Until disease induced dementia inevitably overtakes my memories of a life lived poorly, I will never forget where I was on the day that Mike Tyson got knocked out for the first time. Those were the days. I was living in a pantry in New Jersey at the time. After my stint in the Navy I had somehow I had wound up in New Brunswick, living with two other guys on the second floor of a house, a couple of blocks from the campus of Rutgers University.
Al was one of the guys that I lived with, and it was because of a chance meeting with his girlfriend at the time, that I ended up sleeping in a room so small that the door had to be shut before you could lay a single mattress down. Today Al is a big time baller, he ended up as an editor at one of the major newspapers on the west coast, but back then he was just some burner who was into The Dead before I was. He is a great guy, now and then, and it is because of him, that I was watching the previously unheard of Buster Douglas, smack the snot out of the man who I, and many thought was unbeatable. His friends became my friends because we had formed a fast friendship based in common coolness.
You couldn’t torture the names of the guys that were there that day out of me, but I had hung around with them all many times and they were good bros. Their house was home to eight or maybe nine, and the common room had a large screen T.V. bordered with couches that made the space between them seem quite insignificant when we were all watching a movie or, as we were on that day, a big sporting event. It was a cool scene over at their place, and I had spent a lot of time with these guys, so it was a familial crowd that was present when I lost my mind watching Tyson’s unexpected demise.
Between us all was a pony keg that we could mostly all reach from our seats, and the room was packed, with standing room only spilling back into the dining room. We had all gathered early in honor of the squat silver tank with a spigot to refresh our thirst, but the occasion overshadowed the greatness of unlimited beer on demand. By the time the moment arrived, when Iron Mike’s big fat head hit the canvas, we were all primed and ready to see another Tyson knockout, but what we saw on that big screen in that little room surprised us all.
When it happened we all unanimously rose to our feet, and everyone had something different to add to the cacophony that filled the room after Buster Douglas struck his momentous blow. Some of us screamed hype at Buster and some defamed Tyson, but we all screamed and not because we were out of beer, because we still had plenty. We lost our shit because the Big Man who couldn’t be beat got his clock cleaned by some guy none of us had ever heard of before. Pandemonium ensued among us, as the replay of a man who, nowadays sports a snazzy black facial tattoo, incoherently tried to stuff his mouth guard, lying worthless on the mat beside his prone body, sideways back into his mouth. Good times.