Jon Dawson: Cheddar Bo controversy brings North Carolinians together
The internet is akin to a medication that will cure your terminal athlete's foot but in doing so may cause internal bleeding, blindness and the growth of an 11th toe on your forehead.
While the internet has the ability to inform, it also has the ability to get everyone riled up for no good reason. A good example of this phenomenon occurred last week when several news outlets reported the alleged death of Bojangle's beloved Cheddar Bo biscuit.
Some of the confusion was caused by people reading only the headline, while most of the muddied water was generated by the article itself.
It's true that some Bojangle's locations will see menu items dropped, but none of those affected are in the coverage areas of the news outlets that reported the story. Turns out the menu changes are only occurring at Bojangle's outside of North Carolina.
While reports of the death of the Cheddar Bo were greatly exaggerated, this incident made for a great sociological study. People who generally wouldn't react to any news items - be it a comet the size of Montana heading towards us or the revelation that as a child, Jack Ruby was the actor who portrayed Spanky in The Little Rascals/Our Gang series - went berserk over the notion of no mo' Cheddar Bo.
As the flimsy/clickbait Cheddar Bo story spread across North Carolina, some people nearly gave up the will to live. Big, strong, manly men who on any other day would use 10 penny nails as toothpicks formed support groups to deal with the devastating news. Coworkers in offices from Smithfield to Atlantic Beach who usually smile politely while internally criticizing each other's wardrobe shared their favorite Cheddar Bo memories as if they were talking about Elvis.
Even I, Dear Readers (copyright Bryan Hanks), fanned the Cheddar-Bo-Gate flames. When I heard someone ranting and raving about the Cheddar Bo going away, I, of course, added to the story.
"You know they're doing away with sweet tea, don't you?" I asked solemnly.
"Dewwwwhat?!" she replied.
After the paramedics stabilized her, I let the woman in on the joke.
"They're not dropping sweet tea from the menu," I said. "I was just having fun with you."
The lady - who at this point was on a gurney and being administered half a gallon of Bojangle's sweet tea intravenously - swore revenge on me and anyone who looked like me.
"Then again if they look like you they've been punished enough already!" she yelled while an EMS worker squeezed lemon juice into her sweet tea IV.
Call me crazy, but I'll gladly pay for armed security guards because, at the end of the day, the Cheddar Bo controversy brought folks together.
People who traditionally avoid each other like moldy okra due to political, cultural or hygienic differences united as one to weather the biscuit brouhaha. With the storm now over, everyone will go back to their corners and revert to their traditional roles on the great stage of human discourse.
While we as a people may be headed for a day when civilization crumbles under the weight of our warring opinions, archaeologists of the future will dig through the debris and find proof that for a brief period of Bo-time in 2018, we all got along due to a shared love of flour, buttermilk and cheddar cheese.
Jon Dawson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.jondawson.com.