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COMMENTARY BY WILLIAM CARTER: If prescription sunglasses dont make the man, Bobby Sherman does

I was driving through town a few Saturdays ago in my brand-new, used car on my way to buy a personal hygiene product with soothing aloe in it for something you don’t really need propped in the open window because it was nice out and sun-shiny and I was listening to Hippie 94.5 and singing loudly … badly … to something I don’t know the words to by Bobby Sherman or maybe it was The Monkees and I had my prescription shades on and though I don’t really have any proof, I’m pretty damned sure I looked just as cool as all get out.

Even if I didn’t look as cool as all get out it doesn’t matter because when you reach a certain age, the need to preen, as well as how much other people’s opinions of you effect your ego, kind of evaporates and you begin to realize as long as you keep yourself reasonably clean and act like you’ve got some sense and don’t go around picking your nose or licking doorknobs or kicking puppies (or maybe it’s kicking doorknobs and licking puppies), not too many people are going to pay that much attention to you anyway.

So when I stopped at the traffi c light and the three immortal, whip-thin, teen-aged skateboarder boys with abundant hair slouching and posing on the corner by Starbuck’s and surrounded by a bevy of infatuated young girls pointed and laughed and sneered at my living-inthe- moment moment – the way only teenagers who will live forever can point and laugh and sneer – as I waited for the light to turn green, it didn’t bother me a bit because I knew for a fact that a middle-aged, bald guy wearing bi-focal shades and a pair of love-handles singing madeup words to an old song he didn’t know the words to by Bobby Sherman or maybe The Monkees while out on a personal-hygiene-product run was not the best or the worst or even the weirdest thing they’d see that day.

I did, however, make sure they would remember it by not reacting the way I was supposed to and I waved at them like Gomer Pyle always did and hollered out “Heeey!” and gave them a big, cheesy thumbs-up and grinned as if we werepals  and then laughed like hell at their obvious embarrassment in front of the girls and their disgust I didn’t realize I was old and didn’t know my place and, furthermore, had violated some unwritten rule by not being intimidated or impressed by THEIR coolness.

I was still laughing – so were the girls – when the light turned green and, yes, it made me feel like a big ol’ winner.

A half-block later, the traffic stops again but thistime it’s to allow a wedding party leaving the church to cross the street and the wait didn’t bother me at all because it looked like a scene out of a movie with the bride laughing and holding the hem of her gown up a bit with one hand so she wouldn’t step on it and her new husband was holding on to her other hand and looking at her as if the crowd around them and the cars and the building and the street, even, didn’t exist and the only people in the whole world right at that moment were the two of them and then I looked over at the church and saw a pretty 20-something girl in a tight blue dress kind of lurching down the steps and I thought “Bless her heart … that girl’s sick” but then two more pretty girls wearing tight blue dresses lurched down after her and I thought, scandalized, “They’ve been drinking in the church!” but when all three of them fi nally made it down to the sidewalk and stood clutching and steadying each other, I noticed they were all wearing – on purpose, I guess – very painful looking and, in all probability, impossible to wear shoes and I thought “Bless their hearts”, but his time in that way Southern people do when they’re talking or thinking about people who might be crazy.

None of this has anything to with anything except that when I got home and eased into my chair in front of the computer, I was reminded that my sole purpose for going out in the first place was to buy a personal hygiene product with soothing aloe in it for a problem you don’t really need to know about.

Naturally, I decided to take a nap before going out again.

Hey … it’s not my fault that riding around town looking and being as cool as I am and forgetting things at the same time can wear an old guy out.

William Carter is a longtime Franklin city employee and published author. He may be contacted at

Posted on: 4/1/2013


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