Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Joe Frazier and Vampire Birds

I woke this morning too early (forgot to change the clock in the bedroom...) and when I checked my emails, I had a CNN breaking news that Joe Frazier had died.  I never liked boxing or followed it one bit, but my cousin Jeff and I spent a lot of time talking about Joe Frazier. 

For a time, we lived with my aunt and uncle and their three boys.  During this time, about 11 years old, I was obsessed with my tape recorder- you know, the old rectangular kind with big buttons.  Pressing PLAY and RECORD at the same time brought magic.  I had signs that said, “Shhhhh.  Taping,” that I’d pin on the door.  I had a microphone that I would interview people with.  My cousins and brother and I would do skits.

Jeff’s specialty was doing the sports casting for our news show.  He was 11 months younger than me and the funniest kid around.  I would do serious news in a manly voice and it would make no sense.  But Jeff would do an impeccable impersonation of Howard Cosell and yet spin it to make it hilarious.  He could also do President Jimmy Carter.  The best was when he did both.

“Ha-i.  I’m President Jimmy Carta.”  “I’m Howard Cosell.”

Then he’d call a fight between Mohamed Ali and Joe Frazier as both and I’d nearly wet my pants laughing.  Once, he had a bird fly in and bite Joe Frazier on the neck.  “And he died.”

Really, can it get any funnier?  Not to an 11-year-old with an amazing cousin.

So thanks, Joe Frazier, for whatever it was you did in boxing AND  for the good times we had with birds biting you on the neck until death.

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