Dear Chancellor Doogie

June29/ 2008

It took less than 24 hours to assign UNC’s new Big Cheese his nickname – “Chancellor Doogie”.   Not only does he resemble the former TV “Boy Doctor” but both are “wunderkins”.   Every media account of Holden Thorp has emphasized his savantish intellect relative to his age so we’ll just go with that flow.  As the Doogie Era dawns o’er The Old Water Fountain we’ll add our requests to the mounting stack in his new in-box.

Dear Chancellor Doogie:

Congrats and best wishes for every success (however defined) in your new position.  What a thrill it must be for a Tar Heel Born & Bred to have his name on the #1 Parking Space on campus.  Roy says “yes, it is indeed a thrill”.  I’m sure you too feel humbled and overwhelmed with your own new spot beside South Building.

I admit you were a “huh?” to me when you were announced on Thursday.  For reasons we’ll discuss a few paragraphs down, I don’t bother to keep up with UNC faculty squirrels.  I did follow The Meez, the infamous Susan Ehringhaus and lately Gene Nichol’s slither back to Chapel Hill.  I do have a few close buddies sprinkled among the faculty and staff but the majority are just ambient noise.  Before I forget it, is Susan Ehringhaus still running that S&M parlour up in DC and are we (the University) still paying her off?  Check on that if you get a chance.

I join with all those folks who cheered you in Spangler Hall last week in being excited about The Doogie Era at UNC.  You bring some intriguingly unique talents to that prestigious office.  Mainly I’m excited because Erskine says you are quite the sharp young man.  I put A LOT of stock in what my pal “Buford” says in such matters.  Me and “Buford” are tight.  Erskine’s seal of approval will cover your butt thru the end of next Fall’s semester.  After that you’re liable for your own words and deeds.

Knowing Ersky as I do, I rather suspect he will play out your leash a tad to see how you react to the intoxication of your new power chair.  He’ll let you staple your tie to your desk blotter a time or two but he’ll jerk that leash and rein you in before you flush a cherry bomb down the toilet in Louis Wilson Round Library.

OK Doogie, stop reading this for a second and call Erskine to confirm that I’m not blowing smoke up your test tube (a little chemistry lingo there!).  ………. OK, you back now?  I’d love to have heard what EB said when you said “who IS this guy?”  He likely said something like “as fine an ally as you could have …. or as irritating as the worst hemorrhoid you ever imagined.”  And he probably added “just shoot straight with him and there’s no need for your heart to be troubled Young Doogie.”  As usual EB is on the money with that advice.

I loved your line about “the Nabs” Doog.  I’m sure Meez, bless his heart, was clueless but me and the fellas picked up on it really quick.  A reference to pouring Tom’s Peanuts in a Coca Cola woulda really been keen too.  I have no doubt that it was a natural expression that shows you are indeed still a local boy.  Speaking of local …. Mary’s Daddy on Skye Drive down in FayetteNam says you were “raised right”.  As with Ersky, I trust Cuzzin Bobby’s opinions on such matters.

That resounding ovation you got on Thursday afternoon …. You do realize that is as popular as you will EVER be in your new position.  Everybody loves you NOW cause EVERYBODY wants something and so far Everybody thinks you will give them what they want; be it a new parking spot, better seats in Dean’s Dome, a new office chair, or your blessing/forgiveness when they say/do something that embarrasses The University.  By the end of this week you’ll already have pissed off somebody if you really are “up to the task” you have been given.

Doogie you do realize that you are no longer Holden Thorp.  You are now “The Chancellor”.  Patti is now “The Chancellor’s wife” and John and Emma are “The Chancellor’s kids”.  Last Wednesday you were as anonymous as C.B. McGrath.  Now you are as “celebritized” as Ol’ Roy hisownself.  That means if you pick your nose or scratch your butt somebody’s liable to catch it on their camera phone and it’ll be on YouTube within 8 minutes.  I’m sure you know “The Edwards’”.  Ask Apple Cheeks or Courageous Elizabeth about the perils of being a celebrity in a college town.

Here’s a hint …. It won’t be the rude strangers that approach you in public to complain about something that will confound you.  It will be the ones that watch you when you don’t know they are watching.  Those crazy sumbitches will simply make up some idiocy and stick it on the Internet.  Please tell me you’ve already learned to NEVER NEVER NEVER be alone in that big Chancellor’s office with a hetero gal or a gay guy …. with the door closed.  The lowest teacher’s assistant learns that lesson on Day One.

About your “intellect”.  Damn impressive I must say.  You have shortened the learning curve at every quick stop on your career path.  I like “smart people”.  I like “wise people” even more.  How “wise” are you Doogie?  A Wise Man  can always hire smart people and call up facts when they need them.  Ahhhh, but “wisdom” …. that Young Doogie has shortcircuited many a wunderkin.  EB is your #1 Obi Won for wisdom.  EB has his own short list of wisdom mentors that he still calls on as he grows.  Maybe he will share a few with you.  Maybe in 15-20 years you might be someone’s Obi Won yourself Doog.  “Wisdom” can’t be short cut ….. only time on grade can instill that.

 EB knows you are smart and that you are honest or you would not be “The Chancellor”.  EB believes you will develop the wisdom that “a good Chancellor” must have.  

I have concerns and I will share them with you now.

1.    Your entire life since age 18 has been in a college campus environment.  That, Doogie, is like living in Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disney World.  It ain’t real Doogie.  It is fine when you are dealing with the dwarfs, munchkins, and assorted campus characters inside your collegiate theme park …. but as “The Chancellor” you must be able to relate to the great unwashed …. the untermensch …. the 100,000s of alums …. the Tar Heel lunatic fans …. the cold-bloodied thugs who kill the Eve Carsons …. the Jimmy Sextons …. the retirees that moved to Chapel Hill and hate “football game day traffic” …. the angry parents who’s Eagle Scout/Valedictorian son gets turned down by Admissions simply because of his race/gender – Caucasian male …. Oh and you must deal with “people who don’t see America thru your eyes” but aren’t bad, just different.  That last category likely “be me” Doog. …. will you actually solve problems or just “hold candlelight vigils”?

2.   Your daddy was a law partner of Tony Rand.  Did Tony bounce a young Doogie on his knee, tousle your hair, and challenge you to a Rubik’s Cube race.  Tony is the ham-fisted “Boss Hogg” of the NC General Assembly ….. an unindicted co-conspirator along with Jim Black.  Tony Rand is tied directly to every backroom scallywaggetry committed on Jones Street in the past 20 years.  How much have you learned from Uncle Tony  about how to “do bidness”?  Am I Jeremiah Wrighting you? …. guilt by close association.  Will you disavow Tony Rand as your “bidness ethics” mentor?

3.   You currently live “in Carrboro”.  If one believes in the infallibility of community stereotypes then you are a Left-wing kook to your very core.  That the only difference between you and a full-fledged Berkley nutjob is 3,000 miles and sweet tea.  I’m going to apply the Erskine Factor here and figure EB gives you credit for being “wiser” than that.  We’ll see soon enough. …. The N&O op/ed dorks have endorsed you so they must think you are as hard-core Far Left as they are.  Thats extreme Doogie.

Doogie, I like you.  The “Nabs line” and Erskine’s seal of approval is all I need for now.  Doogie you have an incredible opportunity in front of you.  The Doogie Era at Carolina could rival Solomon and Charlemagne.  You can reign for 25+ years and guide The University of The People to heights that neither Charles Kuralt nor Frank Porter Graham ever dreamed of …. or you can “Peter Principle”.  Will THIS be the career step where you are over-matched.  Do you have too much intelligence to realize you have too little wisdom?  (MONEY LINE!) Are you truly humbled by the tasks you have been given or is what we hear merely false humility?  Only the face in your mirror knows today ….. the full UNC family will learn that answer in the months and years to come.

Doogie …. me and a whole lot of good, solid high-achieving UNC buddies of mine get called all the time to “give $$$” to a University that goes out of its way to demean and insult “people like us” at every opportunity.  So we just visit Chapel Hill for ballgames then leave because we don’t feel welcomed at our Alma Mater.  Doogie are you wise enough yet to see how unnecessary that scenario is?  Imagine a “Carolina” united behind something of more substance than a silly ballgame.  You could begin healing that chasm Doogie …. or not.

Oh, Doog …. I read where you sang Zigga Zoomba growing up.  Yours truly fought like a Spartan at Thermopalyae to get that put back on the UNC band’s play list about 6 years ago.  Ask Fuchsie what a hemorrhoid I can be.

When you get settled in, give me a call.  Maybe me, you and EB could do lunch at Mickey Ewell’s great new restaurant – Mez – and, maybe we can start the healing and make a difference. …. or not.


EB sent Doogie the above on Monday night.  Doog promptly sent me a nice note.  The boy’s got a fine sense of humor that will serve him well


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x