Muhammed Ali — The Greatest

June 3, 2016


The men in my family always loved boxing. I regularly saw fights on BBC TV and I listened at night to American Forces Radio to follow the American boxers. In May 1966 my Dad spent good money to take my grandfather and me to Highbury Stadium in London to watch the rematch between Muhammed Ali, by then world champion, and Britain’s hero Henry Cooper. I was already a (secret in that crowd) Ali supporter and wasn’t surprised when he stopped Cooper. It was a great night (even from a very long way from the ring) and a memory I shall cherish always.

Soon after he was challenging the draft and the Vietnam War (“No Viet Cong ever called me a nigger”) and the establishment itself, and he was even more of a hero to me. His pride and his sacrifice for his beliefs were inspirations for us all.  As was his calm demeanour while facing a future with Parkinson’s.  He deserved every moment of glory he ever received. Hard to believe there will be another anything like him in my lifetime.

I am saddened to lose him, but glad that his trials are over.

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June 3, 2016

One of the “pleasures” of getting old is the regular quarterly visit to the lab for blood work. I used to be terrified of needles but I have had so many now that it is almost second nature to relax and take them in stride.

I use the Lifelabs office up on 10th and I have always found them to be one of the most efficient organizations of any kind; they have a good system for getting people in and out of their office, first come first served, and their phlebotomists are generally highly skilled and painless.  I’m not sure what happened today, but when I got there well before nine, they were backed up and it took almost two hours for me to be done with it.

The staff, as always, were courteous and professional, but that cannot be said for a lot of the joes and janes waiting in line.

It is hard now to remember all the various pleas and excuses folks used to try to jump the queue, or not join the queue at all. But each of these tryers were, in effect, saying “I’m more important than all these other slobs sitting there patiently and I shouldn’t have to wait my turn.” Each was turned away, professionally and courteously, only to be replaced by the next self-important jackass.

And, sad to say, it was the older folks who were the worst. The millennials, and there were a few, were more or less content to sit back and fiddle with their electronic devices, while their seniors bitched and complained, loudly and obsessively. A couple of the loudest even stormed out, to the quiet applause of the rest of us.

If nothing else, age should teach us patience. It is unfortunate that so many get so old without ever learning that simple lesson.

Image: Celestial Mechanics

June 3, 2016

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