Friday, December 7, 2012

the last book I ever read (The Good Son: The Life of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, excerpt five)

from The Good Son: The Life of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini by Mark Kriegel:

In his first year after retiring, Ray landed bit parts in two episodes of Who's the Boss? starring another friend of his, Tony Danza, an undistinguished boxer who became hugely successful in sitcoms. He appeared once as a solider in a Steven Spielberg show, Amazing Stories, and as an ex-con in a CBS movie, Oceans of Fire.

But the Rambolike series never panned out. Action heroes, Ray soon found out, were easily conceived at meetings with agents and producers, but the actual roles were exceedingly rare. Perhaps he should've known. After all, Ray had been a TV action hero almost from the time he turned pro.

And, soon enough, he found himself grieving for that life. Sipping espresso in Café Roma with Mickey Rourke was great fun. But it wasn't a substitute for what he had been.

"I was in a bad state of depression," he told a reporter.

This wasn't the normal sense of loss brought on by an athlete's retirement. Rather, it was an acknowledgment, at only twenty-four years old, that he had already played the role of a lifetime. It was an existential dilemma, a question of mortality. And, as such, he called Father O'Neill. "You accomplished your lifelong dream at a very young age," the priest told him. "Everything else from here on will be anticlimatic."

Ray understood. It was something that he'd have to live with: "Nothing ever will give me that same feeling."

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