There is a compulsion in writers to write.
Last night, when I learned about the sudden death of a friend, Shuhei Aoki, a 39-year-old super wrestling fan from Tokyo, there was never any question of writing something up for the SLAM! Wrestling website. (Here’s the story: Shuhei Aoki was a super fan — and a super friend)
|“The Destroyer” Dick Beyer
jokes around with
Shuhei Aoki in 2011.
Photo by Dave Burzynski
The lead came easy, and it flowed quickly and straightforward from there.
Writing is easier than talking about it.
The moment I started telling my wife about Shuhei’s death, I starting crying. She knew him too — he’d been to our home, and we’d hung out with him at various fan fests and conventions; in fact, looking back, I am pretty sure I first met Shuhei in 2004 at a fan fest in Totawa, NJ, where Meredith and I went down to in a blizzard.
And then this morning, telling my son about Shuhei’s death, I cried again.
Throughout my years running the SLAM! Wrestling website, there are a few deaths that really touched me and the resulting columns were far more personal than would probably be permitted on a website that I didn’t run.
One was woman wrestler Penny Banner, and I can still remember the line I used: “It’s a little tough to write about Penny impartially, so I won’t try.” Here’s that column/obituary: Goodbye Penny Banner; I’ll miss you
The obituary on Jim Melby isn’t as personal as Penny’s piece, but his death hit me hard too — Noted historian James C. Melby dies
But the toughest were the pieces on Dewey Robertson, who achieved fame as The Missing Link. My wife, Meredith, worked with Dewey on his autobiography; well, it’s better to say that she struggled with Dewey and his spotty memory and put together his life story. We experienced all the highs and lows of Dewey through the years; he was bipolar, manic-depressive, off his meds crazy at times.
Yet our lives were far richer for having known him.
Meredith did a personal piece on Dewey that I ran on the site: Author reflects on Dewey Robertson’s many struggles
The fact is that in writing about professional wrestling for almost 30 years, I have made countless friends (and apparently a few enemies). Alas, that means there will be more personal write-ups about people that I know and care about in the future.
At least I have an outlet for those words.