Alright this episode isn’t for the faint of heart. I’m going to give my opinions on some matters which South Carolinians may take offense, and as history teaches us, there’s no one more dangerous than South Carolinians when they feel slighted (just ask Charles Sumner).
Charleston is the greatest city in the Carolinas. North Carolina is the better of the Carolinas. Carolina is better than S. Car (or whatever that school in Columbia is legally allowed to call itself now). Lexington Barbeque is the best Barbeque in the world. And while the state of South Carolina focuses their passion for athletics into football programs that have one National Championship, the state of North Carolina focuses its passion towards highly successful basketball programs. It is this basketball focus that has stuck with me throughout my adult years, always watching football with a passing interest, but often spending more time focusing on my beloved UNC Tar Heel basketball program.
Regulars coming into my bar have nicknamed me a variety of things, but most of them have come up with the nicknames “Big Mike” or “Carolina Mike” on their own. Both nicknames are easy to come by. I’m a large guy, which explains “Big Mike” and 9 out of 10 shifts you can find me wearing a UNC ball cap.
Growing up I would sneak my radio under my pillow in bed and listen to all the late night basketball games. My mom, also an avid basketball fan, would let me watch the early games on TV. She’s such a big fan she loaded up all the kids at home (my oldest sister was studying at UNC at the time) and drove us to Chapel Hill to celebrate the ’93 NCAA Championship (I still own the t-shirt I bought from the bookstore). The only time I’ve ever cheered against UNC is when I was at CofC in the nineties and attended the Diet Pepsi Tournament where CofC played UNC (A game the Cougars won).
So it’s with this love of North Carolina that I wear plenty of Carolina Blue clothing. It’s my favorite color. And being much larger than my daughter (remember the whole “Big Mike” thing) I get to pick out what she wears. This means plenty of superhero, punk rock, and UNC onesies. Her wearing these onesies she often gets called a he.
Working at the Upper Deck, and as a bartender elsewhere, I’ve been around many different types of people in my life. The Upper Deck has always had a policy that anyone who isn’t an asshole is welcome. The bar I worked at in Memphis, The Cove, had the same policy.
My daughter being called my son doesn’t bother me. I do find it odd that strangers would call a child her size either a boy or girl. Here’s the thing. Don’t assume. While it doesn’t bother me that someone gets my child’s sex wrong, the mentality of having to label gender does bother me. Just don’t be an asshole. Or I won’t give you drinks.