i pledge allegiance to my peeps


Given that the big institutions in life turn out to be cruel behemoths that don’t care about your well-being, I decided to spend this Thanksgiving being thankful for the little groups I’ve been a part of. The fraternities/sororities, the engaged coterie of like-minded souls, the odd brother-and-sisterhoods I found myself in. They range in size, but if it weren’t for them, then I would truly be a lost electron buzzing through space.

• the collection of ham radio guys in the early ’80s in Cedar Rapids, IA. You were all a lot older than me, but you taught me how to string a 40m dipole antenna and told dirty jokes, and the first unofficial “club” that would ever have me.

• the fiercely intellectual clique of inscrutably droll “Happy Seven” folks in my high school, who set the bar impossibly high for all smarts and humor.

• the Four Guys Not Named Biff, who coalesced in 1985 at Carolina, and never broke up. One is now my brother-in-law, one is Lucy’s godfather, and the other remains a fierce friend constant.

• the Daily Tar Heel, a staff that was as brilliant as it was fun-loving, and a group of editors who knew just how much rope they’d give me on Wednesdays. When they shouted out “Budget!” every evening, I felt enormous pride to be a part of them (especially since I didn’t have to go to the budget meeting).

• the Lodge at Carolina, a fraternity so bizarre in its day that they would take me, Chip, and Fred Weller without any philosophical gymnastics. I loathed some of my time there, but it definitely taught me how to relate to other men, and for brief shining moments, I bought into a magic so powerful that it lasted years. (oh, and thanks to the Kappas and Pi Phis for putting up with my tomcat bullshit as well)

• the small salon of creative writers at the English Department where I met my wife, crossed with the explosive creativity of the Lab! Theater back when they allowed it to happen – we took brilliance for granted, and now you can see our kin all over Broadway and Hollywood.

• “From the Hip” – a failed photography/book project that spawned a small collective of friends in the mid-90s… and taught me that there are jobs that can be loved.

• the Pink and Purple Houses.

• the extended Jartacular world, a large collection of lightning-witted, funny, casual philosophers that aren’t afraid to tackle an issue once broached, and aren’t afraid to down half a bottle of 45-year-old scotch in one swig.

• the even bigger Carolina world, a group of people I fully/half/hardly know that share the same irrational love for a team in sky blue that I do, and understand Dean Smith’s worldview to be more important than basketball (without getting creepy about it like some other teams I could mention).

• and over the past seven-and-a-half years, you!

0 thoughts on “i pledge allegiance to my peeps

  1. Anne

    Seven and a half years! Wow. Should we start planning for the grand xtcian-decennial Ranting Man Festival now? But please have it on the East Coast. :-) I’ll be there; honest.
    This morning when I walked the dogs I was thinking how crazily lucky I am. I went to sleep last night with the muted sounds of my daughter and younger son, both home for Thanksgiving, and some of their best friends watching “The Princess Bride” downstairs. Beside me on the floor, our two sweet dogs (one only with us for two weeks — saved off death row, literally, at the NYC animal control shelter) snored softly and sighed as they curled in their beds. Walking the dogs in a chilly breeze with the sun rising… Walking faster than I could until this fall (I’ve lost nearly 25 pounds, yay me)… The incredible blue of the bay waters, the filmy moon setting in the west, what looked like an acre of Brant geese floating alongside our beach (joined by three swans)… A half-day at work today, then older son and girlfriend will arrive from Ohio; husband coming home from CT this evening; the annual big family Thanksgiving reunion north of Boston tomorrow…
    Life is good.

  2. the other lee

    Although I’ve never met you in person I always enjoyed your DTH columns and am happy I found this blog a couple of years ago. While I don’t always agree or comment on your entries they are almost always thought provoking and at least entertaining. Happy Thanksgiving

  3. jif

    As a former DTH member, excommunicated Pi Phi, Pink House Alum, jartacular participant, Carolina world citizen and xtcian reader, i say, you’re welcome! and i thank you for being one of my favorite housemates of all time, and generally one of my favorite people.
    I can’t wait to see the thanksgiving year-by-year montage on Monday – I am sure they have wi-fi in the truck stops in Kansas, right?

  4. MarkC

    Thanks for letting us(me) hang around. When I arrived at UNC in the fall of 1989 to start graduate school, Wednesday’s Child was a huge reason why knew I would fit in instantly. All the other cool progressive and open minded thinking fit into a logic pattern after reading that column. Unlike you I have not lived in Chapel Hill since a year after graduation and it still holds a mythical status for me as a place to live (maybe some day, but I know you cannot go back, I know, but maybe, maybe it will be better).
    Fast forward a decade and a half and I was so excited to find this blog so we could get reconnected (although we have never met, strange world). Nice to be with you old friend.


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