Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Only in America

This past Sunday's inclement weather -- a keen mixture of oppressive heat and torrential downpours -- kept me inside for much of the day, where in addition to watching the PGA and some beisbol, I cleaned out my old e-mails and tidied up the apartment. I'm a really fun guy, I know this.

But in the course of performing these cooler-than-heck tasks, I found a great e-mail I sent out to some friends about two and a half years ago. In it, I recount the most bizarre phone conversation I've ever had in my life, a call even more surreal than the time Gen. Wesley Clark called the office and I said, "Oh hey, Wes, what's up?" before realizing my lack of respect for an officer.

(Ir)Regardless, here's a completely accurate, 100 percent factual account of my crazy night on Monday, December 16, 2002:

I'm at Red Cowboy's Chelsea apartment, my brother and the New Mrs. having just returned from their two-week honeymoon the previous evening...so Mom and Dad Cowboy drive into the city to gush over the newly hitched couple's newly developed photographs and watch some video footage the amateurs captured from their multiple Island paradises. After a couple hours I reach my cranky point: I've now seen and heard just about everything I need to see and hear.

It's about 8:45 and the family wants to get some dinner, but I'm tired and just want to return home to watch the Titans pound the Patriots as part of the week's installment of Monday Night Football. So, for reasons passing understanding, I deny their invitation and subsequent begging to take me out for a free meal at Mr. Chow, the absolute greatest gourmet Chinese food in the world and nightly home to more celebrities than any other place in New York. Each shrimp is about $96, but you won't find a better meal in the city (or Beverly Hills or London or any of its global sites). And it's a lavish affair every time -- you'll never leave feeling less than royal.

Here's the part where I learn exactly why I should never turn down an invitation to Mr. Chow, besides the obvious. Red Cowboy calls me half way through their meal, and he's whispering anxiously: "Dude, Don King is here...he's walking around shaking hands with everyone." I start to get jealous but quickly realize they're in awe of a convicted felon and the world's greatest con-man, so I turn my attention back to McNair's downfield drive. Still, say what you will about Don King, the guy lights up a room like no other. To see him in action would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

On my end, in the hour since coming home I've taken a Xanax, drank a glass or two of wine and hit the ol' water pipe several times, and now I'm trying to tune out AGU's then-gal while she prattles on about something rather unimportant. That's when my cellular telephone rings. Thank goodness, no more talky from the Mouth on the opposing couch. But, damn, it's Red again, things must be getting good.

"Dude, can you hear that?" Red Cowboy reports that Don King is now yelling throughout the restaurant, screaming so loudly I can actually hear him in the background of the call. "He's taken over the place," Red says. King is now gesticulating wildly and hollering at everyone, and everyone's shouting back in complete glee. Dad Cowboy gets on the phone and describes him as "the best person in the world."

Then I can hear King yelling, "The emperor is here, the emperor is here" over and over, and the undisputed Heavyweight Champeen of the World Lennox Lewis walks in to the restaurant. I am near-literally kicking myself at this point for not going out to dinner with the family. How the hell did I turn this invite down? Why did I turn it down? What a d-bag I am!

Then my father says,"Ace, hold on a second, lemme see what I can do here." Now I'm really nervous and excited because my father is capable of just about anything in these situations. He's one of the more outgoing guys in the center-of-attention business and usually has no qualms about making a scene. After a minute or two or silence on the other end of the phone, a man with a British accent gets on the phone and says, "Hello, Ace?"

There was no question about this mystery man's identity: I was talking to the champ. It's not every day you're on the horn with the boxer who united all the championship belts by beating Holyfield and knocked out Tyson only six months earlier. And Lennox should have beaten Evander twice, but the two men fought to a very questionable draw in their first 1999 bout. Main-event boxing officially lost any credibility it had left after that first fight, but no matter how far the sport falls, it will always be thrilling to converse with the reigning Heavyweight Champ, especially if he's a 6'5'' beast of a Pugilist Specialist.

Immediately I break out the big guns. I say, "Holy shit, how are ya, buddy?" In his Ali G-like accent, he responds genuinely, "I'm doin' good, chap, where you at, I's jus' chillin' here wif your pop havin' a good time..." Now I'm freaking out, but I answer calmly, "I'm right down the fuckin' street, on 31st street. I cannot believe I turned down an invitation to be there, Lennox!"

The two of us chat back and forth for a good 90 seconds to two minutes, the details of our talk rather unimportant, much like AGU's then-gal's story. I'm not sure if he's under the wrong impression I'm a 13-year-old boy stuck at home while Mum and Pop hit the town, but he asks me questions and answers my queries like we'd been long-lost friends and he wants to catch up. I mention something about the Holyfield debacle and how I enjoy his fights, and he mentions something about the fabulous Peking Duck I was missing.

Finally, I end our conversation with, "You're the best champ in history, man, you should go out on top." He likes that last bit and we say goodbye. Not surprisingly, Lennox immediately moves up to my top five favorite athletes of all time. The Heavyweight Champ.

Looking back, I know that story's kind of anti-climactic. But you can see how that's be a cool evening for me. It would have been awesome if I ended our talk by challenging him to a bare-knuckle brawl at Steve Lombardi's Brooklyn abode, or if I told him I liked his chances for a Best Supporting Oscar for Ocean's Eleven, or if I had the nuts to tell him he held up David Tua for way too long instead of knocking him out earlier like he should have, or if I pointed a finger through the phone and said to him, "Touch me and I'll sue."

None of that may have happened, but I've conversed with the Champ. And that's pretty cool right there.


At 1:30 PM, Blogger jakezebra said...

Is Mom's surname Cowboy or Cowgirl? Does the last name change with the sex of the cowpoke?

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Our family surname is Cowboy. Always has been, always will be. The sex don't matter, yo.

It's not Sarah Silverwoman, is it? Harold Lederman's wife doesn't go by Lederwoman, does she? Okay Jim!

Although, and I'm not sure, but Alanis Morissette's father's surname might be Morriss.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger ethan said...

gambling with sarah michelle and talking kung pow with the champ. geez. the game should be called 8 degrees of ace cowboy.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger jakezebra said...

No, it's not Sarah Silverwoman, but she'd be a lot cooler if it was.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger MDS said...

Do you really think Lennox Lewis is the best champ in history, or were you just blowing smoke up his ass? If we're talking put everyone in their prime in a time machine and have them all fight, I think Lewis would be the best because he's so much bigger than the other champs. But if we're talking how he did against his own caliber of opponents, I'd say he's pretty much middle of the road among heavyweight champions.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Nah I don't think he's the best...but I did like blowin smoke at the Champ.


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