"May I ask how you like the car?" replied the giant. He stepped aside and with a slow sweep of his massive hand indicated a long, shining limousine. A Rolls-Royce.
"It is beautiful, but what has that to do with us?" the husband said suspiciously as the wife drew closer to him.
"Do you know who I am?" the stranger asked, still smiling down at them.
The wife hesitated, then said, "Have I not seen you on television? Are you not the famous wrestler, Jean Ferré?"
"Yes, I have wrestled often on television," said the colossal stranger, continuing to smile.
Finally, the husband looked out again at the Rolls, peered up again into the stranger's deep-set, twinkling eyes, turned to his wife and exclaimed, "Do you not recognize your own son come home to you at last? Jean Ferré is only a nom de guerre. This man is our son, Andre, grandson of my father."
Indeed, during the five years young Andre had been estranged from his parents, he had grown so large that even his mother and father failed at first, and even second, glance to recognize him, or to connect the giant they had seen on television with the gangly dreamer who had hied himself to Paris so long before.
What had happened after Andre left for the city was that because of his size and strength he had been hired by a furniture-moving firm. Impressed, the firm encouraged him to develop his already considerable skills as a rugby player. He recalls those days in Paris as his rite de passage, a time in which he not only passed into manhood but passed as a man. He laughs as he recalls buying drinks for a member of the gendarmerie when he was only 14 years old.
When he turned 17, he was seen training at a gym by several professional wrestlers. They were so taken by his size that they showed him some of their moves, and regaled him with tales of their travel and adventures. When one of them was injured soon after and a replacement was needed for a match, Andre was asked to perform. As might be expected, he was, shall we say, a huge success, and he realized he had found his calling. The Brazilian philosopher, Paulo Freire, has observed that the only education of much value is learning to understand one's true position in the world in such a way as to act on that understanding and improve the position. If Freire is correct, Andre graduated with highest honors that night in his short, preliminary bout.
In his first two years as a professional wrestler, Andre Roussimoff, a/k/a Jean Ferré, did indeed grow—not only in stature but in wealth and worldliness. By his early 20s he had wrestled in Algeria, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, England, Scotland and most of non-Communist Europe. Today, at the age of 35, he looms four inches beyond seven feet, weighs approximately 500 pounds and stands astride professional wrestling both literally and figuratively—the largest, highest-paid and best-known performer in the game.