What I’ve Been Reading: Undisputed Truth by Mike Tyson
This is no mere sports memoir. It’s almost Dickensian - harrowing in detail and epic in scope. Tyson emerges, brutal and pitiful, as an emblematic figure at the end of the American Century.
‘My school was right around the corner from our apartment, but sometimes my mother would be passed out from drinking the night before and wouldn’t walk me to school. It was then that the kids would always hit and kick me. They were, like, ‘Get the fuck out of here, nigga, you, like, nasty motherfucker.’ I would constantly get abused. They’d punch me in the face and I would run. We would go to school and these people would pick on us. Then we would go home and they’d pull out guns and rob us for whatever little change we had. That was hard-core, young kids robbing us right in our apartment building…
…I still feel a coward to this day because of that bullying. You never ever forget that feeling. The day that guy took my glasses and put them in the gas tank was the last day I went to school. That was the end of my formal education. I was seven years old and I never went back to class.’
'During those years, for me doing an eight ball a day, three and a half grams of coke, that was just a good night. The more I did, the more I wanted to do it alone. Maybe I was just a pig or maybe I didn't want people to see me that sloppy. By then there was nothing euphoric anymore about coke, it was just numbing.I wasn't even having sex with women with the coke anymore. Every now and then I had a girl with me but it was more to chill out than to have sex.
I was living a crazy existence. One day I’d be in the sewage with some street hooker trying to get her to have sex without a condom, and the next night I’d be in Bel-Air with my rich friends with a happy face on, celebrating Rosh Hashanah. Right about then I hit rock bottom. I had my morphine drip and my Cialis and my bottle of Hennessey. And seven hookers. All of a sudden the coke made me paranoid and I thought these women were trying to set me up and rob me. So I started beating them. That’s when I realized it wasn’t just demons around me, it was the devil himself. And he had won. I kicked those hookers out of the room and did the rest of my coke.’