Laughing all the way to the buffet

Kevin Cowherd

May 08, 1992|By Kevin Cowherd

Boxer George Foreman, who named his four sons George and trained on an all-you-can-eat diet, was honored by the Harvard Lampoon for his lighthearted approach to boxing and life.

-- From wire services Thank you for that nice round of applause, and let me say how nice it is to be here at Harvard, especially at lunch time.

People say to me: "George, let me get this straight. You got four sons named George?"

Yep, I say. "That cause you any problems, George?" they say. "Four boys named George, George, George and George running around the house?"

Nope, I say. Best thing I ever did.

"Uh-huh," they say.

Look what we save on monogrammed sweaters, I say.

"Well," they say.

Then they walk away muttering and shaking their heads, like ol' George took one too many shots to the head from Joe Frazier.

The thing is, that's serious business about the monogrammed sweaters.

Right now we got six of them in the family. Each one has a big ol' GF in Gothic script over the heart. Sort of like those sweaters Laverne and Shirley used to wear. Or maybe it was just Laverne.

Was Laverne the one with the funny accent? And the chewing gum? Yeah, Laverne. Man, she tore me up! They both did. And that guy who played Squiggy. That boy could act!

But back to the sweaters. They come in navy, teal, port, camel, yellow and a color called stone, which is sort of an off-white.

I wear one for a while and give it to George as soon as he's big enough. George just passes his on down to George, who passes his down to George, and then George gets to wear it.

It stretches the clothing budget, let me tell you. 'Course, it can lead to some tension, too.

Like the time George came to me all teary-eyed and upset, sort of the way Kenny Norton looked when I got through whupping him.

"Daddy," George said, "all the kids at school are wearing X-caps and T-shirts and baggy shorts and Fila shoes. And I'm wearing a stupid sweater with an anagram."

Monogram, I said. A sign of identity usually formed of the combined initials of a name.

"Whatever," he said.

An anagram, I said, is a word or phrase made by transposing the letters of another word or phrase.

"I want one of those satin jackets like Arsenio wears," George said.

I said we'd think about it. The younger generation . . . I don't understand it. What's wrong with monogrammed sweaters?

Larry Holmes wears monogrammed sweaters. Earnie Shavers wears monogrammed sweaters. George Chuvalo wears monogrammed sweaters, and that man got beat up so bad you wonder how he even lifts his arms to put his sweater on!

But forget the sweaters for a minute. Naming all four boys George makes discipline a whole lot easier, too, let me tell you.

Sometimes, just for fun, I'll look up from the dinner table and yell: "George, eat your green beans!"

And I got a deep voice, you know? Startles people.

Anyway, all of a sudden you see four forks working overtime, moving faster than Ali's hands, RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT!

Kenny Norton had fast hands, too. Lord Almighty! I knocked him out in two, but before that he was throwing punches you couldn't even see, jabs, uppercuts, coming at me in a blur.

Then I caught him with a straight right and the man went down -- BOOM! -- like a big ol' oak tree. Crying for his mama. Crying worse than young George the time I accidentally stabbed him with that fork at the buffet table.

"Don't you get in my way when I'm reaching for the turkey breast," I told him. "Now stop that bleeding and pass me those chicken wings."

Wings. Man, I love . . . OK. Let's talk about food for a moment.

People say: "George, you're an old man. And real fat. And bald. Big, fat bald man your age has no business in the ring."

I'll tell you why I keep fighting. They keep throwing money at me. Twenty million to fight this guy. Forty million to fight that guy. And I keep beating these young pups! And eating whatever I want!

All those young fighters, Evander Holyfield, Trevor Berbick, eat like monks. Half a strip steak at dinner. Little bitty portion of mashed potatoes. Garden salad.

Me, I'm training on meatball parmesan sandwiches. Hostess fruit pies. Barbecue beef. I got Sarah Lee trucks backing up to the kitchen door. Who's having more fun than me?

And today I got an award from Hardees. Harvard.

You know what I mean.

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