DRY RIDGE, N.C. — Bunkum County’s local chapter of the Felix Walker Moonshining, Hog-Calling, Possum-Eating Council of America has recently elected a new member to their Bunkum County Shed of Fame. Club bylaws state that whenever Silas Peckinpaugh buys a round at the bar, all members present must screen and vote on a new Shed member. The fact that only six members have been elected in the past twenty-five years tells you something about Silas’s spending habits. His frugality also guarantees an automatic cap on the number of Shed members. This eases concerns over possible Shed expansion, which would distract members from more pressing club “activities.”
Silas and three other members were sitting at the bar watching a rerun of All in the Family. (Four is a quorum when you have Silas to consider.) When the show took a commercial break, Silas ordered a round of drinks. All eyes were on his right hand as he reached into his wallet like a man trying to remove bait from a bear trap. Everyone smiled and politely turned their heads as he reluctantly extracted a war-torn ten-dollar bill.
Levi Newton stood and said, “I move we vote on electing Archie Bunker into our hallowed Shed of Fame.”
“Now hold your horses, Levi,” said Buddy Harnett. “He don’t meet the criterium.”
“He was an American citizen in good standing, wasn’t he?” said Levi.
“Well, yeah,” said Buddy, “but what about the Bunkum? Ain’t the other criterion that his nonsense has to make sense?”
Levi nodded as Buddy continued. “He was a dang bigot who had no sense of humor at all. All them racial stirs and epattacks didn’t never make no sense. He always sounded like an ignoranus to me.”
The commercials ended, and everyone’s attention returned to the TV. It wasn’t long before Archie unleashed one of his famous Bunkerisms: “Women doctors are only good for your women’s problems, like your groinecology there.”
Everyone except Buddy erupted in laughter. He sat there with a look of confusion on his face. The others were about to try to explain the unexplainable when they were rescued by Archie. “Edith, don’t you think you oughta take one of them pills the doctor gave you for your hot flushes?”
When the laughter subsided, the boys noticed that Buddy’s expression had gone from confusion to consternation. Levi decided to alleviate his angst with a few Bunkerisms of his own.
He put his arm around Buddy and said, “Buddy, old buddy, Archie’s not your typical commodian. It’s all in his speech patter. He don’t need regular jokes when he can drop one of his malaplops. Come to think of it, your sense of humor and his are downright similac.”
Buddy smiled at the “compliment,” so the boys went about conducting their vote. Archie was elected four votes to none.
“I was gonna abstrain,” said Buddy. “But it looks like Archie’s not such a bad guy after all.”
The Shed of Fame is open to the public on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Archie’s chair will be on display.