(Today's post is a guest post by longtime reader Matty P. If you would like to guest write for us, please check out our guest post guidelines. We look forward to publishing reader posts on future Thursdays.)
If you’ve surfed the internet, watched television, or listened to the radio within the last five years, you've heard the jokes. The hyperbolic ultra-macho exaltation of a once B-list action star, Chuck Norris.
Among my favorites:
- There used to be a street named after Chuck Norris. It was changed on the grounds that no one crosses Chuck Norris and live.
- Death once had a near Chuck experience.
- Chuck Norris' tears can cure cancer. Unfortunately, he never cries.
- Beneath Chuck Norris' beard, there isn't a chin, but another fist.
I'm sure you have your own favorites as well. If not there are websites that can help you find some. As impressive as the jokes make the man sound, the truth was much more impressive.
In college, I had a friend with a connection to this icon/demi-god. She never spoke of her affiliation with the action hero, but looking back, I should've seen the signs. She did after all, own a Total Gym. It was a connection we (a roommate and myself) were unaware of until it was too late.
I saw him first entering the room out of the corner of my eye. By that time it was too late to run. He was less than ten yards from us. Instantly, my fight or flight response was activated. The adrenaline sped my thinking. I assessed my options. Do I run or would that, in the same principle as facing a Grizzly Bear, only force him to instinctively attack (in earnest, I could not outrun my roommate either). Do I drop to my knees and beg for my life or would such an act disgust him to the point of ripping my heart from my chest? All my processing mattered little; I froze still considering my options. I clung to the hope that, just maybe, he was an illusion induced from the long drive.
My roommate saw him too by this time. He was not a figment of my imagination. Fear paralyzed me and the world championship fighter made the first move.
His hand extended. "Hi. I'm Chuck Norris," he said as if an introduction was necessary. (Eric C want me to clarify at the introduction, he did in fact use his full acting name). I took the hand that in all likelihood could crush mine without too much effort and shook.
My roommate took the hand when I was done, looked from person to person in the room and asked, "Are you serious?" We all laughed and he generously showed us around his home. It was as if we were meeting a friend of a friend, not an action hero.
Much like those popular jokes, most of the story above was exaggeration. And as much as I enjoy the jokes they fail to do him justice. In truth, what I saw was a gentle humility of a man who loves his family and his life. While I'm sure he finds it entertaining being referred to as the prototypical badass, I saw him as a really nice guy... who could kill me with a single punch... from the fist beneath his beard.
(Happy April Fools. There's no trick here, just a more humorous post than usual.)