The Dutiful Husbands’ Bench

September25/ 2012

I don’t recall who spoke first; but once we started we had a grand time.  If you’ve ever visited Front Street in Beaufort you know the drill.  …..

NOTE:  A “long one” but worth it. There’s an Unpleasantness Update at the bottom where it belongs!

The focus of this charming waterfront community in Carteret County is several blocks of antiques shops, galleries and bistros all arrayed for the express purpose of appealing to a niche clientele.  Blondie and I be of that niche and have been for several decades.

Blondie has several Beaufort shoppes (!) that she frequents; invariably buying a nick or a nack to compliment the nick, nack or curio that she purchased on an earlier visit.  I dutifully fulfill the “I’m with her” role.

She strides purposefully into a quaint shop.  I tag along.  The proprietor smiles at her and asks me if she can help me.  I give the “I’m with her”

… a time-honored Danse Retailer.

signal setting in motion a time-honored Danse Retailer.  The proprietor concentrates her subliminal selling chit chat at Blondie while I endeavor not to break anything.  The good folks in Beaufort offer a slight alternative to all this – the Dutiful Husband Bench.

Weathered benches have been placed at intervals outside the shops.  In olden days dutiful husbands could smoke or whittle while waiting for their wives to peruse and purchase.  Its 2010, we can check sport scores on smart phones or, as happened this day, engage in the ancient art of pleasant conversation.

One of us made a oral pronouncement directed to no one in particular of no strong opinion.  “Sure is a nice day” (which it sure was) is a safe choice.  The bench partner then can respond or not.  Or not  ends the exercise.  In our case the other volleyed back with “it sure is” and it was “Game On”.

He was slightly my senior and dressed as I in the casual attire of the coastal visitor.  Occupations, net worth and other telltale demographic signs were indistinguishable.  Just a coupla husbands dutifully waiting while our wives browsed on a sun-drenched Saturday in Beaufort.

45 minutes later we parted, both rejuvenated that we had chanced upon a fellow “nice fella”.  Our wives had checked in on us during our extended conversation.  Both relieved and pleased that her guy had found something to occupy his mind and time that did not involve breaking anything fragile or requiring her to apologize to anyone.

We covered a wide array of topics including both the “P” and “B” issues …. those being “Politics” and “Butch”.  He being a litigator and I an Internet smart-aleck, shyness was not an encumberance.  He had deliciously strong opinions and I’ve been known to have same on occasion.  That we shared the same opinions made for a harmonious respite.

He was a UNC alum, and long time supporter, not in concert with BOTBob’s CYA cabal or the zombie mob threatening anyone opposing their BCS fantasies.

Coincidentally, I had met another gentleman of similar opinion a few hours earlier at the NY Deli on the Atlantic Beach Causeway.   In both cases, I had not expressed my own views before they did.   No doubt we are the only three who feel so according to the screechers.   Actually there’s at least one other that you will meet in a few minutes.

My Diogensian quest to meet interesting fellows struck paydirt on a bench in Beaufort on a Chamber of Commerce day along The Crystal Coast.



The following comments appeared in this past Sunday’s N&O.  I am not “uncleron” nor did I have any foreknowledge of his decision to comment.  I do, however, know his actual identity.  He is a native North Carolinian ….. a former Morehead Scholar ….. a long time Kenan season ticket-holder w/ 4 on the 50 ….. a prominent member of the Triangle-area business community, he moves and shakes in the same circles as BOTBob’s CYA Gang.

Like yours truly, he does not claim to speak for any one other than himself; but chances are he probably does. These are his words.

BY:  “uncleron” – Bread and circuses ……. using the platform of two “top 50” centers of academics, (when will we let the coaches and the bowl committees take over that ranking anyway?) What does US NEWS & REPORT know about recruiting?

LIVE from the birthplace of thuggery masquerading as collegiate sports. Between plays, ESPN shows wistful images of the “glory days” where Ray Lewis mocked opponents, rappers stalked the sidelines and student managers kept a watchful eye on the bling stored in the locker room. TV announcers debate whether Coach Shannon should allow more histrionics on the field after a good play to bring back the “old days” of swagger. We are regaled with Coach Shannon traveling in a three-piece suit in a 6 foot boat to capture a specimen, I mean recruit a student athlete.

What do these teams have to do with the University of Miami or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill anyway? How many of the players could get in on their academic merits? How many of the fans in the stands actually attended a class? College football looks and acts more like Wrestlemania or NASCAR than anything connected with academics.

I love football. I love the University of North Carolina and I am proud of what it has meant to this state historically. It saddens me to see the Chancellor, Athletic Director and members of the Board of Trustees trash what the University should stand for while they try to defend and keep the services of Butch Davis because he can bring in bigger stronger faster “students” to wear Carolina blue on Saturday. Who cares what they do the rest of the week right?

Where are the defenders of the University in all of this? When will some adult stop and consider the hypocrisy and greed involved. The University, the Board of Governors and the Legislature have all been such a comfortable little clique for so long.  The Romans distracted their citizens from the corruption of their leaders by providing them spectacles.

Sell off the facilities and pay the players, but take the logos of the Universities away if you want to maintain the fiction of academic integrity, or does that matter any more?

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