As a student at Georgetown High School (I think I was a junior), my old man and I were kindly invited to the state house in Columbia. I had won some kind of award. I forget now what I had done to deserve distinction, but since ribbons are best left for children, horses and pies, that doesn’t really matter here.
Here’s what does, though.
Part of said prize package included an exclusive meet ‘n’ greet with the ‘illustrious’ then Rep. Arthur Ravenel, Jr. (R-District 1). Yes, two of Georgetown County’s finest Democrats were *finally* going to meet the seer-sucker clad, French Huguenot faaather of khaki-clad, ex-state treasurer (and, lest we forget, yayo-lovin’) Thomas Ravenel…star of Bravo’s new hit reality TV show, Southern Charm. And despite his chopped-up coif and brackish grin, Ravenel the Elder seemed polite enough.
At least at first.
He asked my dad where we were from. He then turned to me, asking where I wanted to go to college. (Unlike T-Rav, I said U-S-C, not the Cita-del.) And then he asked us both what I made on the SAT—as if I would’ve lied had Colin not been there. And then, out of nowhere, Arthur Ravenel, Jr., ‘distinguished’ member of the United States House of Representatives from the great state of South Carolina, dropped one of the biggest n-word bombs I’ve ever fucking heard!
“With that kind of score, young man, you should be able to go to Carolina for free,” he started. “But the niggers here just won’t allow it.”
Colin and I were shell-shocked, beyond belief. Really. Did he just say what we think he said? Jesus H. Christ, he totally did!
“Let’s go, son, now,” my old man said. And, sho’ ‘nuff, we walked out of that sniveling little bigot’s office…and right into the freshly edited statue of James Strom Thurmond.
So, Southern Charm, you ask? Hell no, more like Southern Smarm.
[N.B. Arthur Ravenel, Jr. was succeeded by the once and future ‘Luv Guv,’ himself, Mark Sanford.]