May 25th, 1965; Mohammed Ali vs. Sonny Liston for the Heavyweight Boxing Championship of the World
I was 13 in May of 1965. Two years earlier my parents had designed and had built our house on South 37th Street in Lincoln, Nebraska. My Dad was a Sales Manager at Dorsey Laboratories in Lincoln. They sold Triaminic and Triaminicol cold and cough syrups. My Dad travelled often to his western territories to buck up morale amongst the salesmen and tell them to keep selling, keep selling.
That May of 1965 was the big anticipated fight between Mohammed Ali and Sonny Liston. The fight was on pay per ticket at Pershing Auditorium (named after the famous WWI general). Dad had bought a bunch of tickets for his salesmen as a reward for their sales. Dad brought me along.
There were about 8 boisterous salesmen with my Dad and I at Pershing Auditorium as we
anxiously awaited the heavyweight bout. Then 30 seconds into the round with the “mystery punch”, Ali knocked out Sonny Liston! Dad’s big reward night was ruined.
But Dad regrouped. He said, “Let’s all go back to the Cornhusker Hotel and play some poker.” And Dad let me tag along. Dad even let me play in the poker game, and I did pretty well.
The salesmen were drinking beer and hard liquor. Somehow the question of who had had the worst meal experience on the road came up.
I figured it would be about bad diner food, but these guys had been around.
The first story was from a guy who was in Thailand. He was trying to sell a client on something and they took him to dinner. During the soup course the chef brought out a snake, cut off its head and poured the blood into everyone’s soup. The salesman said he ate the soup and made the sale.
The second story was also from a guy who’d been to Thailand. He was invited to an outdoor restaurant. He mentioned the Tiger Beer that all the Thais drink. A large black kettle was on a fire in the middle of the outdoor restaurant. It looked like the one those missionaries were cooked in in the cartoons.
A monkey, a live monkey, was brought out and dumped into the boiling water in the black kettle. The monkey only screamed for a few seconds. The salesman said, “No one screams like a monkey.”
The monkey was extracted from the kettle and placed on a table. A chef came up with a bone saw and sawed open the top of the monkey’s head. The chef then extracted the monkey’s brains. A real delicacy in Thailand it is. The salesman ate that and made the sale.
The third story was from a salesman who had flown to Shanghai, China. His wife wanted to
come along and insisted that they bring their little toy poodle Fifi with them. His wife, the salesman said, loved that little dog more than him.
At the restaurant in Shanghai, the maitre de noticed that they had brought their little dog with them to the restaurant. The language barrier may have caused some problems here. The maitre de took the dog which the husband and wife thought was for safekeeping during the meal.
After a delicious meal of Mongolian Beef, the salesman said he and his wife asked the maitre de about getting their dog.
“You ate him.” Said the maitre de.
The salesman said his wife was in therapy for months because of this and still
Everyone agreed that the Shanghai story won the contest.