Quote of the Day:
“Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.” –Napoleon Bonaparte
From the age of 6 up through 16, this guy …..
….was a pretty dang good baseball player. After that, well, lets just say I needed my education. But that’s not the point.
Like any former athlete, be they a Hall of Famer or simply a neighborhood menace, TB loves to relive the glory days. Hell, I even like to relive my asshole runnin’ buddies’ glory days; we have to like each others’ old tales of courage and heroism because no one else really wants to hear them. And what’s a story without the tellin’?
And so it happened that one night a long, long time ago that TB, BR, Smily, Rob and maybe somebody else were out ridin’ around with the windows down one summer night. We were talking about how good Perk’s Juco baseball team was that several of my ARB’s, including BR and Rob, were playing for. At some point in the conversation somebody decided to make ol’ TB feel good and said something of my childhood exploits on the diamond, comparing me favorably to some other really good ballplayers who were still on the ascending side of “the hill”. I was pretty much sittin’ back by the cooler with a grin on my mug thinkin ’bout how much I loved these guys, especially when pretty much all of them chimed in sincerely with something good. Of course, there was a small undercurrent of discomfiture because as anyone knows ARB’s don’t make a habit out of saying nice things about one another. We’d come all the way down Beach Boulevard, turned around at the Point and were heading back up Market when I decided to join in, cut things off and agree that, you know, they were right. I’d been damn good back in the day.
At the precise moment I spoke a car passed us on Market and as luck would have it their windows were down too. Must’ve been a nice night. We all heard, clear as day, one of them call out “You’re DAMNNNNNNNNNNNN RIGHT!” Of course, the dude wasn’t talking to us, probably didn’t even notice us. TB, to lighten the mood and to get everyone to laugh off the emotional awkwardness of such a heartfelt ARB conversation, said, “Did you hear that? I AM Famous. That guy just said “there goes BENNNNNNNNNNNN WHITE!” Well, that lightened the mood alright. Everybody “thought” (I’ll never be sure if they really did/do or not) that I really believed this stranger said “Ben White” instead of “Damn Right”. After a good quarter hour of TB love, my ARB’s made up for it by laughing and mocking me unfairly and mercilessly for the next hour over my poor hearing and inflated ego. So be it, it was worth it to hear all those nice things. And that was the end of it.
Except that was not the end of it. When I next came home from college for a night out with the boys I was introduced to one of their buddies from some other town on the Coast. His eyes lit up when we met. “You’re BEN DAMN WHITE!” I was confused. Everybody else was laughing their ass off. As we moved around that night from bar to bar I got the same reaction. Then I started hearing people across the room who’d not even known I was there saying it. At the pool table somebody asked their opponent if they wanted to bet a beer on the next game. “You’re Ben Damn White,” came the reply. A dude asked a girl if she wanted to go out to the car to look for something he left and she said “you’rebendamnwhite.” On and on it went. My friends, lifelong pals, bosom buddies, ARB’s, had turned our moment of genuine male bonding into a catchphrase that had taken hold over a radius of two hundred miles outward from Perkinston, Mississippi. For years I heard “you’rebendamnwhite” all across the coast and north to Hattiesburg, from people who had no idea why they were saying it, still do occasionally, all because I tried to be a stand up guy and get everyone to move on by injecting a little reverse self deprecating humor. In fact, that’s what inspired me to tell the tale, I got a “Bendamnwhite” on Facebook today. And you’ve been wondering, I bet, why I call them my asshole runnin buddies. I hate those dudes.
But they could all play some dang good ball, I ain’t gonna lie.
“When you are young you get blamed for crimes you never committed and when you get old you get credit for virtues you never possessed. It evens itself out.” Casey Stengel