Uh-oh, a column in three parts.
The Pembroke Mafia Football League is in week three already and at least one thing is as clear as the ears on the sides of my substantially-sized head: First-year PMFL’er Dawnne Greene is a force to be reckoned with.
Greene, Richmond Hill city clerk and PMFL South Bryan Cultural Attache, has only four misses through the first two weeks, and only missed one game in week two. One.
That’s some unconscious picking, even by our lofty standards.
There’s a crowd in second, with PMFL Chairman B.J. Clark, PMFL Academic Advisor Mark Rogerson, PMFL Tractor Parts Division Chief Mike Clark and Pembroke First Baptist Church Pastor Brad Butler, the PMFL Baptist-in-Chief, tied with eight misses so far.
In third are Pembroke City Administrator Alex Clark, who is PMFL Planning and Zoning Advisor and Cemetery Consultant, and District 1 County Commissioner Noah Covington. Noah represents the PMFL in the Georgia Chapter of the Beer Belly and Facial Hair Club for Men. He’s also King of the North and, as we all know, winter is coming.
In fourth and with 10 misses each are Dr. Trey Robertson, an assistant superintendent with Bryan County Schools, and Mr. Ben Carter-Taylor, who some of you know as Bryan County’s county administrator.
Both men have difficult jobs. Dr. Robertson is in charge of operations and maintenance, known in education lingo as school operations and maintenance.
Taylor, meanwhile, is responsible for the dayto- day operations of Bryan County government.
That’s a grinding, brutal, horrific, difficult, thankless, funky job and not for the faint of heart.
It’s even less of a picnic when you resemble a ventriloquists’ dummy whenever you wear a pinstriped suit, as does Taylor. He overcomes that occasional resemblance to a sort of smart Mortimer Snerd by having great taste in men’s hosiery, otherwise known as socks. Aside: at a recent planning and zoning meeting, Taylor showed up in a pair of blue and white striped socks that looked like he stole them from Dr. Suess.
Not to be outdone, Floyd was wearing pink and white striped seersucker pants from the waist down for some reason I didn’t quite understand. He said something about being in a parade, or maybe he said “on a catwalk.” The man digs fashion.
Then there’s Ted O’Neil, who is in charge of the PMFL Regional Office in Michigan. He’s also PMFL Public Information Officer. And then there’s Ernie Mitchell, who like B.J. is retired Navy and a big cheese in Pembroke American Legion Post 164. Ernie, the PMFL Naval Portswain and Harbormaster, is in charge of our lifejackets and keeps them in his shed in case we need them, and we might before this hurricane season is over.
Ernie’s has 11 misses so far and is next to last, and he’s also the guy immediately in front of me. I’ve got 12 misses.
Bless my heart, I’m just along for the ride.
This week’s games, but first let’s remember some games might not be played due to Florence.
The PMFL’s thoughts and prayers are with all those in the storm’s way.
Hawaii at Army: Ernie, Noah and Dawnne go with the Rainbows. The rest of us go with Army.
Georgia Tech at Pitt: Everybody but me takes Pitt. I am a Yellow Jacket fan and a Paul Johnson fan, so I’m doing them a favor.
Boise State vs. Oklahoma State: Ben takes Boise. Rest of us take the Cowboy boys and Mike the Mullet Gundy. Mullets are fun.
Central Florida vs. North Carolina. Nobody in their right mind is picking North Carolina.
LSU vs. Awbern: Mark, Noah, Alex, Dawnne and yours truly select the Bayou Bengals.
Everybody else takes B.J.’s second-favorite team, or first-favorite. Wardamneagle.
Michigan vs. SMU: I may be the only person on the planet who actually enjoys listening to Mike Harbaugh press conferences.
West Virginia vs. NC State: Me and the good Rev. Butler take the Wolfpack. The rest take the Mountaineers. West Virginia, by the way, is essentially East Ohio, only hillier.
Vandy vs. Notre Dame: I’m picking Vandy. I had a dream that they’re going to go undefeated.
Of course, in the same dream my neighbor Bill had antlers and ate the bark off a tree in my yard.
Everybody else takes the Irish.
Ohio State vs. TCU: Noah, Alex and I take the Horned Frogs. True story: One of my j-school professors, Robert Bohler, went on to be a big shot in the TCU j-school. He likes Bobby Bare. So do I. The world needs more Bobby Bare music. Oh, and everybody else takes the Buckeyes, who are quite popular in South Bryan.
Tulane vs. UAB: Nobody cares. B.J. will tell us who won next week.
Texas State vs. South Bama: Mark, Ernie, Noah and Ted take the Bobcats.
Us real men take the Jaguars. Dawnne too.
Colorado State at Florida: It’s like mullet mayhem this week. Noah, B.J. and I take Colorado State. Everybody else picks the Gainesville Condo Mullets.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is my columns meander to whatever point it is I think I am trying to make.
Another thing I’ve noticed over the years is that there are some things everybody can naturally do better than the person who actually does them.
This is not an original observation. I heard it first about 25 years ago from a legend in the Georgia newspaper business, Robert Williams.
He was telling us to get thick skins.
In short, we’re a nation of born experts when it comes to being football coaches, county commissioners, school superintendents, tax commissioners, sheriff ’s, mayors, funeral home directors, sushi chefs, dog catchers, editors, trapeze artists and so on. Well, we’re experts as long as we don’t actually do whatever job it is we can do better than the person doing it at the moment. Take last weekend, for example: “I could stop Georgia’s running game better than that clown defensive coordinator South Carolina has,” said an expert armchair defensive coordinator, knowing full well nothing short of an Abrams tank can stop Georgia’s running game.
The flip side of that coin is that if we do get stuck being in charge of something, we usually realize real quick we don’t know what we’re doing.
And if we don’t come to that conclusion fairly soon, all kinds of people will be out there helping us find our way. They’ll help us by telling us we couldn’t find our rear end with both hands in our back pockets. I think this born-expert thing is true in a lot of places, but it’s especially so in South Bryan, where there sometimes seem to be more experts on everything per square inch than anywhere else in Georgia except maybe the Atlanta suburbs.
But only because it’s a bigger talent pool up there. You’ve got Georgia Tech nearby, you know.And think tanks, and the Georgia General Assembly, and half of Chicago.
That’s a lot of IQ. Just ask them.
Still, these days I almost feel sorry for Bryan County officials who have not only somehow managed to convince Richmond Hill to take them to court —the less I know about that lawsuit the more I understand, to be honest — they’re also in the unenviable position of having to figure out how to manage Bryan County’s booming development.
On the one hand, people say they want slower residential development and more restrictions put on the kind of development that comes into the county.
They also want infrastructure to catch up before another more development. They’ve been saying so a long time, to be honest, but it’s evidently coming in more clearly nowadays, and may be picking up steam.
I know this because even people who moved here last week are getting mad at people looking at moving here next week.
“You’re ruining my quality of life,” they say.
“Go somewhere else.”
“What? You haven’t even unpacked yet and you’re telling me I can’t move here because it’s getting too crowded?”
“I haven’t unpacked because my moving truck is stuck in traffic caused by all you transplant rubberneckers driving your silly Land Rovers around looking for new homes that don’t even have their luxury vinyl-simulated- polycomposite-real- faux-solid-board-veneer- brick-carbundium- siding in optional but upscale and tasteful colors such as oystermauve grey-egret-sandlapper- palmetto-seafoam- persimmon stapled on yet!”
I know, I’m being silly.
So anyway, in recent years the county first goes out on a limb and passes impact fees (there’s a story there, I hear) to get new development to help fund some of the infrastructure they’ll require.
Now, commissioners have come up with an interim development ordinance to try and manage what kind of growth comes in.
That just prompted a Savannah builder’s group to oppose the ordinance because they don’t think it’s good for business.
That’s fair, though I do not think the group will find many fans outside the real estate industry. I could be wrong.
I say that knowing there are many in Bryan who work in said industry and depend on it for their livelihoods, among them a handful I consider to be friends. I understand their concerns, too.
They’re by and large good, hardworking people and really just like you and me and anybody else who puts their glamour shots all over everything from supermarket buggies to interstate billboards.
Mostly, much of this growth and the changes wrought across the Coastal Empire has me thinking of the last lines of an old Eagles song, “The Last Resort.”
“They call someplace paradise, I don’t know why. You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye.”
Take it easy and stay safe.
Until he gets fired, Whitten is editor of the Bryan County News. He needs to write tighter, like Mike Royko.