I was shocked the other night to see the tweets from a couple of friends.
Wrestler Jerry "The King" Lawler had a heart attack live on television during a WWE "Monday Night Raw" event in Montreal. I still can't watch the video. Interestingly — and this tells you a lot about professional wrestling — many initially thought the collapse was part of the show since the 62-year-old Lawler had wrestled earlier.
He's stable now and prognosis seems good after an angioplasty procedure.
This was sobering to me. Lawler was classmate of mine in high school. We were not close friends by any means, but he would show up from time to time to participate in our Sunday sandlot softball games. It was call your own balls and strikes and Jerry's judgment was never questioned. He would swing hard and could hit the ball a long way when he connected.
As you might deduce, Lawler was playful, boisterous, a class clown type of guy. That bravado (he figured out early that that was his key to fame and fortune) masked a kind soul. He was fun.
And he was skilled enough in the dramatic arts to play both hero and villain, which many wrestlers can't do with credibility. In any venue, he had a true gift of gab with a biting wit.
Jerry was always big, strappling and full of life. I think he really enjoyed people. He grew up in the Elvis era in Memphis and I think he tried to adapt some of the "Elvis" persona, liveliness and people connection to wrestling.
But this serves as another reminder that we are all vulnerable.