It feels like dying.
I am everything and I am nothing. I am no one. I am you. I do not exist because I am everywhere. But I’m nowhere. And I’m rambling. I can’t describe this and I’m not going to keep trying. I’m just going to write until I stop.
I have seen everything.
And in it, I did not exist.
I am a speck. A meaningless series of particles arranged into a lump of skin and bones that is in love with his own knees. How do I walk out of this room and smash my skin and bones against another man’s skin and bones, over a piece of dead cow skin draped in gold? Does that even make sense? What the fuck am I doing with my life? I make imaginary money for hurting other human beings, and the better I am at hurting them, the more money I make. The more cows I collect, the bigger the imaginary checks get. A check is a piece of dead tree with numbers written on it, and if you take it to one of the imaginary money forts, they’ll give you a different colored paper that you can use to buy things.
It doesn’t make sense.
None of this makes any sense.
I do it because it makes me feel good. But that’s just chemicals. Dopamine. Serotonin. Processes and substances released by my brain that encourage me to do more of those things. It’s like this weird, self-perpetuating machine that exists only to exist. None of this means anything. We all have this one life from birth until our particles stop fucking moving, and we’re all wasting it. And even now, I’m projecting, because I don’t know if you’re wasting it. Maybe you’re fulfilled. Maybe you’re happy. Maybe you’re a good person. But I’m not a good person.
I’m a bad person.
I knew that. I think everyone knew that. But I’ve never said it out loud, I guess. I’ve danced around it for my whole life, I think. “Oh, I’m the bad guy. Oh, I’m a piece of shit.” No, a bad guy is a wrestling persona. Guys who grab a handful of tights when the referee isn’t looking. A piece of shit is a guy who cancels his Uber ride ten feet from the destination so that he doesn’t have to pay for it. I’m not just a bad guy. I’m not just a piece of shit. I’m a bad person.
I’m a bad person.
I’m trying to think of a time that I was ever a good person. Is this a choice I made at some point? If I could think back far enough, could I pinpoint a moment that everything changed? I’ve had a lot of head trauma over the years… done a lot of drugs… my memory isn’t what it used to be, but try as I might, I can’t ever think of a time that I wasn’t a terrible fucking monster of a human. Not Mike Best, the wrestler. Michael Lee Best, the person. And it isn’t just for the reasons that you know about, either. It isn’t just because I’m a murderer. It isn’t just because I’m a liar, and a cheater, and a fucking sneak. It isn’t because of anything that you’ve ever seen me do with your eyes, or heard about in passing.
It’s at my absolute rotten core.
I don’t deserve… any of this.
When I was sixteen years old, I stole two hundred dollars out of my stepfather’s briefcase while he was sleeping. He owned a bar, and every night, he brought the deposit bag home and it was always tucked away in that briefcase. The combination was literally “111”, it wasn’t hard to figure out. And one night, I snuck downstairs, and I pocketed two hundred bucks. Don’t remember what I spent it on. Don’t remember why I took it. But the next day, when it came up missing, he looked me in the face and he asked me if I stole money from him.
I swore on my life that I didn’t.
I looked him deep in the eyes, and I questioned why he’d even accuse me of something like that. After all, if there has ever been one thing I was better at in the world than being a piece of shit, it was being adept at lying about it. I turned the argument on him– accused him of not trusting me, of never properly bonding with me and accepting me as his child. Reminded him that he employed a guy who had previously spent time in jail, so why was he coming at his stepson like this without even checking with the fucking criminal? I didn’t even need the money, and if I’d asked for it, he’d have probably just given it to me. But I yelled and I screamed and I fought, all the while knowing that two hundred dollars that didn’t belong to me was sitting in the back of a closet upstairs, just waiting for me to collect it.
His employee’s name was Adam.
He got fired, three days later.
My stepdad gave him an opportunity to confess. Told him that no one else in the world had access to that deposit bag, but that if he’d needed money, he just needed to ask. Told him to just fess up, and they could get past it like nothing had ever happened. Adam swore up and down to him that he didn’t take the money. That he’d never betray my stepfather’s trust, after he took a chance and hired him in the first place.
Guy had two kids.
Never heard about him again.
I hadn’t thought about that in a very long time. Never crossed my mind. The sad truth is that on the spectrum of terrible things I’ve done in my life, it barely rates. Just a weird childhood memory that stumbled into my lap, as I sit here in the dark. My dumbass never considered how hard it would be to write in this notebook with no light, but I managed to get some in front under the door, just enough to scribble down my thoughts. I don’t know– maybe someone else might read that and think that it was just a shitty kid doing shitty kid shit, but I don’t think it is. I think it was just one of the first visible symptoms of the larger disease.
I think I’m a fucking lemon.
No, not a lemon.
That takes the responsibility away from me. Implies that I had no control. That I was just born that way. But I wasn’t. At some point in my life– at many points in my life, I’ve had the opportunity to choose the right path, and I have always chosen the wrong one. Every single time. You could set your watch to it. I am such an undeniably, unapologetically selfish person that it’s almost hard to truly put it into words. I couldn’t tell you the last time I was faithful in a relationship. The last time I did something for someone that didn’t somehow benefit me. The last time that I didn’t just lie and gaslight myself out of trouble, rather than confess and face the consequences of my own actions. And all the while, I’ve painted this victim colored mask over my face, and pretended that things just… happen to me.
Nothing has ever just happened to me.
I killed Maximilian Kael. I did it. With my hands. It doesn’t matter how he died, it was my fault in the end. I cared more about the World Championship than I cared if my brother lived or died. Putting that down on paper doesn’t absolve me of anything, but it’s time that I finally did it. I came out on television a week later, and I cried. I said that I missed him. I said that I regretted it. And I was lying. I didn’t even know that I was lying, but I was lying. That’s how deeply ingrained this has become in me at this point… I don’t know who I’m gaslighting harder. You…
For the last couple of months, I thought that I was on a journey of self improvement. But I’ve seen it now. I’ve seen everything. I saw it at the speed of light, and I expanded outward and upward and outward and upward into the light until I was nothing. Until I was so large and so high that I was everything. And I looked down and I saw the smallest man that I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I thought he must be miles away. That I must have travelled so far. But he was standing right in front of me. Right there, in my face. He was no one, and he was everyone, and I was no one, and I was everything, and we were the same.
He was me.
The smallest man I’ve ever seen.
Barely a man at all.
Apologies are worth nothing. They’re meaningless mouth sounds that we made up, to express that we wish we hadn’t done something that we already did. But we did it. We made choices. I made choices. There is no changing them or fixing them or making them better, that whole old chestnut about a shattered vase never being glued back to perfection. The relationships and the people I have destroyed are never coming back, nor should they. I would say “the people that I love”, but in truth, I don’t know that I have ever truly understood or felt the emotion of love. Or what that even means. I told my father that I loved him, and that I loved HOW, and then I left him to mind the ship while I sat in my sweatpants and played Playstation, making excuses all the while for my lack of fucking engagement. I told my brother that I loved him, and then I watched him die with the HOW World Championship in my lap. I told Cecilworth Farthington that I loved him, and then… I guess I just loved being a shitty bully more than I loved my best friend in the entire world.
Apologies mean nothing.
Not when you have lived your life in a pattern of complete and total disregard for those around you. I have made so many mistakes, and gone down the wrong road so many times, and what do I have to show for it? I’ve won the HOW World Championship ten times. Eight ICON Titles. Four LSD, four HOFC, a couple of Tag Team Titles. I’m in the Hall of Fame of what I consider to be the greatest wrestling company of the world. And I have done all of it alone. Not because it was a point of pride, but because I am an insufferable, intolerable, immeasurably bad person, and no one wants to be around me. Maybe that’s why I keep coming back out of retirement. Maybe that’s why I can’t walk away. Maybe that’s why I’m so afraid of being forgotten.
Because everyone wishes they could just forget me.
Because I deserve to be forgotten.
I’m not looking for anyone’s sympathy. That’s not what this is about. If anyone ever reads it, write it off as a man working some shit out on paper, because that’s all that it is. I thought that a vape pen full of drugs was going to fix all of my problems, but what it truly did was make me realize what the problem has been all along: it’s me. It’s just me. And I wish this was the part where I say that I’m going to turn it all around and become something better, but I don’t know how. I don’t even know if I can. I’m almost thirty seven years old, and I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t know if a sincerely bad person can just decide to be a good one. I don’t know what that looks like.
I don’t know anything.
As I sit here, writing in the dim crack of a bolted door, what lies behind me can only be described as chaos. Broken glass. Torn posters. Destroyed furniture. My own personal stages of grief, as I mourn a life that could have been. I wonder what I would have been like, if I’d gone a different path. Maybe I could have been the HVAC guy, and maybe he’s a better person than maybe. Definitely a better person than me. But that’s just the self loathing. That’s just the self-victimization again, oh, poor me. Even though I’m aware of my own cycle of abuse, it doesn’t make it any easier to stop slipping right back into it. I want you to feel sorry for me. I want you to feel sympathy, even though I’ve never felt an ounce of empathy in my fucking life. I think ahead to the show… the one happening in just a few days.
What is that going to look like?
It’s just meaningless cow skin. Gold plates. An inscription on the front, with the mouth sound that tells me that someone is talking to me. It shouldn’t mean anything. I should just be able to walk away from it, knowing that it might be the first positive step that I’ve ever taken in my life. But even as I sit here in the dark, having seen the entire universe for what it is, I can’t help but crave that fucking cow skin. I want to wear it around my waist. I want to hold it in my hands. It is absolutely existentially meaningless, but I’m the only person in history to hold that existentially meaningless cumberbund ten fucking times, and I want to hold it at least one more time before I’m in the fucking dirt. Before my particles stop moving. Before I cease to exist, any more so than I already do.
I want to be better.
I swear to God, I do.
Don’t believe me. Please don’t believe me. Maybe I’m lying. I’m probably lying. In six months, I might be doing laced cocaine off the ass of a Chicago stripper, and they’ll find me dead in an alleyway. The funeral will be intimate, which is a nice way of saying that no one will fucking show up. So don’t fucking trust me, because I have never been a trustworthy human in the history of all my moving particles, so I don’t think I’ve given you any reason to believe me now. But for whatever it is worth, to whoever might be listening, right now, I sincerely believe that I mean it. I want to be better. I just don’t know how. I guess I’m going to start this weekend. I’m going to start against Conor. I’m going to do the best I can.
I think that Conor is a good person.
I think that’s held him back a lot.
And I think he knows that.
I think that’s what makes him a good person in the first place. Knowing that he could do better if he was a bad person, but choosing to do good anyway. I remember when Conor was trying to do bad guy stuff, and we were always cringing about it– you could just tell that there was a nice fucking dude underneath all of it. It’s kind of like Ward. Just can’t buy the guy doing his whole “I’m a creep” schtick. Because I know what evil looks like, and he’s not it. I’ve spent so much of my career making jokes about Jesus and calling myself the Son of God, but maybe that’s the key to all of this. Maybe I shouldn’t be asking myself what Jesus would do. Maybe I should ask myself what Conor would do.
So what would Conor do?
I fucking hate how much I respect that kid. He really is the reason that I came back. I really do fucking hate that he won the World Title, because I thought we were making progress. But one booked title match and a vape full of DMT later and I realize that I was wrong. I’ve made no real progress. Maybe I’ve started down the right road, but I’m absolutely nowhere near my final destination. So maybe it’s time to follow his lead. Maybe it’s time to figure out what he’d do, in my position. I’m gonna fight him this weekend, and fuck do I want to beat him, but no matter what happens… I think maybe it’s time that I stopped trying to lead, and learned how to follow.
Conor, if you ever stumble upon this fucking rambling mess?
I’m glad you’re here.
I’m glad you’re the champion.
And so this is my first step on the journey. My first real attempt to take the right path. As much as I don’t even know how to formulate the words that I’m about to say, I’m going to try to say them: Win or lose, I respect the fuck out of you. I like you. I think that you are the future of this company, and while I desperately want to beat you, I am going to do everything in my power not to need to beat you. When it’s over, if your hand is the one held high, and you walk away with those titles, Conor, I want to shake your hand. I want to do this fair. I want to do it clean.
I want to do it the way you’d do it.
I’m going to try, Conor.
I’m a bad fucking person.
But I’m going to try.