There’s this quote many people believe was by Muhammad Ali:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

It’s part of a mural in progress on the side of the ICOR Boxing building facing Highway 6 in Iowa City. The Goodwill is on the other side of the highway. The mural is not yet finished. The quote is not complete. The words are black against a yellow background framed by the outline of the state of Iowa. The image of Muhammad Ali is really well done. I wanted to get a picture of it yesterday, but decided to wait until the mural is complete. There are similar images all over the web showing him and this quote together.

Some question whether Ali actually said it. There are some who say that an Adidas advertising copywriter wrote it in 2004. I don’t know who is right and I think it might not matter in the long run. I’m not interested in debating it.

The point of the quote is more important. It’s true the word “impossible” can be misused and distorted. Any historian or scientist can tell you that a great many things which were once thought to be impossible eventually became possible.

There’s this scene in Men in Black in which Agent K is recruiting the soon to be Agent J. He says, “People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it. 1500 years ago, everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody knew the earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”

It’s just a quote from a movie. But in that quote, there’s just enough of the real-life debate regarding doubt about what divides the possible from the impossible as there is anywhere off the movie set.

That said, there are a few things that are impossible. It’s impossible that:

Sasquatch doesn’t like beef jerky.

Movie stars are not from other galaxies.

Politicians are honest and have our best interests in mind.

Aliens would want anything to do with humans.

I could ever remember the washer and dryer settings from one day to the next.

It’s a short list. You’re welcome.

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