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National Editorials & Columns

Sir Ramblin’ Man at your service

I expect to be known as Sir Ramblin’ Man from now on as I was knighted tonight in an honorary ceremony at the coffee shop. The Coffee Shop Knights are one of those secret society slash fraternities that are big on pomp and short on circumstance. I will probably be kicked out since the whole thing is a big secret which I have now revealed.

I would tell you more about it but I don’t really know anything about it. Plus, as I said, it’s all very secretive and everything is coded. The coffee shop isn’t really a coffee shop, and knights aren’t really knights.

But there was a ceremony, a hazing period and plenty of clinking of glasses. I didn’t do anything to earn my title as a knight, and I doubt that I will do anything in the future to earn retention. I just happened to be there when the knights met, so they either had to kick me out or make me a member.

Stealing a line from Groucho Marx, I told them I didn’t want to be in a club that would have me as a member. They elected me, anyway.

I think there is a secret handshake but I haven’t learned it yet. It’s so secret that nobody knows it. There also are secret symbols, jewelry, clothing and other adornments that identify one knight to another, but it seems kinda pointless since there’s only a handful of us in the group and we all know each other.

It’s a local group, so it’s not like the Masons where you can flash your secret symbols and be recognized by other Masons across the country. It is an extremely exclusive group, which I disdain but I didn’t want to appear ungrateful.

There are a lot of rules, which I suppose I’ll learn as I go, but the main one is that only knights can attend knight functions.

I guess I’ll have to get a little snobbier if I’m going to fit in. I hope I don’t have to change my hairstyle or something. You know how these secret groups are. They’re all about loyalty and control; you know, the things I like to rail against. I would feel much better about defying my own principles if membership came with an armor suit and a sword.

But, winter is coming on and membership gives me a place where I can go at night and smoke a cigar, er, I mean sip a cup of coffee. Being a private club, we can keep out the riffraff, which normally means me. I reckon every group like this needs its token charity member, which explains my induction.

I realize this whole account has been rather cryptic and disjointed, but I’m just trying to skirt the edges of what is acceptable in accordance with the precepts governing the knights. Plus, it’s late and half my brain is asleep already. In my defense again, we call this column “Ramblin’ Man,” not “Articulate Man.”

I wonder if they’ll let me bring my own sword.

• David Porter can be reached at

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