Friday, July 10, 2009
Days Of Grace
Damage repeats itself, the line between victim and victimizer a thin one. Watching the new documentary about Iron Mike, Tyson, I found myself dizzied by the complexities. Tyson talks to the camera for most of the film while scenes from his former glories and disasters play in the background like the fights he himself watched as a young fighter under the tutelage of his mentor/trainer Cus D'Amato. Cus D'Amato took Tyson under his car as a very young juvenile delinquent (38 arrests before he was 13) and taught him the spiritual path of the warrior along with how to sense fear in the other fighter's eyes and bring him down. Like most profound relationships, Tyson can't entirely articulate why Cus D'Amato's death so unravelled him to the point that he still can't talk about it twenty years after the fact without crying. Perhaps his most simple comment proves the most effective and poignant: "I didn't have my friend no more. I felt naked to the world."
Perhaps the most surprising part of the movie is the impression of searing honesty it presents about the most personal of subjects: fear, sex, money, identity. No sugarcoating here -- Tyson takes credit and blame in equal measure, only denying the rape charge for which he served three years in prison. If Cusmato's death undid him, prison finished the job. He came out a changed man, more fearful and violent than ever, prone to black-outs common to trauma victims. To watch him yell at a reporter, "I'll fuck you till you love me, you faggot," provokes fear even now. By he time he loses to a much lesser opponent, he seems broken in a way that is cringe-worthy to watch. "I'm doing it to pay the bills," this once great boxer says after the match. To compare this to his former self breaks the heart. Despite his rage, distrust, troubles with women ("I never knew it took so much out of you to conquer a woman"), I found myself envying him. He speaks of some of his tattoos, but the one I noticed he never mentioned. It reads "Days Of Grace." For a short time before the inevitable black lights of life took him down, he was the youngest heavyweight champion of the world. To do exactly what you are put on earth to do, however briefly, is a feeling most of us have int he most fleeting of moments, usually only recognized in hindsight. But for Tyson, "a kid who never left the street corner," he knew his moment.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
New mojito video this weekend!
Benedictions and Maledictions