Tuesday, December 17, 2013

the last book I ever read (Mike Tyson's Undisputed Truth, excerpt two)

from Undisputed Truth by Mike Tyson with Larry Sloman:

After that first time, I was going in and out of Spofford like it was nothing. Spofford became like a time-share for me. During one of my visits there we were all brought to the assembly room where we watched a movie called The Greatest, about Muhammad Ali. When it was over, we all applauded and were shocked when Ali himself walked out onto the stage. He looked larger than life. He didn’t have to even open his mouth—as soon as I saw him walk out, I thought, I want to be that guy. He talked to us and it was inspirational. I had no idea what I was doing with my life, but I knew that I wanted to be like him. It’s funny, people don’t use that terminology anymore. If they see a great fight, they may say, “I want to be a boxer.” But nobody says, “I want to be like him.” There are not many Alis. Right then I decided I wanted to be great. I didn’t know what it was I’d do but I decided that I wanted people to look at me like I was on show, the same way they did to Ali.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t get out of Spofford and do a three-sixty. I was still a little sewer rat. My situation at home was deteriorating. After all those arrests and special schools and medications, my mother had no hope for me at all. But she had never had any hope for me, going back to my infancy. I just know that one of those medical people, some racist assh*le, some guy who said that I was f*cked up and developmentally retarded, stole my mother’s hope for me right then and there. And they stole any love of security I might have had.

I never saw my mother happy with me or proud of me doing something. I never got a chance to talk to her or know her. Professionally that would have no effect on me, but emotionally and psychologically, it was crushing. I would be with my friends and I’d see their mothers kiss them. I never had that. You’d think that if she let me sleep in her bed until I was fifteen, she would have liked me, but she was drunk all the time.

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