Way back in the early 1980s — long before a football player ever knelt for the National Anthem, back when no one carried AR-15s into the store to get milk and when wearing a mask into the liquor store was more likely to get you arrested than a “thank you” — a wise soul gave me some sage advice that sticks with me today:
“You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life.”
I can’t remember exactly who told me that, but the word Tootie comes to mind, although that could be merely how I was feeling back then when my diet was mainly Froot Loops, Spaghetti-Os and lime Mister Mistys. (For those who didn’t grow up with a Dairy Queen, a Mister Misty was a slushy drink, not a contestant on “Rupaul’s Drag Race.” Figures that I still love frozen lime drinks of other sorts today.)
Tootie popped into my mind at the beginning of the Texans-Chiefs game that kicked off the NFL season last week — and if there’s any Tootie popping, it’s probably best to pop in your mind than anywhere else. I thought of her brilliant words because the mostly white fans booed the mostly black football players as each team locked arms in unity before the game. It wasn’t even a protest — merely an expression of the desire that we can all come together to support such causes as equality, racial justice and peace.
That quiet, simple moment drew responses such as “Boo,” “BOO!” and “Shut up and dribble” — that last one coming from Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, who had a few too many beers during pregame tailgating.
I can’t believe that the 16,000 or so fans who had the privilege of scoring one of the few tickets for the socially-distanced opener could not refrain from being jerks for just a few moments. No, they didn’t want any statements at all from the players. Just get out there and break a leg. Literally.
Folks like that need to find their inner Tootie. (No, a little higher. There you go.) They need to take the good with the bad, or at least what they see as the bad.
For instance, last millennium, I got tickets to see Hank Williams Jr. in concert with Lynyrd Skynyrd. This might surprise you, but it wasn’t the most diverse crowd. I haven’t seen that many rebel flags since the first Battle of Bull Run. The only black folks I saw were a couple of security guards who looked around as if they were thinking: “Ain’t no way I’m telling 10,000 drunk white people to behave.”
But I took the good (the music) with the bad (the way-too-white). And we can debate how good the music is, but you’d just wind up being wrong, and we argue enough already these days.
I like listening to “John Boy and Billy” sometimes on the radio, even though their show often sinks into one-sided political humor and a tinge of homophobia. But a lot of the other stuff is funny. I take the good with the bad.
Yet, I see so many folks now saying they won’t watch the NFL anymore because they dislike this one aspect of it, while many on the other extreme want to take down monuments to Founding Fathers. True, in many ways they were some bad, bad folks. But even bad folks can have a great idea here and there.
There aren’t many areas in which Kelly Loeffler, Bill Maher and I are in lock-step agreement, but we all despise the whole cancel culture. Everybody’s boycotting something. I just hope that these folks boycotting the NFL are still doing it after the pandemic so I can have their Falcons tickets.
Take the good, take the bad. Don’t take your ball and go home. Be more Tootie.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna watch this “Dukes of Hazzard” rerun.
“Wait, that is offensive! I’m cutting this off.”
“What? The rebel flag on the General Lee?”
“No, it’s one with Cletus the deputy instead of Enos. That’s just wrong! Boycott!”