Hanging With The Hangman

Sunday December 26th, 2010 – Tampa, FL

Holiday over, back to work. These cruise ship people don’t mess around. We’re back in port for a few hours while they clean the ship and bring on a new load of passengers, then it’s right back out to sea again. It’s like a giant NASCAR crew the way they do it so fast.

I have the option of getting off the ship or not while it’s being cleaned, and today I took advantage of it. There’s a fantastic aquarium right across the street and admission is half price for cruise ship employees. I’d been meaning to check it out and today was the day.

What a fantastic attraction. I’d have gotten a bargain at full price. There were all kinds of tanks filled with odd sea creatures and shows featuring interesting facts about animals of all kinds. Places like this are what makes life on the road worthwhile. I’m glad I went.

I also had a chance to hang out for a couple of hours and watch some football with my old professional wrestler friend from Milwaukee Mike Moran, aka The Texas Hangman. I’ve known Mike forever, and he moved to Tampa about ten years ago. I hadn’t seen him in a while, and it worked out he was available today. It was great to catch up with him.

It’s funny how he came up with his wrestling name. He’d never been to Texas in his life but he didn’t think ‘Wisconsin Hangman’ sounded mean enough. Rhode Island Hangman would sound almost sissified. If one is to be called a Hangman, Texas is the ideal home.

Across the street from the aquarium and right next to where the ship docks is a complex with some movie theatres, shops, bars and restaurants. There’s a Hooters there and what’s better on a Sunday afternoon than a plate of wings, NFL football and chicks in hot pants?

Mike’s doing really well down here and still wrestles once in a while for fun. He has his own appraisal business and is always busy. He’s fit and tan and in great shape. We agreed both of us needed to leave Milwaukee, and we’re glad we did. But – it’ll always be home.

It’s funny how those home roots grow so deep – especially in Milwaukee. We could live away from it for years and years, but in two seconds we’re right back again, talking about things we did years ago. That’s why I think the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show will have such a devoted following. Milwaukee has an undeniable identity, warts and all, and we lived it.

We were two wide eyed punk kids from Milwaukee with enormous dreams, and both of us went out and chased them. Maybe we didn’t become huge stars, but we sure did better than 99.999% of anyone else who didn’t have the guts to try. Mike has slugged it out like I have, and I totally respect him. Both of us hung in there when times got the toughest.

Now we’re getting older, and it was fun to look back at our lives. We’re both a lot more mature, as age adds perspective. We’ve survived and more, even when most others didn’t think we had a shot. We proved everyone wrong, and that’s a super feeling of satisfaction. Hanging with Hangman is always a treat. The time passed too quickly, just like our lives.


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