I am sure that most parents of male children are acquainted with the “versus” ritual that takes the form of a question: Who would win in a fight between two individuals or groups? The discussions based on these vital issues generally follow the pattern of traditional Godzilla movie titles – “Godzilla vs. King Kong,” for example, or “Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster.”
The difference, however, is that unlike Godzilla movies, the outcomes of the fanciful matches envisaged by my sons could never be determined, and so they became the subjects of endless dinner table debates. I still remember three of the most heated arguments, all of which were finally settled by majority vote: Alien vs. Predator, Jason vs. Freddie, and Rambo vs. G.I. Joe. For those interested in such things, the winners would be Predator (superior weaponry), Freddie (it’s hard to beat a nightmare), and Rambo (better name).
I don’t know whether these combative speculations are peculiar to sons; perhaps mothers and daughters sit around discussing the possible results of a Madonna vs. Britney Spears wrestling match. In one way, I hope so, for my memories of these charming debates still resonate happily in my heart, and I especially recall many hours of considered attention my sons gave to pondering remarkable “dream matches”: Popeye vs. Mike Tyson, Mighty Mouse vs. Superman, and even the Smurfs vs. the Care Bears.
Now that my boys have grown, we no longer have “versus” debates, though we sometimes reminisce about them when one of us finds an old “action figure” in the back of a closet. After all, these discussions are part of our family history, and despite their inherent silliness, I often become sentimental when I think about them. In fact, there are even times when I miss them, especially on those occasions when I awaken in the middle of the night vexed by questions of who might be victorious in contemporary contests: George W. Bush vs. The Joker, for instance, or Al Gore vs. Scooby Doo. But as so often has been the case in my fatherly life, my sons are never around when I need them.
This posting first appeared on October 18, 2000 as the frame for a wine review in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
I invite readers to join me in pondering the possible outcomes of a few additional “Dream Matches.”
George W. Bush vs. Gomer Pyle. Confess – your first thought was, “It would be a fair fight.”
Karl Rove vs. Anton Chigurh. Chigurh might win in a gunfight, but if the venue is Liar’s Dice, I predict that Rove would win by a first-round knockout.
Caroline Kennedy vs. Malibu Barbie. Since both contestants are equally qualified, the winner of their bout would become the junior senator from New York.
Joe the Plumber vs. Rosie the Riveter. This blue collar combat would take place in an over-sized lunchbox, and the referee would be Joe Six-Pack.
Rod Blagojevich vs. Al Capone. For obvious reasons, this fight would take place in a federal penitentiary, and the winner would be crowned the Illinois State Champion, though he would of course be expected to sell his title to the highest bidder.
Sarah Palin vs. Bullwinkle. This would be a contest of intellectual equals, though if Bullwinkle won, he would give a better post-fight interview.
Donald Rumsfeld vs. Attila the Hun. Admit it – you’d root for Attila.
Rick Warren vs. James Dobson. The winner of this match made in heaven would have the undisputed right to wear the Bible Belt – literally, of course.
Ann Coulter vs. Satan. Would this fight be considered a form of sibling rivalry?
Bill Clinton vs. Elmer Gantry. Paris Hilton would “officiate.”
John Hagee vs. Female Olympic Heavyweight Weightlifter. If the venue were strip poker, and FOX decided to broadcast the event, it might garner the lowest ratings in television history.
Ozzy Osbourne vs. Kurt Cobain. I’d pay to attend this fight just to hear ring announcer Michael Buffer say, “Let’s get ready to mumble.”
“Playboy” vs. “Penthouse.” Most of the action would take place in the centerfold of the ring.
Rush Limbaugh vs. A Large Balloon Filled With Hot Air. To avoid otherwise inevitable confusions, the contestants would wear differently-colored trunks.
Bill O’Reilly vs. Himself. Both would lose.
You see, dear reader – the possiblities for “Dream Matches” are endless.