My view of the holidays and what the reality is are two different things. And the whole time I’m fully aware of my flawed thinking.
My idea of the holidays is this: Having a lot of free time to do the things I enjoyed the most. Something along catching up on reading by the fire place while sipping on eggnog. Maybe learn the art of binge watching. All along I know that’s a fantasy.
As you would know, the reality is that the holidays are quite chaotic. You rush to cram year end work in a short amount of time (plus some people have to work during the holidays). Then you have your Christmas shopping, cards to write, decorations, packing, many long drives, hosting, visiting, cooking etc…Add kids in the picture and you have a tornado. And I love all of that. That’s what you want every year. You eat well, you drink well, and spend time with great people. Everything is merry. When it’s over you are happy and sad at the same time. I’m fully aware that I’m lucky and not everyone can have the luxury of a nice holiday. So I’m grateful for that. I just need change my perception of what the holidays are. Or maybe its need to be relabeled or re-branded. I’m sure if I had the nice quiet holiday I was talking about I would write a post on how it should be more hectic. We actually should have a “real” holiday after the holidays to recuperate and detoxing. Along the line of a mandatory stay at home so we can actually rest and start the year energized. And why does everyone publish these top ten list of books you should read during the holidays if nobody has time to read them.
I wrote everything above to let you know that I only read one book during the holidays: Andre the Giant – Life and Legend by author/cartoonist Box Brown. It’s a 230 page comic book biography that I read in less than one hour. It was gifted to me by illustrator Hugh Langis. The gift itself is a total surprise considering I’m not exactly what you would call a fan of the giant. You can have a glimpse of the book with a preview here.
His real name was Andre Roussimoff (1946-1993) and the “Giant” was his professional wrestling stage name. My wife actually know him because he was an actor in the Princess Bride (they needed a 7 and a half foot giant…). While on set he ran a 40,000$ bar tab. What else do you do between scenes?
Andre was born with a rare syndrome known as acromegaly, he produced too much growth hormone in his body. It’s a condition where his body continued to grow and eventually his body started to turn on him. Doctors said he wouldn’t past 40 years old. At his peak, he weighed 500 pounds and stood nearly seven and a half feet tall. The current WWE/WCW “Giant”, Paul Wight the Big Show, used to have acromegaly and had a surgery to halt the progress of his condition. Coming from a rural family in France, Andre didn’t see a doctor until he was much older, so maybe he could have been saved if detected early on.
When I was a kid I was too young to have seen the Giant wrestle. His body of work goes back to the 70s and 80s. He was undefeated for 15 years. However I know Andre not for his wrestling accomplishments, but for his drinking stories, out of the ring stories, and persona. His drinking is stuff of legend. He’s drinking throughout the whole comic book.
This is certainly not a complete biography. I’m sure there are more accomplish body of work. I think the point of the book was the capture the bigger than life essence of Andre and the book accomplish exactly that. He had one hell of a life. Even though he died in 1993, as to this day he’s still the legend he was. It’s fun a read if you have an hour to learn more about an extraordinarily human being.