Washed up?

“Washed up old man” was a phrase from story about a time someone called wresting legend, Bruno Sammartino such a thing. Sammartino was about 51 when he suffered this indignity from a former CFL football player and not likely washed up.

Sammartino was trying to clear intruders from the backstage area at a wrestling event. One large man power-squeezed his hand and let fly the insult. Wrestling’s Living Legend replied he was not too washed up to deal with him. Sammartino blocked the man’s opening punch and then knocked him to the ground. The four other men joined the fight.

Famous bad guy wrestler, The Iron Sheik cut short his post-match showering to team with Sammartino. In Bruno’s telling, these two men wiped the floor with the five intruders. Washed up?  Not even close.

I searched the internet for an answer to the question about why we take offense when called washed up,

In America, washed up is a good thing to be if you’re ready to dine. In England, it usually means the dishes are done. But when we Americans hear it connected to any of our cherished talents, you can be sure someone has formed a lower opinions of our worth.

My take on dealing with the charge of being washed up is, unless it’s coming from someone able to discharge you from your job, these words should fall on deaf ears. It’s just an opinion and probably a wrong one.

Is there a connective tissue making the phrase an insult? I like this possibility. When items are found washed up on a beach, they tend to be past their expiration date. Maybe this is the meaning’s genesis.

Yeah, I go with this.

After having written all this, I have no plans to provide anyone with reasons to view me as washed up old man. During my post-retirement years, I’ll set my resolve on extra-firm and repeat the mantra provided to us by Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gently into that good night.”





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