December 23, 2010 by David Gillaspie
With Matchmaker Ken Kesey
Great fights all have build-up, a sense of the inevitable, just before it goes all wrong.
Dan Gable would finish his college career undefeated if he got through his last college match.
George Foreman would be the greatest if he knocked out The Greatest.
Sometimes it’s for the better.
Ken Kesey would be the greatest voice of his generation if he stayed between the lines. Instead, he’s the greatest Mixed Martial Author Matchmaker, or MMAM, which is no small thing.
In that role, Kesey makes matches to keep the competition even. He spoke with both camps, Obama and Palin, to settle their differences before he made a date in the octagon.
He spoke to both women on a SEU-8410 telephone conference call from a creamery in Springfield, Oregon.
“Uh, yes, this is Ken Kesey. Who’s on the line?” he said.
“Are you in The Whitehouse?”
“I’d rather not say. What sort of phone are you on?”
“Okay, me too. Yes, I’m in The Whitehouse.”
They heard a cough on the line.
“Sarah Palin is supposed to be on this call, too,” Kesey said.
“I’m here, Ken. And I want you to know I loved your new book,” Palin said.
“Mrs. Palin, I’ve been dead ten years. I don’t have a new book.”
“You didn’t write Acid Christ by Mark Christensen?”
“No, I didn’t. Mark Christensen wrote Acid Christ.”
“Well, what do you know. Something new every day up here, Ken. Mr. Christensen seems like he’d know how to treat a lady.”
“Mrs. Palin, do you know why we’re on this call?”
“Call me Sarah. And yes I do. The Queen of England won’t fight me, and neither will Eleanor Roosevelt. I’m getting into your Mixed Martial Author thing one way or another.”
“Is that why you bait Mrs. Obama every chance you get?” Kesey asked.
“Come on, Ken. Just girls being girls. If you can’t take the heat, then turn down the fireplace is what I say.”
Michelle Obama cut in. “Hello, Sarah, good to hear your voice.”
“Who is this?”
“You don’t sound like Ken Kesey. He’s the one making the match.”
“We’re on a conference call,” Kesey said.
“Well aren’t you two fancy.”
“Sarah, if you want to fight in the Mixed Martial Author series, you have to work your way up. You have to show you deserve a match. No one starts at the top, and Michelle Obama is the top.”
“Mister, you’re talking to a former Vice President candidate. What more does it take?”
Mrs. Obama cut in. “You don’t need me for this, do you Ken?”
“No, ma’am. Thank you for coming on the line.”
Kesey and Palin heard the click of a dead line.
“That was Michelle, wasn’t it? Running away again. It figures,” Palin said.
“She’s busy with her daughters, Sarah. She’s a very active parent in their lives.”
“Don’t make it sound so special, Ken. Mine was on Dancing With The Stars.”
“Congratulations on that. Let’s get back to your fight. Michelle Obama is out. Hillary Clinton is available, though. How about Hillary?”
“Now, Ken. You know and I know I can’t fight Hillary. She didn’t even make it out of the primaries. I was on the ticket for the general election. Why would I fight a loser like Hillary?”
“Because Geraldine Ferraro isn’t ready. Hillary will take this fight. Will you?”
“No. She scares me. There’s something in her eye you don’t often see in a woman. I’ve seen it in a grizzly bear, and Todd,and I’ll tell you this much, I’m not fighting a grizzly bear.”
“You’re a Momma Grizz, aren’t you?”
“Those are just words, Ken. You ought to know that. You’re a word guy. A real grizzly bear is real.”
“So is an MMAuthor fight, Sarah. It’s not fixed. The party doesn’t hand you a new career, unless you’re Dick Cheney. You don’t get into the octagon by appointment and get a new wardrobe to walk around in. You go in as a fighter, and you fight. If you don’t, you get hurt. It can be real bad if you’re not ready. Are you ready?”
“We can talk about it.”
“It’s not a debate. Either your ready, or you’re not. Either you’re on the bus, or you’re not. Which is it?”
Kesey heard a click on his secure phone, then a dead line.