Monday, August 02, 2010

North, S.C.

One of my great joys as an AP news editor was conversations with the New York general desk about localisms.

For instance, there was the time a New York editor during our coverage of the killing of James Jordan (Michael Jordan's father), told me that the distance from Columbia to McColl on the N.C.-S.C. border where the body was found (about 90 miles as the crow flies and a fair amount more by rural two-lane road) looked to her "like a short cab ride."

But my favorites were sending New York stories with South Carolina's strange datelines: Norway, Denmark, Ninety Six, Due West, etc.

None was funnier than to send the desk a story with the dateline of "North, S.C.," which brought the inevitable call*:

N.Y.: Hi, xxxx on the general desk. About this story. North what ...

Me: Just North.

N.Y.: Yes, but North what?

Me: North. North, South Carolina.

N.Y.: Yes, I know. But North what in South Carolina?

Me. No. Just North. The name of the town is North.

N.Y.: Yes, I understand. But North what?

etc.

(*Any resemblance to the old Abbott and Costello routine is entirely intentional - and real.)

Meanwhile, others on the desk, hearing my side of the call and knowing it was from New York (we'd given the general desk folks a special number so when it rang we knew it was them), were splitting a gut in laughter.

Don't believe me? Check out this You Tube video from the revival of "You Bet Your Life" with Bill Cosby:

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