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“Somebody’s Watching Me”

                                                           A smartly dressed Auburn man.

A few months ago, while I was driving to work, I reached the end of my cul-de-sac where a stop sign resides.  Since I can easily see down both ways of the cross-street before getting to the stop line, I usually coast through the sign when no one is coming (although if questioned by the authorities about this, I will gladly plead the Fifth).

However, this particular morning, as I was leaving a little late that day, the young man from the family next-door was standing outside waiting for the school bus, waving at me and looking appreciatively at my obnoxiously bright yellow Honda S2000 (as all young men do when a sports car goes by). All of a sudden, I realized that I would be setting an example by stopping or not stopping at that stop sign. I stopped pretty quick.

And thus it is with almost everything we do in life. NSA and IRS aside, we are always being watched and judged by our behavior. (This is especially true for those who say they don’t care what anyone else thinks.)  Then, fairly or unfairly, those judgments accrue to those who share characteristics with the judged party, whether race, sex, or college colors.

Consequently, it is essential that we remember this fact whenever we go out in our Auburn attire, whether to a game or just out shopping. People are watching and judging, and judging all of us by the example given by each of us.  It is probably even more important for those of us with Auburn bumper stickers or license plates to comport ourselves in a seemly manner in our vehicles (this last point is usually lost on my own self when dealing with motor-miscreants in Atlanta’s infamous uber-traffic).

As I noted in an earlier article, I wear my Auburn attire just about everywhere, for the specific purpose of provoking a reaction. The reaction I honestly hope I get is someone thinking “There goes someone who loves his university.” If a rival fan wants to offer a good-natured rib, I am perfectly fine with that too. However, we certainly do NOT need to provoke the reaction of “Typical Auburn blankety-blank.”

Although I am sure the readership here are always careful to exercise politeness and class in ALL situations, regardless of attire or activity, this is just a reminder to us all (and myself especially) to take that extra measure of care when identifying ourselves as part of the Auburn Family. Gosh knows, we can pick our friends, but we can’t pick our family—let’s make sure we make life a little easier for everyone who walks the orange-and-blue path.

Michael Val

(who enjoys estimating the probability of ANY university attendance of drivers whose car carries crimson-and-white “A” stickers)



  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Good points! I’d add that life will flow a lot smoother if you make doing things right a habit. Get in the habit of stopping at stop signs, and you won’t even have to think about it anymore. And if a cop’s watching from a distance, you’re in the clear. Make it a habit.

    …..That’s the sort of thing that’s accomplished by standards, certification and such in the workplace. You make doing things right a habit, and many problems seem to just take care of themselves.

    …..Isn’t it just typical when somebody with a UA tag cuts you off, runs the light, or turns left in front of you? It actually irritates me MORE, when someone with an Auburn tag does it.

    • mvhcpa says:

      And I am usually fastidious with making a full stop at all stop signs; the function of this particular sign in my neighborhood, with the clear views all up and down the street before getting to the stop line, seems to be saying to me “give right of way for anything that is coming” versus “stop here and make sure nothing is coming.” Of course, it legally is saying “stop here no matter what.” MVH

  2. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    My Dad often pointed out that ‘Courtesy costs you nothing, but rudeness can cost you everything.’ Besides that, I find that I’m careful to watch my behavior when I’m ‘wearing the colors’ especially as I live some distance away from where they are commonly worn.

    I would much rather be remembered as that nice man in an Auburn shirt than that !*%#*$#@! from Alabama.

  3. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    Good thoughts and reminders. Your post reminds me of some funny instances about attire and fandom… I’m in Southeast GA and we Tigers are limited in numbers in the area which is obviously overrun by bulldog fans – or bulldaaaaawwwwwgggg fans as they like to be called. I think our school system actually makes the kids misspell it on purpose and I’m pretty sure ‘B’ as in ‘bulldawg’ is now the alphabet norm. I’m reminded of their presence every time I see my bent front AU license plate, which somehow keeps finding new creases even when I straighten it up.

    When my kids were smaller and they would see someone (always appropriately) wearing Auburn attire, they would ask me if they could go say ‘War Eagle’ to them. I reminded them as long as they ask for permission from a parent (because we don’t talk to strangers) they could and they were always so excited when the ‘War Eagle’ was returned. If my kids didn’t get a ‘War Eagle’ back, then we knew they were probably some deviant or predator…but that never happened.

    To me that is the best thing (maybe the only thing) about living in an area where you don’t carry the state’s fan population. When you meet a fan/alumni/student of Auburn, it’s like a reunion and you can immediately start talking about the upcoming season.

    I can’t tell you how many times on Saturday when I’ve been in the grocery store prepping for an upcoming game that I see a bulldawg fan walking around in a sleeveless UGA t-shirt, dragging their knuckles down the aisles looking for PBR and a pregnancy test while a UGA game is currently on TV. I always want to ask them, “Ma’am do you know that your team is playing right now?”

    My youngest son (10) will say when we pass a vehicle tatted up with Alabama paraphernalia (because I can’t stand driving behind them), “Everyone please turn and look to your right into the face of ignorance…” And I will always reply, “Man I wish their windows were tinted, I didn’t need to see that…” We always get a laugh with that. And when it comes to other Auburn drivers, they ALWAYS get the right of way from me…I wish we had some sort of hand gesture to symbolize the Auburn brotherhood. I’ve developed one for the Alabama fan. I call it the ‘tall finger’.

    War Eagle and have a great weekend.

    • mvhcpa says:

      I live right next to Athens, so I KNOW what it is like to be surrounded by Bulldog folks. It ain’t pretty by a longshot! MVH

  4. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Great article and great comments. Two things struck me as very true, i.e., “You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family” and “Courtesy costs nothing but rudeness can cost you everything.” I believe in Auburn and I love everything about Auburn. To paraphrase an ad for a credit card, “AUBURN, don’t leave home without it!”

    Having been born, raised and living in Baton Rouge, LA except for my years at Auburn and in the US AIr Force, I know what it means to be far from “home” and in a hostile environment. I always have something on my person that says, “AUBURN”. I do get some snide remarks but I don’t let that bother me. I tell all my old friends that I’m allergic to purple and gold, and it usually gets a laugh. Everyone that knows me knows that except for my family, three grown kids, their spouses and six grand children, who live here in Big BR, I would be a resident of Auburn. I doubt that anyone would ever think of me as anything but an Auburn man and I always try to uphold that lofty image. Thanks for the great article and great comments.

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

  5. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    In Huntsville, Al because of the high tech engineering population base, there are plenty of the AU fans to identify with. However, being in the State alone means that every person, especially Bammer fans, has their college favorites as well as their favorite NASCAR driver. It is a fact that when you see an AU magnet or tag on a vehicle you will most likely not see a NASCAR bumper sticker. The opposite is true, when their are multiple Bammer insignia you will almost always find a Dale Jr. or a “3”‘ sticker and a driver with a much ruddier color neck.

    I have never seen more than 4 AU insignia on a car. As of now the record for Bammer insignia is 18 different stickers, magnets, tags, flags, etc. on the same truck.

    Finally, there is the guy who I saw with an Alabama Alumni Sticker on his windshield. When I questioned when he matriculated in Tuscaloosa he replied, “Oh, I didn’t go there, if you send them money they will make you an Alumni”. I rest my case.

    • mvhcpa says:

      I don’t have a problem with any alumni association having a “friends of the university” classification for membership; the problem is when the Bammers think they earned the title of “alumni” (and all it means in terms of achievement) just for following a winning football team. MVH

  6. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Addendum to my previous comment: My lovely wife, also a native, lives with me in Big B.R. She lived with me in Auburn for three years after we were married in 1964 and worked for Dean Foy! Yep, fifty years is the next big anniversary!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

  7. TigerWoman TigerWoman says:

    Really good article. agree 100%.

  8. sparkey sparkey says:

    You make really good points here. Even I, yes even sparkey, have influence over people and even I’m watched. By the way, my hair is still there guys I know y’all have been worried but it’s there and as pretty as ever. Make sure TOTM gets news of this.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Good to hear from you Sparkey,

      I thought for sure you would be one to have a list of Auburn greats to nominate for TET’s Hall? I’ll make sure Tiger on the Mountain sees your comment..

      War Eagle!

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      Hi Sparkey! You rang?…..(Thanks ATM!!!)

      Sparkey, I’m thinking of you and hope that you are staying strong in the face of adversity. Sending all sorts of positive energy your way :):).

      And thank goodness your lovely locks are OK–cause that’s what’s REALLY important 😉

      Take care, dude.

      • sparkey sparkey says:

        You too and thanks for the well wishes 🙂 hahaha sorry you know I love to jest about my hair after that dude called it the Saturday Night Special and said I had no teeth. I’ll never forget that as in that pic I’m sitting with a beautiful friend of mine who now works for a senator of Indiana.

        Anyway, again thanks and I’m looking forward to the upcoming football season. I have to say I kind of miss the old site for one simple reason-I liked the other fans trolling us. It kept things interesting and it was always great to gang up on some dumb Bammer or corndog or the like. Hope the family is doing great! I love everybody you too Todd92! Man, I miss the two of us slamming Bamma folks! That was great times!

        • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

          I’m going to rely heavily on TET this Fall….my schedule will be PACKED! ‘Tis the life of a pre-tenure research academic post-NIH Sequester. Let’s just hope I don’t lose sight of the important stuff, like the Auburn football schedule or my kids’ names (just kidding…mostly).

          The fam is doing great! Thanks for asking. Little ToTM is about to start pre-school. He still calls his aubie tiger, Cocoa :). BUT Cocoa is part of his main ‘crew’ (his words) of 5 stuffed animals. The littlest ToTM is almost 1 (!), and is a healthy big-little dude. Other than being super busy, I really have no complaints. Life is good….although my hair will never be as good as yours ;).