McKeithan Column

Published 5:41 am Tuesday, October 21, 2008

By Staff
My life on the edge
I’m cool: I wear sunglasses
Every generation needs its rebel.
I guess it’s going to be me. I’m way too cool though to acknowledge this honor — but let me tell you why it’s deserved.
At my core, I am a risk-taker. I’m not “skeered” of nothin’. I thumb my nose at societal norms by living a life of danger and careless abandon:
Never do I “repeat” as the shampoo bottle instructs me to do.
In open defiance of authority, I did NOT smile for my picture as the driver license examiner commanded.
I wear sunglasses … even when it’s NOT BRIGHT OUTSIDE!
I once dressed “business formal” on a casual Friday.
I use italics even when it doesn’t make sense to do so.
I stare at the sun during eclipses-es.
I chew with my mouth open.
I sometimes open my eyes during prayers, to see who else is doing it. (You.)
I purposely ask “can” when “may” is more proper.
I don’t floss and dare my dentist to say something about it. (He knows better.)
I defy convention in every way possible. Don’t get close to me; you’ll only get hurt. Not one to run with the crowd, I’m the independent spirit who marches to his own drum (set). Unlike McCain and Palin, I’m a TRUE maverick. They talk of “Joe Six-Pack.” Well John and Sarah, meet “Joe Cool.”
The Lone(some) Rebel
Just call me “Lonesome Ray.” Despite the self-serving nature of this column on (some) Fridays, I don’t like drawing attention to myself. (Honestly.)
I am shy and introverted and enjoy my own company. I hold myself in high regard.
I have recently attended (including last night) some music performances at ECU, alone. I asked my beautiful wife to go with me to the chamber-music events, her response was, *“If’n there ain’t a banjo or somebody yodelin’ then it ain’t real music.”
Editor’s note: Mr. McKeithan’s wife did not have the opportunity to proof his column this week.
Some nice friends of mine saw me at the last performance sitting by myself. There must have been a neon light above me blinking, “loser, loser, loser.” (I’m not paranoid, but I’m sure everyone there was talking about me … “he has no friends … I bet his children hate him … what’s with his hair?”)
The nice — apparently non-banjo-yodelin’-lovin’ couple — called to offer a ride to last night’s chamber-music performance in Greenville. I’m sure they felt sorry for me, they couldn’t possibly want the pleasure of my company (if they read my column).
I couldn’t accept their generous offer because — I ride alone. (Picture me in a leather jacket driving a custom Harley with my (one) hair blowing in the wind and “Born to Be Wild” blaring in the background.)
Reality sinks in
I don’t know why I’m such an odd duck. Sometimes, I’ll talk to my mom about my “unique qualities” and she’ll seek to reassure me by comparing me to my pop. “You get that from your father,” she’ll tell me. “But, Mama,” I reply, “I’m not HALF the man Daddy was.”
Reality will soon sink in, and people will realize I’m not this generation’s James Dean, Clint Eastwood or Steve McQueen. (Shocker!) I’m only half as cool as my pop was, according to my mom. You know, I’m probably more like Fonzie. Or not even that: Goober is the most accurate comparison to the person I’ve become.
Oh, well.
Whatever I am, the true me was on display last night as I sat — alone — at the chamber-music performance … wearing sunglasses.
*Ray’s wife actually told him that she’d rather not go, but if he really wanted her to she would because she loves him.
Ray McKeithan is associate publisher of the Washington Daily News. If you have any questions or comments about column topics or content and operations at the WDN, please send an email to: HYPERLINK “” or call 252-940-4205.