won’t realise at first. Maybe the giddy pride will allow room for nothing else. But he will have become something; he will have become that most nebulous, most enigmatic of creatures. Matt D’Avella will have become A Man.
Stay hungry, stay humble.
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