The comparison began with “in the past ten years” but immediately elevated to “in our lifetime…” I was asking two veteran Triangle-area media celebrities to rank The Great Unpleasantness aka “One small tweet for Marvin, one giant mess for…” We were in accord as to (1) its time capsule worthiness and (2) the reality that – Regardless, you are going to believe what YOU want to believe PERIOD…

This commentary reaches a full spectrum audience extending from the most die-hard Carolina Way-faring Dean disciple to his/her most bloodthirsty, rafter-hating ABC doppleganger… and a large number of very curious brake-tapping rubberneckers fascinated by the Monty Python-esque chaos that keeps pouring outta this trainwreck like circus clowns out of one little car. When we say “YOU are going to believe…” we do mean YOU.

A longtime regular reader asked me recently “what’s an ABCer?” Oops, that’s a my bad for your humble cyber commentator. “ABC” in this context means an individual pulls for “Anybody But Carolina.” Not to be confused with “a Wal-Mart fan” who supports a particular college sports program for reasons unrelated to a personal matriculation experience. They purchase their knock-off partisan wearables “from Wal-Mart” rather than thru official “real fan” outlets… and, in general, do not possess the mythical “couth” of true alumni-fans.

Yes, there are terrorist cells dedicated to Anybody But Ohio State… But Alabama… But Florida… But Southern Cal etc etc etc, and every high profile sports program has, and aggressively solicits, its Wal-Mart fan faction. I hope this clears up years of confusion.

In recent memory (coming up on EIGHT years!) I recall trying to write weekly updates to Duke Lacrosse Scandal – aka “When Nifonging became a verb and the phrase ‘the N&O reported’ became a punch-line.” At its crest, that scandal tsunami was a runaway locomotive, to mix metaphors, but it lasted less than a year before being relegated to “whatever happened to _______” status.

We are coming up on FOUR years since Young Marvin hit SEND and a very very VERY proud institution began strutting about, trailing an ever-lengthening column of toilet paper stuck to its (Tar) heel.

Yes… I am proud of that last paragraph. YOU smiled, I know you did; begrudgingly perhaps, but you smiled.

That is FOUR years and counting… and counting… and counting. “They” might retire Flo The Progressive Insurance gal and “they” might even discover who killed Suellen Evans in Coker Arboretum (1965) before this ooey gooey mess is resolved… or, more likely, it will NEVER really be resolved. I’m betting on “never really” resolved.

Last week, I addressed an assemblage of 50+ fellows about a mile or so north of a certain water fountain under a fabled gazebo. 95% of’em “bleed blue” and are from an era where Choo Choo is not the sound a train makes. While many are now retired, they do/did make substantial contributions to society in various gainful occupations. Few, if any of’em, know what “a board monkey” is, much less “am one.” At least one steadfastly refuses to “get one of those cell-phones doodads,” much less a high-speed modem.

As a group, I would say they “greatly admire” Dean Smith though stopping short of deifying him. Their definition of a messiah requires virgin birth & resurrection, not simply two rings and one’s own “Dome.” Did they like believing in a certain “Way”? Most if not all had found comfort in that frivolous assumption.

Going back to that “how many clowns can fit in that little car” analogy, my audience was reeling from being “Willinghamed.” They were not aware that Chancellor Charming Little Carol was breaking her silence literally as I was speaking.

Ably assisted by her newly-hired Vice Chancellor of Spin & Obfuscation, Chancellor Carol (From Dartmouth) finally said something other than “Golly pete, I sure am tickled pink to be here, I sure am.” Carol Folt has officially moved on from the “tickled pink” phase of her reign in the post-Holden Era. Grinning like a diminutive Cheshire cat while publicly disemboweling an employee is not a ticklish occasion. Anyone who did not forsee said disemboweling has not been paying close attention for the past several years.

As to the validity of any statistical research: “Statistical findings” are like barbecue joints and Bond girls. You like yours and I’ll like mine. So there.

My unsolicited advice to my audience was you better develop a sense of humor about this mess OR resign yourself to terminal acid reflux for the rest of your life.

It had been suggested prior to my remarks that loyal Tar Heels could exorcise this demon by simply saying “Amphibious” to any incoming ABC attack… January 2014 and someone in Chapel Hill still thinks saying “Amphibious” and pointing up to “the rafters” will make this all go away. Yep!

Somewhere there is a State fan swearing “TA’s knee never touched the ground. Johnny Swofford is the Anti-Christ.”

I noted that Alas, The Great Unpleasantness blew past “Amphibious” around June of 2010 and has never looked back. In fact it blew past “one pair of sneakers and Peter Golenbock” at least two years ago. The ubiquitous “we” have been sailing in uncharted scandal waters for quite some time and there is no safe harbor in sight.

As I looked out across my audience, the title of this commentary dawned on me. This was certainly not a roomful of terminally naïve goggle-eyed loonies trying to live vicariously thru the athletic exploits of a collection of semi-literate young athletes. These were men of achievement with old-fashioned common sense.

Had I been 28 miles to the east, addressing a similar demographic grouping, they would not be slobbering at the mouth sensing that a rival institution was akin to a wounded wildebeest trying in vain to limp away from a pack of ravenous hyenas (or wolves, as the case may be).

The eyes staring back at me in Chapel Hill last week conveyed one of three messages:

(1) Sure, BobLee, I always knew in my heart of hearts there never was “a Way,” but was there really any harm in believing in Santa Claus, buying lottery tickets or kinda believing we had “a Way”?
(2) No… No… No! On top of “I can’t really keep my own doctor” and “global warming is a hoax,” THIS is too much reality to deal with. I’m too old to completely retool my belief system. State Sucks and Go To Hell Dook.
(3) … and one delightful fellow off to my right that asked “Didn’t he mean ambidextrous?” Bless his heart.

One hard-case in Group #2 glared at me with laser-like intensity and shook a white-knuckled arthritic fist.

Of all the clowns that have emerged from that little car since Young Marvin hit SEND and all the clowns yet to emerge, YOU really can believe whatever you want to believe.

When Bill Clinton met with Madeleine Albright in The Oval Office to explain “Yes, Madeleine. I did “do it” right here on this sofa with that woman – Ms Lewinsky,” his Secretary of State looked her boss and replied with a heartfelt “No, Mr. President, you did not.”

And Tomorrow is indeed Another Day.

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