…. OK, part of the past ten days I was “at death’s door” (aka REALLY bad cold!) then there was the confused little Dutch boy … then Diogenes’ lamp went out and Jacob Marley’s ghost showed up. ….. BobLee learned that while he indeed does “matter”, society is still hellbent on doing a Thelma & Louise and one well-intended Internet legend can only do so much. Ergo … “so much” is what I plan to do from now on.
NO ONE HAS BEEN DROPPED FROM OUR LIST! … The queries started trickling in around Tuesday and built to a crescendo by Friday AM. E-notes from dozens of long time subscribers missing their regular BobLee fixes. “BobLee, are you OK?” … but then followed by “Have I been dropped from your distribution list?” I humbly appreciate the concern for my wellbeing (not unwarranted concern, as I will explain).
For four of the past ten days I was consumed by consumption. I’m talking about the taken for granted art of respiration. I normally have 2-3 nasty colds per year, check the first one off the list.
As we all know, nasty colds last about 3-4 days regardless of how much OJ you guzzle or which over-the-counter cold medicine you try to extricate from those impenetrable packages. I want to try to open a 2-pak of Coricidin Cold Plus when I am at full mental and physical strength. Trying to do it with minimal sleep, totally stopped up nasal passages or the exact opposite … a nose running faster than Governor Easley from a Jim Black question … is impossible. Throwing the 2-pak against the bathroom wall, stomping on it and berating it like Coach K working a ref does not work at all. More people have surely died trying in vain to open unopenable pill packets than ever died from some lunatic putting cyanide in a Tylenol 15 years ago.
That explains a portion of what history will record as BobLee’s Lost Week. The other part gets more complicated. The only way I know to describe it is “the little Dutch boy dilemma”. The barbarians intent on destroying the moral and civil fiber that holds our country together are no longer at the gates. Those quite evil sumbitches have breeched the walls and now surely walk among us. Mixing analogies, I found myself like the little Dutch boy facing way too many holes in the dike than I have fingers and toes to plug those holes with.
Everywhere I was turning I was seeing more and more proof positive that we as a civilization have truly done a Thelma & Louise, thrown any pretense of civility out-the-window and taken that full-speed dive over the cliff to a certain destruction on the jagged rocks below.
Is there the slightest doubt that we are on a lemming like pilgrimage to Sodom & Gommorah? Intent on removing all the Thou shall nots from society, glorify cheating, lying and perversity and see how long it takes for total hedonistic anarchy to take over. Nero is playing his fiddle and Caligula is planning the party. …. Just be sure to invite Anna Nicole, Bald Britany, John Edwards’ bloggers, Jim The Weasel, Crash Nifong, The Maloof Brothers, a lusty young man wearing a do-rag, NASCAR’s cheating pit crews … and be sure to have the N&O write up the story in their own special way.
That’s a sample of how I’ve felt much of the past week. Now aren’t you glad I kept quiet? …. And one other little item you haven’t read about.
A good friend of mine, Mike Long, has made his vocation and life mission presenting sexual abstinence as a lifestyle choice to our nation’s teenagers. The summation of Mike’s secular-based message is “No, Everyone Else is NOT Doing It!” Upon an invitation, Mike presents his message to school assemblies, church groups and youth organizations across the country. A well-known “watch dog” organization is aggressively trying every trick it can to shut Mike Long down.
Yes, folks, the ACLU wants to declare promoting sexual abstinence as a lifestyle choice to America’s teenagers to be ILLEGAL. I’m not going to get into the particulars of this incredible mess. If you have a strong interest, let me know and I’ll pass your e-address on to Mike for follow-up.
You probably thought the Abortion Debate was simply “a woman’s right to choose” versus “life begins at conception”. Nope … not nearly so clean and analytical. A LOT more sinister than many of us could ever imagine.
So now I was being besieged by Anna Nicole, Bald Britany, Jim The Weasel, Crash Nifong, The Do-Rag Rapist, Professor Peeper, John Edwards’ bloggers, the ever-present Shineolas, the executive hypocrites at the N&O, the A-friggin’-CLU, and a REALLY bad cold. My self-appointed role as a modern day Diogenes searching for one bit of hope for civilization was mucho imperiled. The light of my lamp was naught but a flicker … I needed Jack Bauer, Horatio Caine, Sebastian Stark, and Rachael Ray … and then Duke Buck called.
My whole life I’ve been taught and/or instinctively known “the right thing to do” in socio-cultural circumstances. That does not always mean I have DONE the right thing in all or most circumstances, but I knew what “the right thing to do” was. Does that make sense? …. get lazy, get a bit self-absorbed and one of the first casualties will be …. doing the right thing.
About a month ago I received an invitation to a high school friend’s 60th birthday. This was a dear friend but a birthday is a birthday is a birthday and this one was 100 miles away. Send a card and pass on the several hours trip. But Fate and Duke Buck stepped in.
The Executive Legal Counsel of BobLee Worldwide Enterprises got it in his craw that Butch & Sundance needed to attend this affair. He offered to drive and even arranged overnight accommodations at Brother Dwight & Manena’s Bed, Breakfast & All-Night Conversation Parlour.
I offered little resistance as it would be a foray deep into “Pretty DownEast Women Territory” east of I-95. Maybe a change of scenery would de-funk me. Mizzus was all in favor as she well knows that BobLee & Buck can usually within a few hours solve pretty much any problem theres ever been. Plus, I needed to see “Coach Jones”.
I told you recently about that ol’ rascal Ed Emory and his role in my personal journey thru puberty and beyond. A gentleman by the unassuming name of “Coach Jones” also was a very central figure in that life-drama. The fellas back home had sent word that Coach was not well. He has contracted a form of respiratory fibrosis and is facing the inevitable shutdown of his lungs. The prognosis is not optimistic and he will likely be leaving town soon to live with his son in Fayetteville. “Coach Jones leaving town” is a rite of passage to a group of us that we never contemplated.
In retrospect, I can see now what was developing ……. Duke Buck, Coach Jones, Phyllis, Titus, Teena, Brother Dwight & Manena, Herbie, Betty Lou, Rita, Kathy, and some guy named Van that beat my no-count lying cuzzin … all that was missing was Jacob Marley’s ghost. Or maybe my Jacob Marley was indeed at that party and he had something to teach me.
It would have been a very fine party without BobLee & Buck. We ain’t exactly Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd aka Two Wild & Crazy Guys but our being there mattered to Phyllis … and it mattered to us.
Whatever it is that I do with this silly website has gotten around back home. I’m not quite the celeb that Jaime Pressley has become but on the “He’s From Here” –o-meter I do now out rank Charles “Amphibious” Shackleford and some nut named Ted Sampley. Throughout the evening folks were coming up and talking about various columns that have appeared here over the past seven years and how such and such column meant something to them. I noticed that no one mentioned any column having to do with sports except one mention of F-Bomb Alley which really wasn’t “sports” per se.
We are all forever linked to the people we went to school with … good, bad, or indifferent … I had three people come up to me with that line “you don’t remember me but …”. In two of the three cases they were right.
I knew Kathy in high school but in the general way everyone in a town our size knows everyone else. About a year ago I got a very nice e-mail from her about an Erskine column I had written. Rita had sent it to her. Kathy knows Erskine really well. Kathy also knows Algore & Tipper and Apple Cheeks & Ms Elizabeth REALLY well … uh oh. Indeed, Kathy is as well-high-connected “on the Left” as yours truly is “on the Right”. … uh oh. Relax … NOT an “uh oh” at all.
Unlike Fruitcake Freddie or The Carrboro Crazies and the assorted “Fruitcakes” on the Far Right, Kathy has a well-balanced life … and a terrific sense of humor. In twenty minutes of hugs and laughs we regaled innocent bystanders with enough anecdotal namedropping to fill a local gossip column for 6-months. “Civility” … HELL, we were having FUN!
Buck and I went by to see “Coach Jones” Sunday AM. A bit awkward at first as we dealt with his non-immortality … we quickly morphed into “special friends” mode and realized while something is changing … some things will NEVER change. It was a very good time and the several hours flew by faster than a Tivoed episode of “24”. As Buck and I drove away we both noted we may never see Coach Jones again … but it’s OK, now
He is just a coach … but just a coach can be pretty darn special. Just an anybody can be pretty special. I can be “special” … you can be “special” … all God’s children have the capacity to “be special” to somebody. I just happen to have the advantage of 100% editorial control over a curiously popular website.
In case I had not gotten the message, Jacob’s Ghost laid another one on me. Cousin Lewis in Beaufort lost his youngest son this week under especially tragic circumstances. This was a six hour round trip decision that required about 30 seconds to decide and most of that was deciding what time we needed to leave to get to the memorial service at 2:30.
I’m not a believer in that “blood thicker than water” theory. I had no choice on my relatives … I get to choose (and cherish) my friends. A goodly number of my relatives will, I quite expect and hope, spend eternity in hell … several in hell’s sub-basement if I get a vote. But Cousin Lewis had some time ago passed the “darn good friend” exam with flying colors and assuming it might matter to someone if we’re there, me and Mizzus headed down to ‘da beach”. It was the right thing to do.
Ol’ Jacob has convinced BobLee I can matter but that doesn’t exactly mean I can save Western Civilization either by myself or even with you guys helping. I/we cannot prevent a general public fascination w/ vacuous trailer trash … I/we cannot stop crooked slimey politicians from being crooked and slimey … I/we can’t clean all the yucky perverts outta airport restrooms … I/we cannot stop politicians of either persuasion from hiring unprincipled people for the expressed purpose of spreading slanderous lies on the Internet … I/we cannot disbar and adequately punish Mike Nifong for what he has done … heck, I/we cannot even shut down the human hairballs on “the sports boards”. I/we can’t really do much against organizations bent on totally shredding the moral fiber of this country. Now I CAN create trouble for the N&O and I will continue to do that as often as possible just because I can and they deserve it. … and maybe something I write here can lighten your daily burden by a few ounces … every little bit has to help … huh?
Friday a week ago Peter The Producer and I were recording the final tapes for the revised CD … Sacred Cows & Other Roadkill. This revised version involves my narrating ten of what you guys say are your Top Ten commentaries from the 1,000+ in the archives. Peter The Producer is an audio-techno-wizard in, I figure, his late 20s. Pretty hip guy and all. He was working the sound board like a Stradivarius blending in the bumper music and noting my gulps and sniffles for later deleting. … then I blindsided him with Treehouses & How Tall Walls. When I got to that part about “… giving Kid wings” cool Peter The Producer gulped and said “wow” … and we had to do that one over.
I may only do one column/week or three every two weeks but I’m not going away. Heck … where would I go? …. Carrboro! I am not giving up the fight to perserve every drop and fiber of inter-personal civility I can in this world. The barbarians that insist on raping and pillaging our society show no sign of abating in their quest. What I can do and plan to … is try my BobLee best “to matter”. Maybe I’ll just matter to a few dozen, maybe just a few hundred …. even a few thousand is not much in the great scheme of life … but I’m just one BobLee with one little website. Please don’t interpret this as I’m going “political”. I’m not. If you simplistically think the primary threats to our way of life is simply who wins elections, you probably think who wins a ball game is determined by the coin toss.
To all of you that Ol’ Jacob Marley enlisted in his sneaky little Show & Tell … thanks. I owe you one.
ALWAYS Do The Right Thing.
You’ll Know Why When You Do It!