People who know me understand my sadness about the loss of Rowdy Roddy Piper; the wrestling legend that passed away Friday at an age much too young.
As a teenager I was mesmerized by his charisma and fascinated by his nasty personality so much that even when I stopped watching wrestling.. I kept a keen eye on the 'Hot Rod', especially when he turned to acting. From Pipers Pit to THEY LIVE just seemed natural. But it was what he did later on that made me really love the guy!
Sure he smacked Superfly Jimmy Snuka with a couple of coconuts and yes... he slapped Cyndi Lauper and yes he got Brian and I in headlocks and almost popped our heads off... but what I got to see and experience countless times was an incredibly kind human being who loved his fans more than anything.
Over the past few years I noticed that Hot Rod didn't quite look as well as he used too. When I saw him and got to chat with him at Rock And Shock last year in Worcester he seemed a bit slower and sadly, kinda frail. But when fans lined up to meet him, especially a young girl with Down Syndrome, he not only made her feel like the most important person in all the world, but he made everyone in line waiting to met him feel special too. And that was Piper's thing... no cameras, no media to see him do this... it was just him!
Roderick 'Roddy' George Toombs was a class act! Despite his polarizing wrestling persona, Piper was a professional who lived up to the expectations I had before he got me in a choke hold.
When my mother (a nurse) met him in the mid 1990's she said to him. "I can't believe how amazing you are with my patients. You make them feel so special and important. When my son was younger he would watch you act like a jerk then buy your shirts, pictures, and figures." His reply... "Well darlin'. If I wasn't a jerk he never would have bought the stuff now would he."
I got to tell him that story and I will never forget his reaction... he smiled and teared up a bit.
You will be missed, Mr. Piper!