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Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks () Top 100 Books of the Millenium (76)

When I was a kid, growing up in New Jersey in the late 60s/early 70s, we read sports books like Tom Seaver and the Amazing Mets, Clyde : The Walt Frazier Story, and I Am Third.  The most adult moments in such books came in Clyde, where as I recall one wife simply disappeared from the narrative and Mr. Frazier demonstrated the superiority of his reflexes by recounting the story of being at a tavern as a glass, which had been accidentally placed on an ice cube, slid off the bar.  Clyde was so lightning quick that he grabbed it out of midair without spilling a drop.  As undeniably cool as that moment sounded, it was hardly risqué.  The publication of Ball Four in 1970 changed all this, not for the better, and sports books began to present our heroes warts and all.

Meanwhile, in those years there was something somehow illicit about professional wrestling.  Sure we all knew who Bruno Samartino, Chief Jay Strongbow, Haystacks Calhoun, and Gorilla Monsoon were, but your parents were unlikely to let you actually watch the matches.  The closest we got was the wrestling magazines that were passed around the playground like samizdat and regular viewings of Roller Derby, which for some reasons was shown on Sunday mornings, just before the Abbott and Costello movie.

Alas, those innocent days are long past.  Today, not only are kids subjected to every gory detail of the lives of sports figures, Wrestling has become perhaps the most popular entertainment for youths, specifically marketed to teen boys with a mix of sex and violence.  So it is with much trepidation that one approaches an autobiography by one of the WWF's biggest stars, Mankind, even if it did manage to make the Amazon List of the Top Books of the Millennium.  Happily, though the book isn't particularly good, it is nowhere near as bad as it could have been.  In fact, in his own way, Mick Foley (aka Mankind) is touchingly conservative.  He apparently wrote the book (all 500 pages) himself, he's a concerned family man, and he seems to sincerely wish that wrestling were more realistic and more of a sport than a show.  And how can you not like a guy who expresses the following sentiment about his desire to stage a series of ultraviolent grudge matches with an opponent :

    Now it's just my opinion, but I find bloodletting and savagery between two friends to be less
    offensive than heavy sexual content.  At least when it's done well.

It's not exactly Pitching in the Pinch, the profanity and violence make it wholly inappropriate for kids, and it is of course ridiculous to put it on a "best of ..." list, but I'll tell you what : it's better than many other books that made such lists and I guarantee more people have read it than ever actually read Ulysses or Finnegan''s Wake.


Grade: (C)


Book-related and General Links:
    -Foley is God (
    -WWF - Mankind
    -For All Mankind
    -Mick Foley Fan Club
    -WWF Superstars : Mankind
    -EXCERPT : from Have a Nice Day
    -INTERVIEW : with Mick Foley (Joel Klein, TIME)
    -INTERVIEW : with Mick Foley (IGN for Men)
    -CHAT : 'Mick Foley's Christmas Chaos': Mick Foley (USA Today)
    -PROFILE :  Newsmaker: Mick Foley Wrestler turned writer takes on critics (Dan Gigler, February 05, 2001, Pittsburgh, Post-Gazette)
    -PROFILE : Move over Shakespeare, here comes Foley (BENSON LEE -- Canadian Press)
    -ARTICLE : Foley announces retirement ("BLOODTHIRSTY" BOB KAPUR -- For SLAM! Wrestling, December 1, 1999)
    -REVIEW : of Have a Nice Day (BBC Online)
    -REVIEW : of Have a Nice Day (VINNIE BARTILUCCI -- For SLAM! Wrestling)
    -REVIEW : of Have a Nice Day (Richard Whittaker , AdHoc)

    -World Wrestling Federation
    -ESSAY : Pro Wrestling and the End of History  The traditional heroes and villains have been replaced by postmodern hulks (Paul A. Cantor, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY :  Everything's Fake but the Deaths : How the WWF-WCW Ratings Battle Led to Real Casualties (Nick Mamatas, August 2001, Village Voice)
    -INFO : Beyond the Mat (1999) (
    -REVIEW : of Beyond the Mat (Pop Matters)