Boxing with Ideologues...
I viewed my chances of winning at a little less then equal going into the bout. Maybe I had about a 42-percent chance of taking home the purse? Fact is, I didn't know. I’m not really good with percentages.
While I’m not out of shape, by any means, I’m certainly not in shape, either. Forty-seven years old, smoker, lover of cheese, enthusiastic returner of cheese’s affection…Christ, what was I thinking? I actually just typed “enthusiastic returner of cheese’s affection??”
Clearly, he had me rattled.
Still…from the picture…the guy looks old. From his stories…he was doing shit…jobs, family, all that crap from like before Sputnik got launched. What if he keels-over right there on the mat? I would feel bad. I would win…but I would feel bad. What the hell? What If I keel-over right there on the mat? It’s not like 47-years-old is young. A lot of non-cheese loving 47-year olds die each year…I mean I don’t have hard and fast numbers, but I should think that it stands to reason. Also, I hadn't really been training. Pushing images of what, had suddenly become my imminent cheese-related death, from my mind; I resolved to keep my eye on the prize, my finger on the pulse, my feet on the move, and my head in the game. A small piece of smoked brie would settle my nerves…NO! …Sharpe cheddar…
The hot lights burned brightly down on the 24-square-feet of stretched canvas. Leaning against the ropes…I sought to moderate my breathing and clear my throat. Cheese is a phlegmatic mistress. I tossed back the last of my Mountain Dew, moved my neck back and forth all boxer-like, and imagined the crowd hiding beyond the bright lights. I gave a nod to my trainer…Liberal rage…Liberal rage nodded back…
Grabbing up my 8-ounce Everlasts, I slipped them on my hands, pulled away from the ropes and did a quick dance…a taste of my footwork. I looked good…I’m not going to lie…5’ 10”, 185 lbs, 24-inch reach to the keyboard. I was in blue shorts, red Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops…my opponent…not really sure…his profile picture is kind of hard to tell…but like I said…he looked old. Ghost32.
ROUND 1—FIGHT (Ding, Ding)
I moved to the center of the ring entitled, “Sarah Palin vs. The Palin Haters: Why the Gaffes Don’t Matter.” Ghost32 appeared content to hug the right side of the ring. I assumed the classic boxer stance…gleaned from my many viewings of Bruce Willis’ character in Pulp Fiction…I managed a series of jabs that failed to land as Ghost32 danced across the ring dismissively.
My feet moving rhythmically to Al Green’s “Love and Happiness,” which, happened to be running through my mind…(Damn Quentin Tarantino’s cool soundtrack choices!)…I moved in, hands held high…I managed to land a particularly snarky comment that got his attention. Pleased with myself I skittered along the peripherals of the ring.
Ghost32 marshaled his strength and moved towards me. With a flurry of blows, he detailed Governor Palin’s reason’s for leaving the governorship before the end of her term. He had me against the ropes with the suggestion that I purchase her book, Going Rogue, for a fuller understanding of her rational. I was casting about in desperation for the spit bucket…in case I felt the need to vomit…when the round ended.
Removing myself to my corner, Liberal rage handed me a Mountain Dew, and a wrapped cheese stick that did me no good with my boxing gloves on. I simply held it while Liberal rage poured water over my head, smeared Vaseline on the abrasions on my cheek, and kept up an ongoing monologue in my ear…
“…remember what I said kid...go for the body…go for the body! He’s a Tea partier…there is nothing in the head…go for the body…you gotta get his hands down! And what the hell…are you dancing to Al Green out there?? Pick up the pace kid…go for the body!”
I wasn’t so sure. There was something in that head…if only stubborn obstinacy.
ROUND 2—FIGHT (Ding, Ding)
I moved back to my accustomed place…the center, while Ghost32 clung steadfastly to the right. In a series of well formulated paragraphs detailing the need for the social safety net, the dangerous avarice of corporations, and the reasoned need for careful compromise…I worked his body as directed.
Each punch was informed with the common-sense of Andrew Jackson, the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, and the earnest practicality exhibited by, both, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. I was truly impressive. My gloves were weighted with the informed spirit of the great muck-raking traditions of Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens. It was all to no avail, however.
Like a pile-driver from the right, Ghost32’s, detailed response came in the form of an eighty-paragraph answer, in which, he moved through each of my points like the Nazi juggernaut carving through Poland. Due to an unfortunate generality on my part, I was put immediately on the defensive. As I was scrambling backwards, explaining that I didn’t actually want to expropriate the wealth of the corner mom and pop grocery store, I blew out a flip-flop and fell to the canvas. Landing on my back, the air was forced from my lungs and my internal CD player switched to Jimmy Buffet’s Margarita-ville….
As I made it to my knees I knew I was not going to win this one. Worse, I could tell that he was only toying with me. In the time it took me to complete my meager five paragraph rebuttal…he had posted seven other comments on various hubs, published six hubs on a variety of subjects and…for all I knew…probably built a barn somewhere. Crap.
Back in my corner I was a mess. The left side of my face was swelled, a tooth was loose, and my left eye was closing. I jammed my toe when I blew out my flip-flop and I think I squished the cheese stick I had put in my pocket.
“I’m throwing in the towel kid,” Liberal rage said kindly, “you’re whipped.”
“No," I croaked. "I’m gonna go the last round…”
“Are you kidding me?? He’s ripping you apart with arcane Sarah Palin trivia?! Christ…I thought he was going to start on how she saved the Town of Wasilla through her prudent negotiations with the parking meter-maids! With dates and times of meetings no less!”
“Right?” I allowed, “And he types like the wind! I have to go the last round…maybe I can get a decision…all I need is for him to do is concede that a dialogue is possible…common ground can be found??”
“No.You are done.” I grabbed his hand as it reached for the (throwing-in) towel…
“Cut this eye open so I can see,” I snarled, “Find me another flip-flop so I can dance, and don’t you DARE throw that towel in!” I glared through my one good eye.
ROUND 3—FIGHT (Ding, Ding)
In truth, my brave bravado was forced, feigned and faked. It was with trepidation that I reached out with my gloved hand and hit the “read more” button. Out rolled his answer, making the Unabomber’s testament appear a post-it-note by comparison in length. I eagerly scrolled down to find signs of a victory by decision...
(As I looked, Ghost 32 publishes two more hubs. Sigh…)
The blow, when it came, was unexpected. I don’t know why it was unexpected…I mean really…did you see what happened in round 2? It came in the form of a seventy-two word comment…
“I realize you're sincere about seeing Sarah Palin as divisive. One thing I haven't stated: I believe we NEED to be divisive in this country when we have core principles at stake. Not just from one side of the aisle, but from both. There's a reason it's said that "if a compromise is truly fair, nobody is happy". And you don't DARE compromise on the issues nearest and dearest to your heart”~~Ghost32.
I never heard the count. I was on my back. I couldn’t hear any music…I think my internal CD player had broken in the fall. Awww...I just bought that...I closed my eyes…
Later that night…
The paparazzi had left and most of the building was silent. A few Hubbers here and there…a couple in the library reading Optimization stuff…a few more up in the “sick animal” hubs taking care of the critters. I believe the kitchen staff had already gone home…Those that I passed in the halls didn’t seem to notice my bruises, bent pride, or the mixed-matched flip-flops. I saw Five One Cows running down the halls randomly touching people on the shoulder…before disappearing through the building. I smiled. I like Five One Cows.
I slipped out a back door of Hub-Ville. There was a cab waiting. It was one of those cool old Checker-types and I piled into the backseat. The driver was cute..I noted her I.D. as I gave her my address…Esmarelda Villalobos…
I couldn’t resist, “Hello Esmarelda Villalobos…my name is Thought Sandwiches.”
“mmmm…hello Thought Sandwiches. What does that name mean?”
“I’m an American honey. Our names don’t mean shit…"