On The Liminality of Kayfabe: Diamond Dallas Page

A couple of months after 9/11, I lined up for over an hour in Times Square at “The World” (then WWF’s now defunct restaurant) to get Diamond Dallas Page’s autograph during a period when my markish zeal was burning particularly hot. Cute boy Christian (back then still working on his solo gimmick, trying to get over by throwing hissy fits in the ring if somebody kept kicking out of his pin) had actually been the autograph signer when I got in the line, but by the time the line snaked around and I got inside they had swapped him out for DDP. Either way, I was just excited to be that close to the charismatic energy of a wrestler, even one at the tail end of his career who had never really captured my attention. I was roaming the city while the friends I was visiting were at work, I was sick as a dog, and I was trying not to talk much lest I cough my traveler cooties all over the guy. Despite my bedraggled state, he was lovely. “Is this for you?” he asked. I think he was surprised to see a bookish redhead in her twenties going through the trouble it took to get his autograph amidst all the loud Jersey fanboys with their official licensed WWF T-shirts. Maybe it would be a present for my little brother or something. “Yes,” I gasped awkwardly, fighting back the hacking cough. He drew a little heart next to his name before handing me his complimentary headshot. I had been thinking about giving the autograph to my dad, who was enjoying DDP’s shtick that year, but the heart made me think I’d better keep it.

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