The first “Chuck Norris facts” surfaced in 1983 after the success of Lone Wolf McQuade. Starting as whispers in the corner of dark barrooms, and as notes passed between nervous school children, they soon gained momentum and spread across the globe. Facts like:
Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.
Death once had a near-Chuck-Norris experience.
And, Chuck Norris has counted to infinity… twice.
At first, he shared the jokes with his family at the dinner table and chuckled along, but over the years, as their number and popularity increased, the jokes began to grate on Chuck Norris’s nerves.
Chuck Norris beat the sun in a staring contest.
The flu gets a Chuck Norris shot every year.
Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.
It got to the point where he couldn’t see the humor at all.
“I mean, some of the jokes aren’t even accurate!” shouted an exasperated Chuck Norris in 1989, as he absent-mindedly sent his sparring partner, Hulk Hogan, flying through the gym wall in his yellow spandex.
Chuck Norris grew depressed, wanted to change his image—to go another direction in life—but he was trapped by his own massive success. Everyone wanted him to be the tough, stoic, karate-chopping Chuck Norris they respected, admired and loved.
“Sometimes I just want to quit and do something completely different,” Chuck Norris once said to his good friend and confidant, Steven Seagal.
Steven stroked his black goatee several times before he responded.
“We don’t get to choose,” he began in a low voice. “We are who we are and we do what we do. I, for one, kick ass, rock on guitar, sell energy drinks and get accused of sexual assault. For you it’s the whole Christianity thing and giving a thumbs up.”
Stroking his own glorious beard, Chuck Norris frowned, “I guess you’re right.”
But Chuck Norris wasn’t consoled by his Vladimir-Putin-supporting friend and read more facts online.
Chuck Norris can sneeze with his eyes open.
Chuck Norris’s belly button is a power outlet.
Chuck Norris’s tears cure cancer. Too bad Chuck Norris has never cried.
Like a taunt or feint from a dangerous opponent on the battlefield, Chuck felt threatened by the jokes. It was almost as if the whole world were hoping he’d slip up and make a mistake.
Meanwhile, like a giant sequoia up through a humongous boulder, a vision of a different life grew inside of the legendary man.
Years passed. Chuck Norris divorced and remarried. He fathered more children, did more movies and, from 1993 to 2001, starred in a beloved TV show. And yet, with monk-like patience the sequoia inside him grew and grew.
This feeling finally culminated one evening in the summer of 2012, at the age of 72, after the premiere of Expendables 2.
While karate chopping ice cubes from a block of ice he’d carried back from the peak of Mount Everest, Chuck Norris came to a profound realization.
The other way of life he’d been dreaming of, the one he felt calling to him all his life, was, and had always been, within his reach. Once and for all, nothing stood in Chuck Norris’s way other than Chuck Norris himself.
Well, no more.
He’d stop doing karate. He wouldn’t be an actor or a fighter or whatever the world wanted him to be. It was suddenly all so clear—he would be a pastry chef.
Instead of punching, kicking and spouting cheesy, tough-guy lines, he’d mix ingredients and knead dough. Instead of fake Uzis and grenade launchers, he’d use real rolling pins and baking sheets. He’d decorate cupcakes and cookies with icing and exchange small talk with the customers of Chuck Norris’s Pastry Shop.
‘And how are we on this wonderful day?’ he’d ask as they enter.
‘Please do visit us again,’ he’d say as they leave.
Chuck Norris gazed up at the stars and contemplated his place in the Universe. Could it be? he wondered. Could warm, delectable pastries be the thing to finally quell the raging fire inside of me?
But he had guests waiting.
He took the bucket of ice cubes he’d chopped back into his sprawling mansion where his young, former-model wife and famous, celebrity friends waited to dine on the meal his cook and kitchen staff had prepared.
Soon, thought Chuck Norris. Soon I’ll leave all of this foolishness behind.
Rest assured—The Chuck Norris Pastry Shop is coming. I admit, I thought The Chuck Norris Pastry Shop might’ve opened its doors by now—say, back in 2013 or 2014, but that’s OK. There’s no need to worry—for, like a colossal avalanche gaining momentum on its way down the steep side of a mountain, the yearnings of Chuck Norris’s soul cannot be impeded.
Pete Able’s work has appeared in Forge Journal, Literally Stories, Philadelphia Stories, Robot Butt, Defenestration, Little Old Lady Comedy and Johnny America. He lives in southern New Jersey.