I was apprehensive May 30 when "CBS Sunday Morning" scratched open the scab on the “Geographic Center of North America” controversy between Rugby, N.D., and Hanson's Bar in Robinson, N.D., because you know how those smug East Coast television city-slickers are. They delight in making us look like a bunch of bumpkins, and everyone knows that's South Dakota. Or western Minnesota. If I could plausibly drag Oklahoma into this, I would.
If you missed it, Bill Bender, owner of Hanson's Bar, trademarked the claim to the geographical center of the continent after Rugby let it lapse, leading to a lawsuit that eventually forced Bill to surrender.
I know what you're wondering. No, I don't think I'm related to Bill. All of my relatives are in jail, except Mom, and she's on work release. Anyway, none of the Benders I know would ever back down, which is why so many of us have broken noses. Bill's nose looked great on television.
If it does turn out that we're related, Bill, please don't leave me Hanson's Bar in your will. The last thing I need is access to an unlimited supply of alcohol. Unless Trump is reinstated in August.
Sure enough, "CBS Sunday Morning" portrayed us as a desolate state of nothingness that tourists ignore and geese poop on as they fly over. Yes, it's something I pointed out in a recent column myself, but that's different. I can beat up my little brother but you'd best not try.
Still, when Dickinson's Clay Jenkinson referred to Rugby's “pathetic claim to cosmic fame” and North Dakota as “a loser state,” I'll admit I started to rethink my long-standing contention that Clay Jenkinson is one of the three smartest men in North Dakota. Here's a man who studied at Vanderbilt, at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and is a nationally recognized humanities scholar.
Me? I don't even know what humanities are, which makes me a Republican, I guess.
Until now, I've always had Clay running neck-and-neck with Gov. Burgum. Who's third? Settle down, Sen. Cramer, it's not you. The tiebreaker between Clay and Doug Burgum was probably settled when Burgum called us losers but said it so politely no one noticed. He pledged to “reinvent” just about everything in the state including, apparently, the Legislature. That part hasn't gone well. He's spent most of his tenure getting shaken down for his lunch money and being stuffed into his locker at the capitol.
While I was dismayed by Clay's remarks, I hold out the possibility that he was waterboarded into submission by Jane Pauley or loosened up with tequila shots by Bill Bender, so I remain a Clay Jenkinson fan.
Once, while he was portraying Thomas Jefferson at a convention, my ex-wife lobbied me to leave before it was over, but I refused because he hadn't gotten to the part about Sally Hemings, yet. Essentially, I chose Clay over my wife, and that explains how things turned out. To be fair, he looks better in tights.
Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this publication, nor Forum Communications ownership.