Eli Johnson, a 29-year-old wrestling fan from Dallas, seems to mistakenly believe that fellow attendees of a pro wrestling convention are enormously impressed by the made-in-China replica championship belt slung over his shoulder.
With his chest puffed out and a strut in his gait, Johnson is carrying himself with the self-aggrandizing swagger of a WWE Superstar who actually earned the belt, rather than an Arby’s night manager who bought it off eBay for $75.
Proudly patting the belt’s yellow plastic face, Johnson scans the convention hall to see how many people are gazing at him in reverent awe; seeing none, he assumes they are intimidated by his coolness.
The belt — which Johnson affectionately calls “my strap” — was assembled by an overworked eight-year-old boy in Shanghai who seethes with insatiable hatred for the Western consumerism and decadence it represents.
Johnson, however, speaks effusively about the “proud lineage” of the belt and carries it with him to every wrestling event and psychiatric therapy session he attends.
Wandering around the convention, Johnson finally finds a kindred spirit clinging to another cheap replica belt and hoping someone will pay attention to him: the Iron Sheik.