JP column

(Subject to final edits)

Here’s a compilation of nuggets that have gnawed at me this week in my travels:

The gay marriage debate seems to have taken center stage again.

And I’ve left the auditorium.

It began with the drama surround Miss California’s remarks in the Miss USA contest. Basically, for those who missed it, the woman revealed she did not support gay marriage and it led to a brief – but intense – storm of media coverage.

Then this past weekend in Grifton, there were about 400 people who rallied in support of North Carolina House Bill 361, which seeks to amend the state’s constitution to provide that marriage between a man and woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in the state.

With the California girl, I just kind of wrote it off as the media looking to bring up a tried and true story that’s proven to increase viewership by somewhere in the neighborhood of, say, 400 percent.

But when I heard 400 people showed up to this rally in Grifton to essentially spread the same message, I was a bit moved. Grifton, N.C., has a population of just more than 2,000 people. The fact that its population increased by nearly 20 percent for something like this is a bit unnerving.

Mainly because Grifton – I’ve learned from my experiences there – is a small town with a lot of big-town issues. And this is what the residents come together for?

According to the Internet, the gay population in Grifton is 5. As in, there are five gay people in Grifton. As in, there are five people who would be directly affected by North Carolina House Bill 361 and about 1, 995 people who wouldn’t.

The fact such a large percentage of people are moved to action by this and not more pressing issues speaks to my assessment that society has got it so good that we’re just looking for things to complain about … but we’re looking past the issues that warrant a good complaint. Off the cliff we go …

Flea markets aren’t used properly.

Since moving to this area from Wilmington, I can’t help but notice a good quantity of flea markets, auctions and farmer‘s markets. There’s even a relatively new auction place in Maysville I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about, the farmer’s market in Trenton and New Bern and a rather large flea market along N.C. 11 between Kinston and Greenville.

You know how there are rules that are begging to be broken? Markets like these sometimes afford us with the opportunity to do so without sacrificing a shred of our dignity.

Case in point: I will one day buy a katana blade I saw at the flea market on N.C. 11. Or somewhere else, should I find one.

I am the last person on this Earth who should have a katana blade or a martial arts weapon of any kind. But since I discovered that I can be the proud owner of one for $40, I’ve decided that the next time such an opportunity presents itself, I will not let it slip by.

But I’d never seek out a katana blade online or in a real martial arts store. Buying it from a strange man with a strange dialect, though, makes it seem like the right thing to do.

I can use it to chop up the fresh fruits and vegetables I purchase for real cheap at a farmer’s market.

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