The Growing Up Gauntlet

April17/ 2006

 Recent events at a certain elitist “Southern Ivy” institution have focused attention on the actions and attitudes of young people “away from home” and “touching wet paint”.  We decided to goggle the past 100 years of young people “away from home” and found – TAA DA! – ain’t a whole lot changed in the post-adolescent evolution.  … BLSAYS EXCLUSIVE … BobLee gets a copy of the first “white paper” from one of Duke President Dick’s “blue ribbon panels”.

   His name was Ron Lowry but we called him “Chink” or “Pueblo”.  He was not Oriental but kinda looked it sorta.  As for “Pueblo” … that was an American warship hijacked by North Korea in the late 60s.  Ehringhaus Dorm at UNC in the late 60s had not been doused by politically correct pesticide to that point.

   “Chink” was not a “psycho” … certainly not a candidate to like drive an SUV thru the pit.  But “Chink” did hear voices most folks didn’t.  No one knew when he started his midnight raids or why.  His M.O. was to leave his dorm room around 2 AM and hit the janitors closets over at Avery-Parker-Teague.  He would commandeer 20-30 rolls of toilet paper and go TP either the Chancellor’s manse or the UNC Prez’s manse.   

   “Chink” had no bone to pick with the lofty “admins” he simply felt he was called to do it.  Lou Newton finally caught on to Chink’s escapades but told no one … except me, of course.  We figured “Chink” logged 40+ missions before he got bored with it. … The statute of limitations has long expired and Chink now sells real estate in Tidewater VA.

   “Miggs and Duncan” were a bit more adventurous … they found a utility tunnel along Franklin Street that came up inside The Hub.  Do you have any idea how many sweaters two guys can cram in the trunk of a GTO at 3 in the morning when they are scared sh*tl*ss?  The answer is A LOT.

   Then there was Bob “Snapper” Bonczak letting a possum loose in a full Varsity Theater. “Snapper” mentioned in a BLSays column … that’s a first!  Woo Hoo …

   The above are just three examples of “weird crap” that college undergrads did FORTY YEARS AGO.  I won’t even get into midnight raids on Mike Rubish’s Golf City or road trips to the Durham County Fair.  If Bill Span wasn’t still in “solitary” and therefore incommunicado he could add a few “wild and wooly stories” of which at least 18% would be true.

   There isn’t one single solitary thing that “the Duke Lacrosse team” has done or will do that hasn’t been done many many many times by their daddies, uncles, and granddaddies and their classmates. … which neither makes it “right” nor “A BFD”.

NEWSWEEK has an excellent cover story on “the Duke v Derm Mess” that introduces us to “Lacrossetitutes”.  You can probably figure out that “Lacrossetitutes” are Duke coeds that have a fatal attraction to Laxers.  Bull riders call’em “Buckle Bunnies”. 

On most college campuses the football players are the primary swaggering stud ducks on campus.  Chests all pumped out and biceps in full flexion, these brothers of Alpha Beta Testosterone strut thru the “quad” usually in coveys of 4-5 and see how many coed hearts they can set aflutter and or scare the bejebbers out of dorm geeks.  During the Viet Nam protests it was great fun to watch the defensive line take on tie-dyed protest maggots in Y-Court.  FORTY YEARS AGO!

Back to Duke … since Duke football doesn’t exactly intimidate anyone in NCAA Division 1-A, it is the “Laxers” that wear the mantle of “those guys” in West Derm.  Why not Duke Basketball?  I’m not sure why not … maybe because, according to the Franklin Street Slander & Libel Society, all Duke BBers are “homos”.

What is the primary purpose of “going to college”?  I don’t think there IS a “primary purpose”.  “To get an education” is trite as well as patently incorrect in the truest sense of the word.

I often do a bit on the BobLee ALIVE tour where I sum up “going to college” as “A Dozen Pair of Underwear”.  It’s my own theory, but you probably already figured that out.

A Freshman arrives on campus with a dozen brand new pair of underwear and the intent of wearing clean underwear each day.  On Day 12 he/she faces a fork in their life road … either (A) take the time to wash some underwear OR (B) go buy more new clean underwear OR (C) call Mamma to send some more.  Ultimately Plan A is the way to go but it is a reluctant choice for many.  Taking responsibility for ones own actions (or lack of) and accepting the ramifications of those decisions is pretty much “what going to college” is REALLY all about.

   Alcohol, sex, drugs, and slovenly study habits are the primary traps and snares that every college student faces.  Idiotic human hairballs masquerading as pointy-headed professors also pose a threat to dorky kids with poor self-images looking to glom on to “a cause”.  Roommates with poor hygiene must be dealt with too … how to make “murder one” appear as suicide consumes many undergrad minds as the aroma of a six foot high pile of dirty socks and underwear hangs in the air like a fog over a Scottish moor.  Along the same lines … going an entire semester, hell, going two semesters, without changing one’s bedsheets sounds novel but easily 15% of any dorm population does that routinely.

   Long hair, tattoos, piercings et al are all on the menu as kids “away from home” try to figure out “who they are”.  Memo To Duke President Dick:  You and your blue ribbon panels will not change human nature.

   College pranks and “hijinks” often get out-of-hand as in a drunk UNC coed walking off the roof of Battle-Vance-Pettigrew ten years ago.  Binge drinking, fraternity/sorority hazings, “dares” … I’m sorry Duke President Dick but you can not legislate kids from being kids and doing really stoopid stuff.  As a daddy, I lay awake some nights fretting about Kid Swagger “going away” and what traps and snares await her at “Mizzou” … usually Mizzus senses I’m wide awake and whispers “she’ll be OK … she’s a good kid.”   

 Me … I didn’t go all that crazy “in college”.  I saved it up for a session of middle-aged crazy in my early 30s.  There is way too much about Life I still don’t understand … why do babies die … why did Pernell Roberts leave Bonanza … If MJ had missed that jumper would “they” have still named The Dean Dome The Dean Dome?  But I do know that somehow most kids do indeed traverse “the Growing Up Gauntlet” and grow up to be CEO of Enron, marry Teresa Kerry, and buy all that crap on the Home Shopping Network.

   You wanna make God laugh?  Tell Him “I have a plan”.


… We have obtained an advance copy of the first “White Paper” from one of Duke President Dick’s “Blue Ribbon Panels” … here it is:

Revised Guidelines For Acceptable Conduct 

By Young Duke Gentlemen & Young Duke Ladies

(As Set Forth by Knee Jerk Blue Ribbon Panel #3)

    Hi Duke boys and girls, this is President Dick“.  I have not had the pleasure of meeting each one of you yet but I will, especially those of you with 4th generation seats on the NYSE or hospital wings named after your grandfather.  As you might guess, I am quite a busy fellow.  Being “President Dick” is an awesome job since I took over from Queen Nan last year.  I used to be at Yale (or “Yell” as the Mayberry rubes in North Carolina might pronounce it … he he he he)

   I have three main jobs … (1) Pick up Coach K’s dry cleaning every Thursday … (2) Write Coach Roof’s stirring halftime speeches … and 3rd and most important, I say “how high” whenever any pointy-headed faculty squirrel tells me to “jump”.  I’ve been jumping A LOT lately.

   A gaggle of those aforementioned pseudo-intellectual pointy-headed faculty squirrels recently met in a knee-jerk over-reaction to that unpleasantness over on Buchanan Street and came up with the following whiz-bang solutions to all the world’s problems.  

Top Five Acceptable Names

To Call a 28 y/o College Student and Single Mother of Two Who Just Might Show Up on Your Doorstep At Midnight To Perform A Hootchee Cootchee Dance in Your Living Room and End Up Buck Nekkid and Writhing On The Floor:

 #5 … The Oprah

#4 … Scatman Crothers

#3 … Weezie

#2 … Fantasia

Duke Blue Ribbon Knee Jerk Panel #3’s #1 Preferred Name For A Hootchee Cootchee Dancing Buck Nekkid Mother of Two at Midnight IS:

 #1 … Butterfly McQueen


 Our over-reacting knee-jerking Blue Ribbon Panel has also brokered a pretty incredible economic lallapalooza.  To show our sincere commitment to helping our African American fellow Durhamites … effective immediately, your Duke Card can be used when “doing bizness” with Durham’s thriving black entrepreneurs.

Simply hand over your Duke Card when purchasing unregistered handguns, drugs, drug paraphernalia, sexual favors, hootchee coothchee dances, hubcaps, “used auto accessories”, do rags, one owner plasma TVs, Timberline boots, and Corey Maggette replica jerseys.  Not only will you be supporting our neighbors but via the card, our neighbors can get the addresses for your parents “million dollar homes on Long Island cul-de-sacs” and can maybe pay them an unexpected visit some night.  If you supply your parents’ alarm code it might save unnecessary broken glass. Is Duke a “good neighbor” Elitist Institution or WHAT!   

   As soon as the other five (and counting) Blue Ribbon Panels get me their whiz bang suggestions I’ll be updating you … until then Go To Hell Carolina Go To Hell! … he he he!


“President Dick”

PS:  Please give my regards to whoever oversees your trust fund.


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