Seven Total Badasses with Totally Wussy Hobbies

June 18, 2009

When a real man spends his days blowing stuff up, breaking wooden boards with his face, or turning other hard working guys into crumpled masses of flesh and whimpering, he needs equally manly ways to unwind. But these really wussy hobbies of the rich, famous, and badass have us wondering why they don't go through constant bouts of nervous, fist-flying breakdowns.

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7. Jackie Chan

The world's most famous movie stuntman faces the risk of at least three compound fractures and a cracked skull every time he steps foot on a movie set. In his vast collection of epic movies, he has jumped over moving trains, dangled from doorknobs at high altitudes, and put his crotch at an uncomfortable distance from a moving band saw. He has broken just about everything a human being can break (including, I assume, his heart) all for our entertainment. But when the Drunken Master goes home each night, he unwinds by organizing his large and out-of-control teacup collection, a hobby that has grown so large that he has to buy custom-made cabinets to house them all in his Hong Kong home. Apparently, his friends and visitors all bring a lovely cup and saucer whenever they stop by and Chan has kept every single one of them. Chris Tucker's contribution must be the loudest and most overpriced.

6. Herschel Walker

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Lots of football players have slapped on a pair of tights and learned to walk on their tippy-toes during the off-season. It builds muscles, increases strength, and lets you hoist hot chicks over your head without fear of a financial reprimand from the NFL's head office. Walker, a Heisman Trophy winner and one of the NFL's top 10 all-time most productive rushers, took his tights to a higher level. Walker took to the stage with the Fort Worth Ballet Company during his stint with the Dallas Cowboys in the late 1980s and performed routines to the tune of George Balanchine's "Firebird" and Peter Martins' "Magic Flute" in the same venue that ballet God Mikhail Baryshnikov once pranced on following his defection from Russia.  His performances attracted a packed crowd including some hardcore Cowboys fans who had never before been to a ballet. That not only introduced Walker to the professional ballet stage, but also introduced professional ballet to the beer guy.

5. Vin Diesel

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It's hard to imagine this bald-headed tough guy doing anything in his spare time other than bench-pressing midgets four at a time and smoothing his scalp to make it more aerodynamic. The Pitch Black and Fast & Furious star is actually quite the geek. He has been an avid Dungeons & Dragons player since he was a teenager and well into his days as a nightclub bouncer. He and his friends would create authentic looking maps of mythical lands and sessions would turn into boisterous live action role-playing scenes of broadsword-toting meatheads. He even created his own character, a witch hunter named Melkor, which appeared as a tattoo on his stomach when he played the title role in XXX

4. Rosey Grier

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This former football player has the kind of life that most Navy Seals dream about: a stellar college football career, a member of the Los Angeles' Rams "Fearsome Foursome," and even a stint as a bodyguard who famously subdued the assassin of a rising presidential candidate. That dream comes to a screeching halt when they realize that Rosey is also one of the world's most famous macramé and needlepoint artists. In fact, he was so terrorizing with the thread that, according to the Saturday Evening Post, he released his own officially licensed line of needlepoint kits and a book titled Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men that recently became a viral Internet hit among sports fans.


3.  Al Capone

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The notorious Chicago crime boss of the '20s and '30s ran through more liquor and prostitutes on the streets of Chicago than half of the state's legislature. But underneath the pinstriped suits and wave of rampant gunfire lied the heart of a man who just wanted to teach the world to sing. Capone served a stint in Alcatraz for tax evasion charges in the early 1930s. But when he wasn't bribing guards or fighting syphilis, he spent his remaining years writing sad love songs. One of the songs, "Madonna Mia," sold at an auction house and tens of thousands of dollars and his "fan club" recorded and released a cut of the song on the internet. It's available to download from their website, Amazon.com, or your favorite underground speakeasy.

2. Johnny Depp

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The man who single-handedly made being a pirate, a killer barber, and a man with scissors for hands cool again has a rather unusual way of winding down after a hard day on the set. He plays with dolls. Of course, part of it has to do with having two kids whose world famous movie star father can not only buy them the entire Ken and Barbie collection, but can even hire life-size replicas (I feel so sorry for the eunuch who has to play Ken). But Depp also admits that he really gets into the doll-on-doll action and says "It's actually one of the only things I'm good at."

1. Russell Crowe

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When he's not gaining weight for a film or punching out random strangers who recognize him, the Beautiful Mind star knits in his spare time. He picked up the hobby while his wife was pregnant and he's been stitching sweaters and potholders ever since.  Rumor has it that the slow and steady hobby helps him calm down and quells his hot temper that regularly got him some face time in the supermarket tabloids. That is until someone calls him a wuss or a sissy for his choice of anger management. So I'd just like to be the first to apologize for bringing back the old Russell Crowe.

A special thanks goes out to E. Mitchell for help with this feature.

Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, reporter, humorist and Russell Crowe punching bag living in Texas. He can be found on the web at DannyGallagher.net.

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