Why We Chose It: "Repent, Macho Man Randy Savage," by Jakob Guanzon
November 19, 2018
I have a general noninterest in sports (with the sole exception of soccer, the best game on the planet! FIGHT ME.). So I never imagined I’d accept a story about Macho Man Randy Savage and the pageantry that is professional wrestling.
But Jakob Guanzon’s “Repent, Macho Man Randy Savage” is less about wrestling or even a wrestler as it is about myth making, starting with its unbelievable opener, Randy Savage’s father Angelo breaking the world sit-up record, which as it turns out is historically true.
Six thousand and thirty-three sit-ups.
What son could live up to such a legacy—such a man?
What son, indeed?
Into the story blasts the answer: Macho Man Randy Savage with his 80s neon energy.
The story moves swiftly from Angelo’s record-breaking feat to his deathbed because, of course, legends die too, like the rest of us.
The intersections of history and mythology, of fact and fiction, carry through the piece in compelling ways. Interestingly, Randy and Macho Man are treated like two different characters. And while the story’s present action largely takes place in Randy’s retirement, we still see flickers of his wrestling alter ego Macho Man.
All the way through, this story has the crazed pulse of professional wrestling, contrasted by the pull of death: that of Angelo, Randy’s dog Hercules, and Miss Elizabeth, whose marriage to Macho Man Randy Savage took place first off camera, then years later in the ring, televised for fans. It is in these ways that the story mimics the line that professional wrestling walks between what’s real and what is performance, a topic I’m drawn to given this reality TV world we live in.