he very first story I ever posted on the Internet was titled "Muscular Mike." (I used the pseudonym Derek Flex.) The main character, a plumber, was fashioned, in this author's mind, after Mike Matarazzo.
God, I had such an infatuation with that man. He epitomized what I viewed as the ultimate muscle man. Later, I'd write another story, "Chad," that also used Mike as the main man. I'll dig that up and post it soon.
I was so sad to learn this morning that Mike Matarazzo has passed. He was 48. He was awaiting a heart transplant.
The forums are abuzz with chatter about Mike. I didn't really know this, but he was evidently an amazingly friendly guy to all of his fans. Went out of his way to make them feel good. One guy said he was the most approachable bodybuilder he'd ever known. That is so absolutely cool.
I loved that Mike was from Boston. If you've seen him in video clips, you can pick up on that accent immediately. Such a stud. Boston strong. And Boston friendly. (Boston is prominently featured in my latest book. I don't live there, but I have an abiding affection for that city.)
And to think that I just mentioned Mike Matarazzo, in this blog's previous post, as an example of strength and beauty. That's the day he died. Wow.
The forums are also abuzz with chatter about Mike's cause of death, and the ongoing health problems he suffered. Some are saying that it's disrespectful and plain wrong to talk about Mike's steroid use in the wake of his passing. I disagree, especially in light of the fact that Mike himself admitted years ago, that his health problems were a result of steroid use and unhealthy eating. Maybe the discussions will enlighten some aspiring bodybuilders to the risks of these practices. To me, saying we shouldn't discuss this is like saying we shouldn't talk about depression and suicide after Robin Williams' death. Please, I'm in no way trying to compare suicide to steroids. No way. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm comparing is this: Why is it okay to talk about the horrible, unfortunate, sensitive causes of Robin Williams' death, but not Mike's?
And then there's this. A number of years ago I had a bit of e-mail interaction with a guy who was upset that I was objectifying and glorifying steroid use (by "worshiping" huge muscle men). I don't have the e-mails anymore, and I don't remember my responses, but the guy ended up telling me he wasn't going to visit my site anymore. I hate to simply dismiss a person's opinion out of hand, so I have done some reflecting on this. Obviously, I haven't changed anything, so one could argue that I was insensitive to the guy's objections. That's actually not true. I am conflicted here.
There's always the argument that one website won't cure the world of steroid-using, unhealthy bodybuilders. But then, there's also the perspective that it only took one African American refusing to sit at the back of the bus to propel forward a Civil Rights Revolution. Again, I certainly don't mean to make a false comparison here. I'm no Rosa Parks. That's not my point.
But there is value, is there not, in–say–choosing which product you buy at the store, based on whether you support that company's social/environmental/political position, right? If you abhor the body image that Barbie Dolls foist on little girls, would you buy one for your niece? Obviously, the question us CWSs would next ask is this: If you abhor the damage that steroids do, and the unhealthy lifestyle choices that the huge musclemen make... then, should you not question the objectification you laud on these men and their deleterious practices? Should Yours Truly not question the validity of posting pictures of roided men, and writing stories (yea–even making money off books) about them?
And then there's this (I can't finish this post without leaving myself an "out"): I really think us Earthlings should be rigorously looking into energy sources that do not cause harm to the Home Planet. Yet, every day I hop in to my internal combustion engine-powered automobile, and belch my quota of carbon monoxide into the air.
I don't know. (Or maybe I do, but just don't want to admit it?) There are a lot of variables here–too many to address, even if I knew all of them. But I do have to admit that I'm certainly not as pure and clean as the wind-driven snow. Many, many people who object to the fact that I drive a car wouldn't bat an eye at the fact that I write gay erotic smut. And, many, many people who object to the aforementioned smut would have no problem at all with my choice of transportation. As my German teacher used to love to say, "Alles relativ ist." Even though I am happy with my gay orientation (now), and even though I am out to most of my family, and a few of my friends, virtually none of them know I write gay erotica. And I believe they would (most of them anyway) be shocked at the things my mind produces–and not only gives, but sells, to others. So, like I said, I don't look at myself as a blameless man. There are some things I don't share even with you CWSs. Maybe these conflicts are a part of life. Maybe some of them can be rectified, if we'd only make the effort.
But after all this rambling, one thing I most certainly do know: I am saddened that a man so aparently wonderful, kind and disciplined passed too young. (Okay, and of course, so gorgeously muscular. Don't hate me because I'm honest!) R.I.P. Mike Matarazzo. I hope you're wagging that tongue of yours at the Pearly Gates!
I was actually–right here–going to apologize for being so serious today. But on second thought. I offer no apology.
God, I didn't know I was so deep.