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Merchandise Me
October 15, 2004

by Denny Burkholder
Courtesy of WrestleLine.com


If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend checking out the documentary Supersize Me, especially if you have a weakness for fast food. The documentary is based on one man's experiment to prove just how damaging an all-fast food diet is to a person's body.
Knowing it would send his health into a downward spiral, a young and physically fit man embarked on a 30-day experiment, where he would eat three square meals a day at McDonald's. The rules were simple: ALL McDonald's food, and ONLY McDonald's food, every day for 30 days. Three full meals per day - meaning main dish (usually a sandwich), 

side dish (usually fries), and a drink. He had to eat everything on the McDonald's menu at least once - which meant that, on occasion, he had to order dessert, but he also had a chance to eat salad on certain days. The other rule: no "supersizing" unless the person taking his order asked him to, but ALWAYS supersize if they remembered to up-sell him.

I won't spoil it for you, but suffice to say that the mental, physical and emotional impacts of the experiment were far greater than you might have expected.

What does this have to do with wrestling? Nothing really. But it does make me wonder...

What if I went a full 30 days, engrossing myself in wrestling merchandise the entire time? What if I wore nothing but wrestling-themed clothes, watched nothing but wrestling on DVD or VHS, and surfed nothing but pro wrestling web sites? What if I did everything in my power to endulge in the crap the wrestling industry sells us? Would the impact be as large and destructive as the McDonald's experiment?

I'm game. Hey Vinnie Mac... merchandise me.

NOTE: The following is a satire. Denny Burkholder DID NOT actually follow through with this experiment, nor should any right-minded human being. But if he DID, we think it might have gone something like this.


Day 1: It's the first day, and I'm in great spirits. I watched the Ultimate Ric Flair Collection on DVD this morning to kick things off. Wore my old school Hulkamania T-shirt with the pre-torn holes in the back (it's Sunday, my contact with the rest of society will be limited). Read Mick Foley's "Have a Nice Day" for the sixth time this afternoon. The man's got a sharp wit! Tonight, I plan to check in with Scaia's web site and see what the Torch has going on, and hit the sack. All in all, a great day for a wrestling fan!

Day 2: Not a good day at the office. The boss informed me that my "YOU BRING THE ASS, I'LL BRING THE WHUPPIN!" t-shirt wasn't considered "business casual" attire. I got even more dirty looks at the supermarket after work. The gas station was downright scary... the guy behind the counter apparently interpreted that slogan as a challenge, and asked me to meet him at a place called "Big Ethel's" after midnight. Tonight, I watched every Jake "The Snake" Roberts match in my collection to help me vent my frustrations about work. I think I had his entire final-minute moveset memorized by 8:30 p.m. Arm-wringer, clothesline, finger twirl, DDT, pinfall, dump Damien on the victim, thank you, drive through. I hit the sack, without even considering a trip to Big Ethel's.

Day 3: I got very little sleep last night... Jake Roberts' matches kept running through my head, and every time he hit the DDT I woke up in a pool of sweat. Drank a little coffee ("WWF Attitude" coffee mug) to perk up. I threw on my John Cena "You Can't See Me" t-shirt for work. Got my second lecture on dress code, and I think the third strike will spell the end of my employment. Oh well, the experiment must go on... but Jesus, everywhere I go, I can't get Jake the Snake's signature moves out of my head. This could make me a danger to society, if it continues.

Day 4: Forty-five minutes of sleep last night. I watched the Chris Benoit DVD set right before bed. Unfortunately, it did not help the Jake Roberts obsession. The boss called me into his office first thing. Today's shirt: "DIESEL POWER." Unfortunately, my boss said they had to let me go. He extended his arm for a handshake. I saw my chance. Short-arm clothesline, finger twirl, DDT, pinfall. I win! YOU CAN'T FIRE THE SNAKE, MO FO! I didn't have a boa constrictor, so I dumped a bottle of Snapple on him. Evening entertainment: the Keith rant archives.

Day 5: I've been arrested. I guess "Jake Roberts Justice" is considered assault and battery in the so-called real world. Hmpf.
Evening update: When I got to jail, I freaked out. How can I continue the experiment while I'm locked in the pokey? A mysterious benefactor was bailing me out the next day, but I had no overnight wrestling merchandise. I begged the guard on duty for one of those cool orange jumpsuits the hardcore criminals wear. I made due by putting the jumpsuit on and emulating Nailz, gripping the bars and gritting my teeth all night and muttering threats about the "Bossman" until my release.

Day 6: Slept like a baby. The Jake Roberts obsession seems to be gone, which is good. Got bored in the afternoon (no job), so I opened all the doors & windows of my house and blared "I'm An Ass Man" on loop for five hours, drawing a small crowd. I mooned them. I think one kid retaliated with a crotch chop. His mother slapped him. I mooned her, too. Good times... it's fun not having to go to work!

Day 7: KILLER headache today. Watched a bunch of old school AWA footage this morning. Ran a Google search on midget wrestling and read everything there was to know about it. I'm not losing my hunger for wrestling knowledge... actually, it's getting stronger. It's like an addiction. Stayed up until 4 a.m. playing solitaire with a pack of old WWF playing cards.


Day 8: Second day in a row with a terrible headache. I've concluded it's because when I sleep, I am not consuming any pro wrestling, and I'm so addicted that I need it at all hours. Played the old WrestleMania VCR board game by myself for a few hours. Memorized the lyrics to 35 different John Cena freestyles.

Day 9: OK, I woke up this morning to find out the Iron Sheik pawn of the VCR WrestleMania game had its cardboard head mysteriously torn off. I'm not pointing any fingers here, but Santana, I think you owe us all an apology. Especially Volkoff.

Day 10: The funeral for the cardboard Iron Sheik pawn was sparsely attended. I think it's unfortunate that the LJN figures were so stuck up that they blew off the invitation. Heartless and stubborn. I'm disappointed in all of them.
Evening update: Had a doctor's appointment. It went well... he only said two negative things, which is not too shabby. He said that I was pretty close to certifiable insanity on account of the wrestling binge, and that I looked like a fat man-hooker in this overstretched Torrie Wilson baby tee. Lay off me, it was laundry day.

Day 11: Listened to the "Piledriver" wrestling album on continuous loop all day. Spent the evening hours reading old issues of WOW Magazine and practicing Randy Savage's "Oooh Yeah!" growl until my tonsils bled.

Day 12: Arranged my wrestling magazine collection on the front lawn to read "SUCK IT" in giant letters. Watched the Ultimate Ric Flair Collection one more time. You know, I'm starting to really like this guy.

Day 13: Did something kind for my next door neighbor today. I set up a pyro show and a sound system at his front door. When he got home from work, he flipped on the light switch, and BOOM! Red fire shot into the sky from his potted plants and Kane's theme song started up. I thought it was cool. Neighborhood watch wasn't very happy with me. I had to clean it up afterward.

Day 14: Morning: Watched all the extras on the Ric Flair DVD set seven times. You know, Ric Flair and I have a lot in common. Went outside to bring in the magazine collection from the lawn... it's been two days, I think I got my point across.
Evening update:
Q: How much Hulk Hogan's PastaMania can one man eat in one hour?
A: Sixteen bowls. Yep. INCLUDING the bowls. Who's the man? (burp) "I got something deep inside of me / ravioli is the thing that keeps us free!"


Day 15: I ripped up my entire collection of Apter mags, event programs, and WWF publications into small bits of scrap paper. I used the scraps to make paper mache. I used the paper mache to erect an 8-foot statue of Ric Flair in my den. That. Is. Awesome.

Day 16: Short update today, in a bit of a rush. Feeling OK, but I have a lot to do. There's a 10 a.m. showing of ECW Hardcore Heaven '99 in my living room, followed by a Roddy Piper marathon. I'll have to be quick if I'm gonna fit all of that in before the 7 p.m. worship service at the feet of the paper mache Ric Flair shrine.

Day 17: You know, I can forgive the LJN Corporal Kirchner action figure for missing the cardboard Iron Sheik's memorial service. After all, the man's head is made of solid rubber. There's only so much he can remember at once. But I'll tell you this: I will NOT stand by and listen while he insults paper mache Ric Flair the way he did tonight. I'll see you in hell, action hero. You just won yourself a trip to the tire re-tread factory, courtesy of the Church of Flair. You'll never be half the toy that G.I Joe Sgt. Slaughter is, anyway, you atheist douchebag.

Day 18: Oh, this is bad. I have to reach Ric Flair immediately. Oh no, this is very, very, bad. I wouldn't expect a mortal human being to understand the way myself or Ric Flair do, but here's the problem: Kirchner escaped, and he's starting a faction. And I think he's recruited some Jakks and Hasbro talent. We must remain strong. Thy kingdom come, thy Flair be done. Space Mountain rules all. It's 4:45 a.m. I'm going to Flair's house. Kirchner must be stopped immediately, and together we can do it.

Day 19: You think you're so smart, don't you, Mr. Flair? What with your high-and-mighty restraining order and your security guards. All I wanted was to meet you. Don't be scared. You can't ignore me. I JUST WANT TO PRAY WITH YOU. That's all. Walk the path of righteousness with me, Nature Boy. We shall lead the non-believers into the light! Here... I made you some PastaMania and Kool-Aid.

Day 20: Fantastic. Once again, I've been arrested. My Flair has forsaken me. The mystery benefactor bailed me out yet again, but it took all damn day. I swung past Flair's house on my way home to forgive him, but the security guards wouldn't let me in this time, either. I guess I'll have to use the power of the Internet to tell all wrestling fans how badly we need Flair to lead us to salvation. Yes, I'll do that. In fact, I think Flair would want me to speak for him, so maybe I'll just skip the formalities and pretend that I'M Ric Flair for a while. Yeah, that's for the best.

Day 21: Today should be fun. After breakfast, I plan to... oh crap, Flair's lawyer is at my door with a couple of policemen again. ARREST ME... I'M ALREADY ARRESTED! ARREST ME... I'M ALREADY ARRESTED! ABUSE OF POWER! ABUSE OF POWER!


Day 22: The benefactor actually showed up in person this last time. All I have to say is, thank you so much for bailing me out. THANK YOU, Jeff Jarrett, just... wow. Thank you. I'll never miss an episode of Impact from now on. Spent the evening tearing down the Ric Flair shrine and watching TNA's Best of the X Division on DVD.

Day 23: I drove 347 miles to a remote hillbilly town, because I'd heard there was a small mom 'n' pop convenience store there that had a backstock of WWF Superstars Ice Cream Bars from the 1980s. Sure enough, right there in the freezer aisle... JACKPOT. I bought all 72 of them.
Evening update: I feel like a handful of hell in a dirty diaper. I ate 23 ice cream bars on the drive home: 13 Hogans, 5 Savages, 3 Koko B. Wares, an Andre the Giant, and a Brutus Beefcake. The remaining 49 melted all over the floorboard of my car. I opened each soggy box when I got home, and can you believe it? Not ONE Honky Tonk Man. I was so disgusted that I forced down three more Hogans - just the cookie part, since the ice cream was now worthless - and puked it all up a half hour later. I'm gonna read the evening Meltzer update and sleep it off.

Day 24: Tore all the insulation out of the walls of my house. Replaced with souvenir foam rubber 2x4s. It's for the best. Winter's on it's way. Gotta stay warm... tough guy! Hoooooooooo!

Day 25: Booked a doctor's appointment this morning. Asked for my money up front, plus travel expenses. The doctor declined. I tentatively accepted the booking anyway, but canceled later on when I discovered that I wasn't booked to go over. Fuck that. I have a reputation to uphold in this town.

Day 26: Three words: Buddy Landell Marathon!
Evening update: I've developed a strange rash on my left leg. Better keep an eye on it. Hope it's not related to the experiment.

Day 27: Finally cleaned the remains of those 49 melted ice cream bars out of my car. 49 melted 17-year-old ice cream bars + hot Florida sun = HUGE SMELLY MESS. I have never seen mold in that color before.

Day 28: I know I'm not thinking with a clear head right now, but I swear the rash on my left leg reads "Copyright 2004 World Wrestling Entertainment, all rights reserved." Is it possible that after you consume a certain amount of pro wrestling product, Vince McMahon legally owns you? Hey, screw you Vince! I don't lay down for anybody!


Day 29: I hate to say it, but I'm definitely looking forward to the end of this experiment. I'm down to View-Masters and pogs at this point. There is good news, though: I was talking to the Rick Steamboat LJN action figure, and it turns out the Corporal Kirchner figure never did assemble a faction to overthrow the Ric Flair regime... in fact, he's only a toy, so he's incapable of such action. Heh. My bad.

Day 30: I can't believe I made it! The last day! I wake up and immediately kill the morning and half the afternoon reading the WrestleCrap book. A matinee viewing of cult classic "I Like to Hurt People," and evening showing of "No Holds Barred," and I turn in early to celebrate my victory. It was rough, but in the end, I beat the wrestling obsession.


Insomnia. Food poisoning. Three arrests. Loss of employment. False recognition of Ric Flair as a legit God. Talking to action figures. Holding funerals for inanimate objects, and setting off pyro on the neighbor's lawn. Last but not least: many, many instances of insanity and dementia.

Would I do it all over again?

OH HELL YEAH! (kickwhamstunner, cue the music)

It could have been worse. It could have been Star Wars.


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