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Boneheads of Big D

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By Gene Fowler, Austin
Civic-minded Texans enjoy a wide range of opportunities to join clubs and meet folks with similar interests and goals. One group—the Bonehead Club of Dallas—follows this lofty motto: “To learn more and more about less and less until eventually we shall know everything about nothing.” The Dallas Fire Department describes the Boneheads, who restored an outdated fire truck in 1975 for use in Bonehead functions, as “an exclusive group of grown men dedicated to carrying out harmless exercises of foolishness.”

Organized in 1919 by Joseph J. Taylor, a newspaper editor known for his dry wit, the Bonehead Club has included city leaders and businessmen with a lively sense of humor. Among their activities, Boneheads throw an annual Christmas party on “the 33rd of April” (May 3 to you non-Boneheads). And each fall, club members ride in their fire truck to ceremoniously close the State Fair of Texas the day before it opens. From their topsy-turvy perspective, the Boneheads figure the fair can’t be properly opened until it’s been closed.

The club presents a Bonehead Of The Year Award, though in some years a big enough Bonehead cannot be found. No problem in 1982, when a Hollywood truck driver who had soared to 16,000 feet in a lawn chair attached to 45 weather balloons was honored with the BOTYA (and suffered a hefty fine from the FAA).

Traditionally, Bonehead membership has been limited to 57 (because a major food company boasted 57 kinds of pickles; the club boasts that number of nuts), including a head Bonehead and 56 vice presidents. In 1946, as President Truman was deciding on a running mate for the upcoming election, the Boneheads sent him a telegram, which Truman shared at a news conference. It read: “With total membership of 57, this organization has 56 vice presidents. They are hereby tendered to you to solve the matter of Presidential succession for all time. When necessary to act as a hoard, meetings can be held at the branch White House at Truman, Tex. [Signed,] The Bonehead Club of Dallas.”

Read 3548 times Last modified on Friday, 13 July 2012 13:06

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