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Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks Mass Market Paperback – October 3, 2000
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Frankly, this literary critic didn't expect Mick Foley's memoir of his life as Mankind (and his other wrestling personas, Cactus Jack and Dude Love) to hit No. 1 on Amazon.com's hardcover nonfiction bestseller list in its first literary bout. The cover is cluttered and confusing, and do we really need 500-plus pages of Foley's boasts? Yes. Foley gives his all for his calling, and he burns to tell his adventures. Take the famous tale of how he lost most of his ear (the bloody result is depicted in the 16-page color-photo section). It was in his 1994 bouts with Vader (Leon White): after getting a broken nose, a dislocated jaw, and 21 stitches in the first match, Foley did his "hangman" routine, wherein he catches his neck between the second and third ropes and spins them into a twist. "The end result is the illusion of a man being hanged by his neck while his body kicks and writhes in an attempt to get out... the man actually is hanging by his neck and the body really does kick and writhe in an attempt to get out." Unfortunately, in the prior match, Too Cold Scorpio had had the officials tighten the ropes, so Foley tore off his ear to avoid death by strangulation, like "a fox that chews off its paw to escape a trap." Foley also wrestles on 10,000-thumbtack mats with barbwire ropes and C-4 explosives, and earns the ultimate compliment: "The fans really like the way you bleed." Many fans also like the way his gory story reads. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Foley's hardcore account . . . Isn't for the faint of heart."--" Entertainment Weekly"Offers vivid descriptions and debunks myths . . . You don't have to be a wrestling fan to enjoy--or at least learn something from [this book]"-- "Chicago Tribune"Mick Foley is a funny, intelligent, interesting man with a fascinating story totell." -- "LA Times"Engaging . . . Grabs the reader by the throat."--" Syracuse Post-Standard"THE BEST INSIDER LOOK AT PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING EVER WRITTEN."-- "Trenton NJ Times"Captivating . . . Much more than a story about aprofessional wrestler . . . Honest, often hilarious andsometimes moving."-- "Richmond Times-Dispatch"Foley's humor alone makes 'Have A Nice Day!' a must read."-- "Daytona Beach News
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When Mick first debuted in 1991 on World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as Cactus Jack, I was legitimately terrified of the man. His matches were full of brutality, acrobatics unexpected of a man his size, and enough overacting you believed the man had a screw loose. The actual Mick Foley is pretty much the opposite of eccentric characters. He's a dorky quirky guy who has a near-endless amount of funny stories to share about his fellow wrestlers. Have a Nice Day is the first of three autobiographies he's written and the largest at about seven hundred and fifty pages. It chronicles Mick's life from his Bloomington, Indiana childhood to his first retirement in 2000.
Due to the fact said retirement didn't "stick" and he was wrestling with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as late as 2014, this autobiography is by no means complete but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining as hell. It is a crime Have a Nice Day isn't available in Kindle format and I encourage my readers go to Amazon.com and say they want to see it released as such. The heart of the book is Mick's easy-going narrative, which is seemingly one amusing anecdote after another. The book opens up with a horrific story about how Mick lost his ear in a match with fellow wrestler Big Van Vader, only to make the story darkly hilarious as he ended up having to explain to a German nurse how he got injured doing a "fake sport."
The book is littered with stories both funny as well as moving as we watch Mick Foley move from obscurity to becoming the sort of man who might win the World Championship Belt. Wrestling is scripted but it is a massive competition both behind the scenes and on the mat to distinguish yourself enough to win a push to the spotlight. Listening to the stories Mick has to share about both the WCW, ECW, and WWE's backstage politics will give you a new respect for anyone who manages to make it big. Wrestlers have to work their asses off in order to make any money in the business and frequently injure themselves in order to do the sort of crowd-pleasing moves necessary to make themselves famous.
There's moments of tenderness, too, like Mick Foley's tribute to Owen Hart and talk about his relationship with Brian Pillman (both men dying tragically at a very young age). We also get a moving account of his romance as well as sustained relationship with Colette Foley, a woman who is, in Mick's own words, far too good for him. Mick isn't a professional writer but this doesn't hurt him in the slightest as it goes well with his informal conversational tone. At the end of the book, I feel like I'd come to know the oddball professional wrestler and would likely have called him friend if we'd ever shared a workspace.
One of my favorite stories from the volume was Mick sharing how he first got inspired to enter professional wrestling by watching "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka climb to the top of a steel cage and jump down onto his opponent. It's a story with a funny twist at the end because he'd snuck away from college to go see the match against his parent's wishes, only for them to see him sitting in the third row on television (due to his very recognizable trademark flannel shirts). Another tale which I loved was Mick trying to deal with Vince McMahon's good-natured attempts to help his career by giving him truly horrendous gimmicks like "Mason the Mutilator" amongst other dumb stage names.
The book also contrasted and compared the benefits of wrestling in the WWE, the WCW, Japan, ECW, and the independent circuit. Mick Foley has worked in all four promotions and gone back to them after serving in others so we get his initial perspective as well as some after the fact. Mick talks about the fans of each promotion too and what they reacted to. I especially loved how he decided his "gimmick" for the ECW would be to be a guy who loved the WCW and hated hardcore wrestling. That's adorable. Less adorable being the description of how many injuries Mick Foley has sustained in pursuit of his craft.
Through Mick Foley, I got to know such individuals as Terry Funk, Diamond Dallas Page, Steve Austin, and Vince McMahon. We also get Mick Foley's opinion on some famous moments of wrestling history such as the folding of WCW and the infamous Montreal Screwjob. The truly impressive thing about this book is that I think non-wrestling fans would enjoy this book almost as much as wrestling ones.
And that's amazing.
BUT on the plus side, the book did expand my knowledge of pro wrestling and how hard it was to be a wrestler and gave a lot of back stories to some matches, storylines and other wrestlers, which made watching older wrestling clips more interesting.
Bottomline: good book, worth reading, but it was too long and have uninteresting material closer to the end.