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Wineka column: Idiots and the ties that bind

University of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams once called my son a ědadgum idiot.î
Benn considers it a badge of honor.
But more on that later.
As I write this column, I am wearing a tie. I plan to cover a banquet later in the evening at the Holiday Inn, and Iím guessing a coat and tie will be the appropriate attire.
Increasingly, I donít wear a tie to work, and Iím not alone. Polls say less than 6 percent of men now wear ties on the job and the percentage keeps dropping.
As church services turn to contemporary formats, many men are going for a more casual look on Sundays and leaving their ties at home.
Fashion gurus such as Tim Gunn, who often wears a tie, nonetheless says that for the fashion-deprived men among us, the best thing to do is wear a blazer, even if we eschew the tie.
President Obama goes for the open-collar look at times.
And most recently, some notice was given to the chief executive officers of Duke Energy and Progress Energy when they dressed casually ó and without ties ó to share with employees the plans for their multibillion-dollar merger.
But I come to praise the tie, not to bury it.
Here in the newsroom, we donít really have a dress code, other than a common-sense approach that we not look like slobs. Jeans are frowned on, except for snow days, weekends and casual Fridays. Ties are optional for guys.
I say that, even though no one has put it down in writing one way or the other.
I actually wish more of us would wear ties ó stuffy, confining and conservative as they might seem. In a baseball-cap society increasingly lacking in style, ties would help.
A tie by itself doesnít make you more civil or professional but, hey, it doesnít hurt. I hate to think of the day, for example, when ties are no longer required accessories for lawyers in the courtroom.
Part of the reason television viewers watch the ěMad Menî series is because Don Draper of the early 1960s had style ó and ties.
I hope men going for job interviews still wear a tie.
And I actually miss the days Tom Landry stalked the sidelines as coach for the Dallas Cowboys in his fedora, coat and tie.
I appreciate that most college and professional basketball coaches still wear coats and ties. Somehow it shows respect for their employers, the game and their station in life.
Now back to my son, the dadgum idiot.
Benn created the ěRoy Williams Tie Trackerî as part of ěThe Raftersî blog site, which he co-produces with his older brother, Sam. These UNC graduates describe their blog as ěa biased take on Carolina basketballî and, indeed, itís not a destination Duke fans would find appealing.
The Tie Tracker pays homage, it says, ěto the best accessory in college hoopsî by documenting the kind of tie Williams wears to each game.
For this yearís Asheville game, for example, Williams wore ěa purple gradient tie with pink square accents.î Against Lipscomb, the Tar Heel coach sported a ěbeige tie with light blue diamonds,î according to the tracker.
Call it part fashion, part superstition. Tar Heel fans look for any omen giving them a hint of victories to come ó even in the ties their coach wears.
At a post-game press conference last year, as it was becoming evident the Tar Heels were not too good, a frustrated Williams refused to make excuses and even noted that, ěSome dadgum idiot is saying it matters what kind of tie I wear.î
Or words to that effect. The key phrase was ědadgum idiot.î
Benn considered the insult a plug and an opportunity to get more hits on the blog site. Apparently thatís important. (You also can follow the Roy Williams Tie Tracker on Facebook and Twitter.)
Iím just glad my kids know what ties are.
And a note to Roy Williams: He should not worry about calling my son a dadgum idiot.
Watching the Tar Heels play this year, Iíve called him a lot worse.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or mwineka@ salisburypost.com.

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