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Fond memories of 2013, 2014 predictions
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I’m not sure what I think about 2013. But I do know some stuff caught my interest while other stuff didn’t.
Stuff that did:
Georgia Southern’s move to the Football Bowl Subdivision: In case you spent 2013 in an igloo watching our polar icecaps melt, one of the huge sports stories hereabouts was the Eagles’ move to FBS and the Sun Belt Conference.
The ascension to a supposedly higher division was made because FCS, aka I-AA, which has been awfully good to Georgia Southern over the years, is no longer good enough. Why? I’m not sure. Some said the competition in FCS wasn’t up to Georgia Southern’s standards, and never mind that Georgia Southern hasn’t won a national title since 2000.
Others said FBS was more in line with the school’s institutional mission, or some similar hogwash. I suspect the division formerly known as I-AA simply didn’t get enough air time on ESPN.
What 2014 will bring: A 4-7 record, probably.

Salt life here, there, everywhere: This comes with a disclaimer, i.e., I like being around, on or in saltwater as much as the next person, but I don’t pretend to understand the Salt Life decal phenomenon that not only continued unabated it 2013, it may actually have picked up steam.
Not that I’m against freedom of expression, so long as it’s in good taste. It’s just that, well, when you spot an oil-burning primer colored 1995 Chevy Cavalier with Ohio plates and balding tires wobbling down Highway 21 in Chatham County and Salt Life stickers are holding the back windshield together, it’s a sign that if nothing else, that little decal is really, really popular.
So is this: the folks who bought the foreclosed house across the street from me actually painted a giant Salt Life fish on one of their garage walls. It’s near where they keep their cornhole board. Now, those two things go together.
What’s coming in 2014: The possibilities are endless, I’m afraid. As the Salt Life company’s website says, “Your life isn’t complete without the Salt Life. And the Salt Life isn’t complete without the right gear.”
That’s right. Get you some lemming, er, Salt Life.

The left-turn-living-dangerously life lingered on: Westbound traffic on Highway 144 in Richmond Hill regularly backed up to J.F. Gregory Park in 2013, yet drivers routinely tried taking a left out of the Clyde’s parking lot onto 144 — either that, or they’d creep, bolt and or swerve across five lanes of traffic into the Hardee’s across the way.
And by that I mean the parking lot or drive-thru. Not the actual restaurant.
While I’m on the topic, I’m not sure who’s more aggravating: Those who make the left or those who leave a space for those who make the left. After all, if we don’t encourage them, they can’t do it.
I do know I left room — exactly once — for someone to get out and go left before realizing it was probably not the best idea I ever had. The driver, a woman smoking something with one hand and texting with the other, pulled out in front of me and stayed put because there was nowhere for her to go. I wish I was kidding. I’m not.
The woman finally found a way across westbound 144 and onto eastbound 144, but not before I and the roughly 250 drivers behind me got to sit through another cycle or three of red light, green light. At least she got where she was going.
P.S. The only thing as consistently frustrating as drivers bent on taking a left out of Clyde’s in 2013 were the drivers on 144 trying to take a left into Clyde’s.
What 2014 could bring: The much anticipated dedicated right-turn lane at 144 and 17 could lead to city officials declaring left turns there a no-no. I’ve actually heard it said the turn should be outlawed. Maybe it will be.

Fog lights became way cool in 2013: There seemed to be an increase in the number of motorists driving at night with their fog lights on in the year we just lived through, no thanks to them.
That’s either because there were more drivers hereabouts or more people with fog lights they liked turning on.
Either way, the increase in fog light usage was most noticeable on clear nights. It was especially fun on two-lane roads out in rural areas, like somewhere in North Bryan between Lanier and Black Creek when a compact car would come at you on 280 looking like it was an 18-wheeler or Steven Spielberg alien mothership with its high beams on.
Naturally, there also was a corresponding decrease in the use of fog lights — or any other kind of lights — in rain or fog, probably because they were saving them up for clear nights.
Look, I know there was nothing illegal in 2013 about the use of fog lights when it wasn’t foggy, but I bring it up because it drove me nuts and was about as annoying and dangerous to oncoming drivers as those retina-frying, industrial-strength 4,000-volt white headlamps that became all too common several years back.
What 2014 could bring: Sadly, more of the same. But there is a website for us fellow travelers tired of blinking at oncoming traffic — it’s called Well, it’s a U.K. site, but at least it’s out there. There’s also a U.S. site called, but I couldn’t get it to load.

I take the Proust Questionnaire: As you may know, in 2013 the Bryan County News’ Life on the Hill section occasionally asked the subject of its stories to do abbreviated versions of the Proust Questionnaire.
Anyway, I figured turnabout was fair play. Here’s my own response to the questionnaire:
What is your greatest fear?
That a giant diaper-wearing baboon invades my house while I am sleeping and redecorates the living room. I do not fear the baboon so much as I fear my wife will shoot it for messing with the way she has the living room decorated. She takes that sort of thing seriously.
What historical figure do you most identify with?
Genghis Kahn. I’m not sure why. But he has  a sword.
What is your most obvious characteristic?
I’m built like Barney Rubble, only he’s real.
On what occasion do you lie?
When the truth just won’t work.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would overcome my reluctance to be more spontaneous in public and follow my instincts. For example, I frequently have this instinct while standing in line in the Richmond Hill Kroger to start gangsta rapping the words to Ice Cube’s “Today was a Good Day:”
Just wakin up in the mornin gotta thank God
I don’t know but today seems kinda odd
No barkin from the dog, no smog
And momma cooked a breakfast with no hog
Yeah. Cause that’s just how I roll.

Whitten is reporter and sports editor extraordinaire for the Bryan County News.

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