Previously in the Toast’s The Rock coverage: My real-time reaction to learning what The Rock eats every day.
“Hey, Mallory, you run a women’s-interest site, don’t you think this time would be better served discussing the actually victorious women’s soccer team and not the admittedly friendly but ultimately irrelevant wrestler-turned-actor who filmed a brief, encouraging video for them?” I mean, yes, probably but I don’t like sports, and I didn’t watch that game. I’m happy for them in theory, but I can’t pretend to like sports just for them. But what I did watch was this video. You’re damn right I watched this short clip of the dang Rock interrupting his workout – unwilling even to remove his headphones for the duration – to give a chipper pep talk to a bunch of strangers, because he is a traveling inspiration machine covered in tricep muscles and also creatine-flavored jawbreakers.
I love the Rock with a sexless intensity that will continue to burn long after the physical husk I inhabit has been absorbed back into the nitrogen cycle. Allow me to attempt to break down what it is that makes this video so representative of his excellence:
0:02 – “Hey, what’s up, ladies?” Do you have any idea how difficult it is for a man in a muscle tank to say “Hey, what’s up, ladies” in a manner that is neither suggestive nor condescending? It is very nearly impossible; The Rock achieves it in the first two seconds. This is a man who genuinely wants to know what is up with these ladies. No one ever told The Rock what sexism is, so he has never once committed an act of it. Please do not tell him about it now. He would be absolutely crushed if he knew.
0:10 – “This is not a video to inspire you in any way. You guys are already inspired, you’re already there, you’re already in that headspace.” Taps his head, to remind us of the space they’re in, the head’s space, the head’s pace. The Rock has already defeated seven of his personal demons on the lat pull machine this morning. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. What you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Ajahn Chah said it once; The Rock says it again now, this time wearing blue headphones.
0:19: “This video is just to let you know how much you’ve inspired me.” Call your father, if you have one, and if he is worth speaking these words to. Do it now. Tell him that it matters that he was born onto this earth, and that it was worth being alive in this earth of shadow and sorrow, to be a child of his.
If you do not have one, or if he was not worthy, it matters that you were born onto this earth of shadow and sorrow, that you are yourself in it.
Somewhere around the :30 mark, take a moment to take stock of The Rock’s masterful use of gesturing. He spreads his right hand out as if he were going to palm the world. Absorb the strength of these gestures, U.S. women’s soccer team, and return home to your fields and your plow and make the harvest ten feet tall this year.
0:40: “…What I believe is one of the stingiest defenses in recorded history.” I don’t know what this means. It sounds like an insult (who wants to be stingy? Also who was stingy in this scenario? Japan, or us?), but he smiles like it’s a compliment. It’s a message that is not meant to be understood but felt. There is no answer. The defense is stingy, which is good. What you believed to be virtue never was. Beyond the ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a meadow. Let us meet there.
0:45: The Rock bleeps out his own swear, then immediately apologizes for cussing. And if thy right hand offends thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
0:58: “You are the greatest in the world at what you do. I say that with all respect for the other teams.” How to hold these truths together, one in each hand? Respect on the one hand, superiority in the other. The only way to maintain the balance is to let them go. “I believe he is a good man, but am not enough acquainted with his proceedings, either wholly to commend or condemn them.” – The Rev. George Whitefield.
1:07: “At the end of the day, you are twenty-three of the biggest badasses walking God’s green earth. I’m getting fired up.” The excellence of these women does not threaten him; it inspires him to new heights of excellence, the mark of a good and a true Rock. He smiles, and it is as the birth of the sun, and then he turns away, to calm himself. He must not get so fired up yet. The Rock must contain his true self. He restrains himself, for our sake.
When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights…
Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on those whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on those whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
…When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.
1:18: “You guys go handle your business, and then bring it on back home. I’m gonna be right here waiting for you.” Has The Rock just promised to save himself for the heterosexual, unpartnered members of the U.S. women’s soccer team? I believe that he has. I believe that he has just offered them his hand in marriage, and that he will remain faithful until their triumphant return.
And if any man shall take away from the words of this prophecy, God shall take away his portion out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written herein.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.