Friday, May 21, 2010

Regarding Andre the Giant...

Sometimes I forget that I have chosen Andre the Giant as my little avatar image for this blog.  It is not totally random, though I think I spent about 5 minutes thinking about it when I first created this blog on a whim. 

Eventhough I haven't been blogging for very long, I am surprised that I have never been asked the question about why I chose Andre.  But because I have special feelings about him, I'd like to explain why I chose him to be the face of this blog.

Here are the few quick associations that come to mind about Andre the Giant:
  • His website states that he was 7'4 and weighed 500 pounds. Born in France in 1946 and died there as well in 1993.
  • I've never watched wrestling, so I never knew of that part of his career. 
  • His first acting job was in my favorite tv show as a kid:  The Six Million Dollar Man (he played BigFoot).
  • He may be most widely known as Fezzik in The Princess Bride (a man with a gift of rhyme).  This is really how I came to know of him.
  • There is a great line that Fezzik says in The Princess Bride, that I use up at the top of the header.  Some other characters are just looking at how amazingly huge he is and Fezzik responds in a very innocent way saying "It's not my fault being the biggest and the strongest, I don't even exercise."  It's as if he is surprised that he has gotten this big.  I identified with that feeling as well. 
  • I actually saw him in person, trying to get into a limo in Tokyo, Japan in about 1992.  We must have been staying at the same hotel.  He was so angry because he couldn't go in head-first (and turn-around to sit), yet he also couldn't back in.  Though he was angry, I thought that his inner emotion was more likely sadness and a feeling of isolation just because he did not fit in this world.   He didn't fit and everyone got to see it...every day of his life.  As another big man in Japan, I identified with this frustration and felt a strong compassion for him that continues to this day.
When I started this blog, I was much heavier than I am now.  I am 6'4 and weighed in at 325.  I have now lost about 28 pounds and still have a long way to go, but I am much more fit now, regardless of my weight. 

Even today, I can say with certainty that I am nearly always "the largest person in the room", almost regardless of where I go.  If I went to my grocery store right now, I would be the heaviest person there.  Same with my work, etc.  Throughout my entire life, being called a "big guy" has really meant (to me) that I am a "fat guy".  That is some messed up thinking, I know, and I am working on how I think of myself (and shrinking myself, too!).

But when I started this blog, it was a fast connection to think of Andre the Giant.  I didn't want my own picture up there (at the time) and simply thought of the biggest person I knew.  It also helped that I was sympathetic toward Andre (after Tokyo).  Finally, both he and I have been called "gentle giants", a term that I happily accept.  Andre seemed a natural choice to be the face of "Big Clyde".  I also thought it would be fun.

So, from time to time, I will use some photos of Andre that might add to a post.  Just to make it easier, I will likely refer to him as if he is Big Clyde, just another character, played by Andre the Gentle Giant.  I hope you like it.


✯FiTCETERA✯ said...

I do like it. :D

have a great weekend.

fatty blogsticks said...

makes sense to me. i like that you have his (fezzik's) quote on the top right of your blog.

the pic with this post is a good one for perspective. wallace shawn (the little guy) could very well have fitting-in issues from the other end of the scale - like the world is one oversized jumper. hmm, what would you rather?

Tricia said...

I remember when I went to WrestleMania and he got beat by the Ultimate Warrior. I was way pissed!

Twon said...

Amusingly, I picture your avatar whenever your speak to me. Sometimes I forget that that is not what you really look like :)

~HoneyB~ said...

I love Andre... I can so relate to being the biggest one. Even when I was skinny I was always the biggest girl for sure if not bigger than most of the guys around me. I am almost 5 ft 10 with no shoes on, when I wear shoes (I only own heels except for those shoes I hurt myself on :))) I am easy 6 ft 2 and hubby is only 5 ft 11.

By the time I was in the seventh grade I was 5 ft 9 and had DD breasts with a 24 inch waist. Men treated me too old for my years and girls my age didnt accept me at all :( It can be just as awkward to be an over developed female as a huge guy or a fat chick like I am now. I too have never felt like I fit in and love that you have chosen Andre as you pic. One of my favorite movies of all time, one of the only men I think if I would have gotten to sit in his lap, I would have finally felt like a lil lady :)

Sharon said...

Thanks for sharing your connection with Andre. I like it :)

TJ said...

I do like it- thanks for explaining! :)

Alan said...

I did wonder about ATG. Thanks for explaining.

I also traveled to Japan in the mid-90s for a band tour and have so many distinct memories of what it was like to feel like a giant. Sometimmes it was amusing - the kids stared, kind of in awe. Occasionally it was reassuring, like when I walked through a group of volatile drunks without feeling at all unsafe. But mostly, I felt self-conscious - such a theme of all the weight loss blogs.

Neighbor Ted said...

I love you man!!!!!

RockStarTri said...

Good stuff. I'm old enough to be a fan of the original when he was a wrestling superstar. I went to japan as well and the locals just stared.

CinciMom11 said...

Awwww! Great story! Gee, 6'4"? You really are a giant! That makes your weight slightly more believable. That's so funny you saw Andre in Tokyo!

Massive Marcus said...

Good story Clyde.

Andre was one of my favorites when I was a little kid watching wrestling. I got to see him live once!

I remember the six million dollar man but I also can't remember much about it. I was too young at the time, didn't know Andre had a role on the show. I remember the opening of the show and the sound effect every time he did something bionic.

Liz said...

love it!