We lost a pretty significant bit of our culture on Friday.
Succumbing to septic shock, Muhammad Ali passed away on Friday in Scottsdale, Arizona.
I won't pretend that he was a personal hero of mine, but I won't deny that he was to a whole lot of people. Neither will I launch into a detailed retelling of his life and career. There's an awful lot to that, too. A lot of it you know, some of it you don't.
And I sure as hell don't want to get into the whole political aspects of his life, either. We have too much of that kinda crap going on as it is.
I just would like to pass on a time when I saw him in person.
In early 1998, my ship, the aircraft carrier, USS George
|Jebel Ali...Muhammad Ali...relation? Probably not. |
Those names are about as common as Smith and Wang.
Still pretty freaky, huh?
And, as it was the one of the very few places overseas which didn't require us to anchor offshore, we could drink beer on the pier (hey, that rhymes! Take that, Pat Hatt).
|"OMIGOD! OMIGOD! OMIGOD! |
Someone said 'Wang!'"
Having bought some food and a drink from Abu Dhabi Fried Goat, I grabbed one of the chairs set up by the vendors and started reading a book.
|"Hey, don't knock it 'til you tried it. |
Tastes like chicken.
Which was sodomized by a goat.
Which is kinda our thing."
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Evidently, some bigwig was visiting. I figured it would be some Emirati muckety-muck wanting to trade a few barrels of oil for a George Washington ballcrap and some Monte Cristo sandwiches.
Well, wouldn't you know it, it was Muhammad Ali. He had some difficulty climbing the steps to the entryway and, even though I was close to fifty yards away, I could see him shaking slightly from Parkinsons. Even so, it was a real hoot to see the man who is so adored by millions worldwide.
Like I said before, he really wasn't a hero of mine. Even so, I couldn't resist acting like a starstruck doofus and shouted, "Hey, Champ!"
He halted for a moment, looked down at me, and shook his fist like he used to do to Howard Cosell. I hope he was giving me a sincere greeting.
And not berating me for not saving him any goat.
|"Float like a butterfly,|
sting like a bee.
That hideous Penwasser guy
didn't save any goat for me."
Much better than when I met Phil McConkey from the New York Giants in 1989.
|"Oh, yeah? Well, how many Super Bowls have you played in? |
That's what I thought. Punk."
Seems like a touchy-feely Facebook kind of a thing to write, but...
|Rest in peace|