When I was a kid my father took special glee in mocking me for watching professional wrestling -- "It's fake! It's not real! How dumb can you be?"
But truthfully, even at eight years old, I knew in my heart of hearts it wasn't legit.
How could it be? We all had heard the rumors that Chief Jay Strongbow was really an Italian guy from the Bronx, and anyone could see the pulled punches from a mile away.
But then, like now, it didn't matter. It spoke of a world unconfined by the laws and rules the rest of us had to obey. In wrestling, there was justice, and there was freedom. Wrestling was all about the power of imagination.
No one demonstrates this better than the Undertaker, whom Ric Flair -- generally considered to be the greatest professional wrestler to ever step foot in the ring -- called the greatest gimmick of all time.
That the selling of a dead man walking seems prima facie absurd makes no difference in professional wrestling, the greatest of all entertainments. As I have written elsewhere, it is the least self-conscious of sports, and is much like what Dostoyevsky wrote about having faith: If you get it, no explanation is necessary, and if you don't, no explanation will do.
This weekend WrestleMania 31 will explode with pyrotechnics when the Undertaker makes his famed entrance to battle a more earthly ghoul, the "new face of fear" Bray Wyatt, but the question remains, is this the Undertaker's last ride at the rodeo? Will he "walk off into the great wrestling beyond of Barcaloungers and bad backs, to dandle his grandkids on busted knees and hump a riding mower across a texas suburb?"
Check out this video and discover the legacy of the Undertaker, a walking corpse who proves that "reality is for people who can't handle professional wrestling. "