All those women! "Once a girlfriend was watching one of my fights," he says, sadly, "and when I punched a guy in the face, she said, 'You were thinking of me, weren't you?' " So much damage!
And all those voices late at night. "You know what it's like to mug somebody?" he asks. "To get him down, like he's so much trash? And you know he feels like trash. And he's yelling"—Foreman actually whispers it, though—" 'Hey, hey, hey.' " The refrain of submission, surprise, even self-hatred that accompanied each awful victimization, every one performed with carefree cruelty. He hears them all, and there were plenty.
Late at night he allows the voices to rattle around in his head, because you can't—and, as he well knows, you shouldn't—be forgiven. He plots new schemes, a follow-up to the grill, perhaps this calorie-counter idea he's been toying with. He calls friends in a fake voice, a surprising imitation of Kingfish, the Amos 'n' Andy character. He taps out e-mails. To a friend whose son has gotten in some trouble, he writes, "How is everyone?" His innocuousness sheathes the arrow that always hits its mark; the friend knows the concern was specific, attuned to his sorrow.
Not long ago Foreman had agreed to minister at the wedding of the daughter of a longtime friend, Bill Caplan, a p.r. man who earned his loyalty a long, long time ago. Caplan once told Foreman after an amateur loss not to worry, he'd win some fights. Because Caplan was wearing a tux at the time, being the ring announcer, Foreman assumed in his tremendous naivet� that he was the owner of the building and knew what he was talking about. He was mightily encouraged. Anyway, the wedding: When the date was set, Foreman e-mailed Caplan that it unfortunately conflicted with a speaking engagement in Florida for the Hilton corporation, which was going to pay $50,000.
But that (imagine the Internet voice of Kingfish here) he would come anyway.
Late at night he sends these e-mails, and many more like them, each one of them the barest compensation for a life lived imperfectly, like any life, of course. He just taps them out, into the wee Texas hours. And coast to coast, the people sleep like babies.