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Day 72 – Mr. T Pities a Kitty

Before we get to my Mr. T impression, I want to explain why it’s really one of my favorites.

Mr. T has been a positive force in entertainment throughout nearly my entire life.  I was a young boy when he fought Rocky Balboa as Clubber Lang in Rocky III.  He teamed up with Hulk Hogan at the very first Wrestlemania, and he was my favorite member of The A-Team.  He had his own cartoon show, spreading a pretty positive message of self-empowerment, morality and awareness,  and belief in self.  He met with then First Lady, Nancy Reagan (even dressed as Santa, with Mrs. Reagan sitting on his lap).  He fought, and beat T-cell Lymphoma in 1995, and worked hard to resurrect and grow a commendable career resurgence – one that he truly deserves.

A lot of people don’t know it, but Mr. T grew up the youngest of 12 kids in a really rough part of Chicago.  He witnessed the worst effects of crime and poverty all around him, but his father (a minister) and his mother demonstrated how to resist a life of violence and gangs.  He credits his desire to make his mother proud as one of his biggest motivations to become something she would be proud of.  He was a city-wide wrestling champ two years in a row, and earned an athletic scholarship to a local college, where he majored in mathematics (before he was expelled a year in).  He enlisted in the Army, and out of a cycle of 6,000 new troops, he was elected “top trainee of the cycle”.  After discharge, he tried out for the Green Bay Packers – but a knee injury kept that from coming to fruition.  He was a bouncer and a bodyguard, a tough guy when he needed to be (and claims to have been in over 200 times as a bouncer – never found to be out of the bounds of the law in that regard).

He still lives in Chicago to this day, and I’ve got friends who bump into him at the grocery store.  He’s an incredibly gracious man with his fans – and I’d love to meet him someday and tell him in person what a positive impact he had on my childhood.

But, first – here he is pitying a kitty.  Enjoy Day 72 of the 100 Voices in 100 Days project!