On My Mind

Tommy Tomlinson’s On My Mind column runs every Monday on WFAE and WFAE.org. It represents his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE.

When I was a kid, I qualified for free lunch at school. Every Monday morning the teacher would call us up to the front of the class and hand out the little blue punch cards that got us through the line without paying. They were like scarlet letters spelling out the word P-O-O-R.

But really, the problem wasn’t that we got our lunch for free. The problem was that all the other kids had to pay for it.

When I was a kid, July was the best month. You were out of school and the whole summer was in front of you. Somewhere in my 30s, I switched to April – the flowers springing from the ground, the coats going back in the closet.

Now, in my 50s, I’ve come to love October.

The next weeks and months are going to be the biggest test yet of whether we, as Americans, can filter out the noise.

Vengeance, in our imaginations, is a cleansing thing. It might not make things right, but it makes them even. So I completely understand why the living victims of the UNC Charlotte shooter feel the way they do.

The thinking of the Republican leadership in the North Carolina legislature is clear. They have come to the conclusion that if the game is fair, they can’t win.

Football season used to be a five-month national holiday for me. I’d watch college games from noon to midnight on Saturday, and NFL games until the last snap on Sunday. I had elite-level skills with the remote control. I mainlined the Red Zone Channel, which shows every scoring play from every NFL game. I spent weekends in a football trance.

The race for North Carolina’s 9th House district has been like a NASCAR race from the old days – multiple wrecks, lots of caution flags, some country boys trying to pull a fast one.

I’m not a fabric store kind of guy. I’m more like a “please, Lord, don’t make me go in the fabric store” kind of guy. But even I had to respect Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia.

Sometimes justice makes nobody happy. And that is where I think we have landed in the death of Danquirs Franklin.

There are certain rules you need to know when you’re doing comedy. One, timing is everything. Two, don’t repeat the punchline. And three, don’t stand in front of a group of several hundred public servants and tell a joke about sex and cows.

Apparently, Bob Cordle never made it to Rule No. 3.

One Cool Day, And The Promise Of Better Days Ahead

Jul 29, 2019

I got off of work the other day and the world had changed.

It had rained while I was inside, and that string of brutally hot days had finally snapped. The thermometer on my dashboard said 68 degrees. For the first time in months, I drove home with the windows rolled down.

We lost one of Charlotte’s true characters the other day. His name was Greg Good but you probably knew him as the Catman. The cameras would find him at every Panthers game, cheering his lungs out in his jersey and his bright blue wig, looking like a cross between a linebacker and a Smurf.

I’ve been thinking about buying tickets to the Charlotte Hornets’ home games with the Boston Celtics next season. But I’ve been wondering if that would be too much like looking up an old girlfriend on Facebook.

The debate was supposed to be about noise.

We live in a time when some people react to news they don’t like by calling it fake news. That’s a deep insult to those of us who have spent our lives trying to bring you the real thing.

I had to go up to Cornelius the other day, so I intended to try out the new toll lanes on I-77.

It turned out the traffic was light and I didn’t need to. But a few people were using the toll lanes anyway, flying past at 80 miles an hour, as if paying the toll means you don’t have to bother with the speed limit.

I went to the Excelsior Club a few times back in the ‘90s, and it wasn’t much to look at even then. Now it’s even more rundown. If you just drive by the club, off of Beatties Ford Road, you might wonder what’s worth saving. But that’s only if you haven’t heard the stories.

Today we’re going to discuss one of life’s eternal questions: Does size matter?

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte is crawling into the 21st century. They should get some credit for finally moving forward. But they should also understand that there’s a long way to go.

I’ve seen a lot of the Carolinas over the years, but the other day I heard about a place I have to go visit sometime – the Black River down in southeastern North Carolina.

Its tea-colored water is home to a couple of rare fish species, and it’s known as one of the cleanest streams in the state. But the real attraction is the trees. There are bald cypress trees in the Black River swamp that have been around more than 2,000 years – literally since Jesus was a boy.

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