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Jeff Whitten: Starting up a think tank
editor's notes

Regular readers of this space found out last week the Pembroke Mafia Football League will back for another year of gridiron glory.

It will be fun, though who cares anyway, because we’re in the process of making a transition from what we are, i.e., the Pembroke Mafia Football League, to that we aspire to be, i.e., a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank in which deep thoughts are thunk and life’s biggest questions are pondered.

Here’s a sample:

Do fish get thirsty?

Is Clemson illegal?

Why do Democrats whine so much?

How many Republicans will it take to defoliate Bryan County?

Why can’t women drive?

Are people who post all the time on Facebook criminally insane, or just starved for attention, or both?

I’m getting ahead of myself.

It’s the coming thing you know, nonprofit think tanks. I know this because I Googled it and learned I can start up my own think tank in five or six easy steps.

Those steps are:

 1. Figure out a cause and a catchy name. Both are in the PMFL wheelhouse. Our cause is not having to weed eat ditches or fish around in broke septic tanks for a living. We’re thinkers, not doers. As for a name, how about the Pembroke Mafia Policy Institute, Inc? Our mascot will be the Planktons. Like the one on Spongebob Squarepants. Our motto: “We’re going to rule the world.”

2. Create a buzz. You apparently do this by notifying the local, regional, state and national media and all the important bloggers that you’re starting up a think tank. The idea is they’ll fall all over themselves to spread the word and give us free publicity, because, well, because us fixing to fix the world through brainpower is a pretty big deal.

3. Identify others who belong in your think tank and invite them to join in. Except I already know too many people. And, I’m a misanthrope. But you do want to let important people know you’re about to start thinking so they won’t come around and nit pick all the time, like somebody we know on Facebook.

Besides, the Pembroke Mafia Football League already has plenty of brain power: B.J. Clark, Mike Clark, Alex Floyd, Bob Floyd, Ben Taylor, Dr. Gene Wallace, Dawnne Greene, Ted O’Neal, Dr. Trey Robertson, also known as Dr. Trey Roberts and, at times, Dr. Trey Robinson, depending on when I write the story, Dr. Lawrence Butler, and your’s truly. Between us, we have a combined IQ of a lot, as in 600 million.

4. Hold an RSVP event, a kind of Think-o-Rama. In that regard I’m thinking we should bring back sock hops as part of any PMPI gathering. Outdoor sock hops. With no socks. Just hopping. Hopping jiggles brain cells and keeps your brain fresh. Try it at home next time you can’t remember where you put the pickles or left your pants.

5. Rake in the donations. Once people know you’re a nonprofit nonpartisan think tank aimed at doing good to others, they’ll stand in line to give you money so you can figure out how to get rid of all the traffic in Richmond Hill and save the bees, using practical, nonpartisan solutions of course. Except for B.J. He’ll likely want to sacrifice a few hippy draft dodging Democrats to Barry Goldwater’s memory to make sure it all works.

My solution is to stop building subdivisions. Actually, that’s my solution for most of the world’s problems. We’re subdivision heavy at present, and if they don’t stop building them pretty soon the earth will spin out of alignment and get lopsided, then we’ll have a blowout in orbit and then who knows what will happen but it probably won’t be good.

And to show just how serious this is, I’ve put together a sample agenda for the PMPI’s first meeting.

I. Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S.A.

II: Swearing of Oath of Allegiance to the PMPI. Election of officers.

III: Moment of silent reflection.

IV: Moment to count donations.

IV: New business: 1. Is it just us, or does Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher resemble Harry Houdini?

Nope. It’s not just us.

2. Is mustard a fruit, vegetable or carbohydrate? Would it taste good as a soft drink? Explain why.

3. If you could paint your house seven colors, what would they be and how mad would your neighbors or HOA get?

4. How many subdivisions should there be in an acre? None? Explain.

V: Get ready for college football season.

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