Ali was a great man, and everyone here will miss him. He was one of my closest friends. I met him in college, where he was screaming at the Dean of Studies. I was waiting next in line, to get her to sign something. I think he was fighting either about Affirmative Action or letting the Kung Fu Movie Club back into the campus theatre. As soon as Ali stormed out, I ran in and got her to sign the form, and then hustled after him. I bought him dinner at the crappy campus café, just to talk to him and learn how you could have balls of that size. By the end of our nachos, he was screaming at the bar tender for his taste in music. It’s not a big surprise that a heart attack killed him.
So next week, I imagine, Ali will cure heart attacks. It will likely be the first medical innovation based on offensive medicine. Attacking hearts, probably. That’ll be why no one thought of it before.
By the end of the year, he’ll have used his fame to found the world’s largest television network devoted to martial arts movies. It will spur a renaissance in the genre, and he will probably star in one where he fights social injustice with compassion and Capoeira.
Having both won the Nobel Prize for curing heart attacks and won the hearts of the world with his digitally enhanced fists, Ali will ride superstardom to political office. There, he will do what he told us all he’d do for the last twenty years: get those Washington assholes to listen to reason. I’ve had hundreds of political discussions with Ali and I’m still not entirely sure what that means, but I know that as soon as he gets into a room with those Senators that he hated, he will fix the entire system overnight.
His newfound axis of social policy will change the world we live in. He will revitalize our space program. He will, I think, make both Israel and Iran extremely unhappy, and pride himself on it. Surely in Year One of Ali’s reign, he will force Axl Rose to stop ruining Guns ‘N Roses. Given how many impossible problems Ali believed could be solved by people ceasing to be stupid, I imagine he’ll have fixed the world before the midterm elections. We’ll all be so grateful that he’s still with us.
That’s what I’m going to imagine Ali’s future is like tonight. I invite you to join me in a well-earned delusion for a dear friend. It’s not fair that he’s gone, and I think the least we can do is lie about what could have been for a while. Let Ali have his way tonight.