Today, as Mike Tyson said, "God came for his champion. So long great one.", Muhammad, aka Cassius Clay, Ali left the planet.
When someone of his stature dies, the conventional term for the final act, everyone and their brother jumps on the bandwagon with accolades and mushy seemingly heartfelt wishes.
But where were all these bleeding hearts the day before Ali took the stairway to heaven? Or the umpteen days before that? They were, of course, just like the truth of Ali's demise which happened long before all the crocodile tear shedders for him, nowhere to be found. Too busy to acknowledge Ali was for all intents and purposes already DOA.
Those last fights, the senseless head poundings he took, put the man down for the count. His managers said he wanted the fame, but that was bullshit -- they wanted the money and talked him into the ring.
Those blows suffered for nothing other than making his managers richer made him into a punch-drunk pugalist, whose fighting days were legend but whose life became one of hardship and heartbreak.
Yes, anyone who knows the truth knows what happened to Ali, and though they occassionally wheeled him out publicly, like some King Kong chained and tethered by mental deterioration, the Champ could do nothing more than smile and maybe hold up that famous left hand.
When RK read of his passing, which was all of 10 minutes ago, we knew we had to memoralize what no one else will dare to say.
Like Jesus of Nazareth Ali died for all our sins -- a world hell bent only on and for the mighty dollar.
And like the Judas who convinced Ali to get into the ring for those last few fights millions and millions, countless millions, of people get into a different ring and take blows to the head that have rendered them senseless, unable to tell wrong from right and right from what is our Right as human beings endowed by the Creator.
RK got to meet Ali many years ago, we walked up to him stuck out our right hand, he did likewise and we said "Great to Meet You Champ". His skin was a soft as a baby's bottom, his hand warm and his grip still strong. But that far away look in his eye, and his inability to say anything told us, as his bodyguard led him away, his mind was damaged beyond repair.
So now he is totally gone, and like the artist named prince and Michael Jackson -- all men who were Greats -- their losing struggles with life will never be told, obliterated; their passings celebrated by all but understood by none.
This is the way it goes these days, truth lost under a thick veneer of sloppy sentimentality.
"Life is for the living" someone long ago quipped, the living see their own mortality in the passing of others. But that's just the tip of the iceberg to the story of life and death.