Friday, March 08, 2013
A Capital Conversation with ... The ITB Insider
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it's been quite some time since I've done one of these. I could blame it on the fact that I just don't have as much time as I used to. However, I'd like to think it's because I've been waiting for the perfect next guest for "A Capital Conversation." Suffice to say, I found that guest.
With all due respect to my previous guests, including the incomparable Ann-Cabell Baum Anderson, the ridiculously-creative John Morris, and hilarious Miami ex-pat and NCSU homer (or is he a hater?) Joe Ovies, to name a few, this time around I hit the mother load: Inside the Beltline extraordinaire William Needham Finley IV -- also known as the ITB Insider (@WNFIV on Twitter).
This is essentially the equivalent of Oprah landing the President, or Beyonce. It may even be bigger than that. And that's not hyperbole.
William Needham Finley IV and I met at an undisclosed ITB location to conduct the following interview. Prepare to be amazed. You'll laugh. You'll cry. But mostly you'll just laugh. And probably shake your head a little.
The opinions below are really his own.
Raleigh Philosophical Society (RPS): First of all, what do you prefer to be called? Where did your "name" come from?
William Needham Finley IV (WNFIV): My full name is William Needham Finley IV. If you don’t know the importance of all of those family names, please stop reading this interview and move back to wherever you’re from. As a child, I thought my name was just an audible sigh of disapproval, because that’s how Dad started every conversation with me. I'm most proud of my initials because the higher your Roman numeral, the more ITB you are.
RPS: What generation ITBer are you? Better yet, are you related to Joel Lane, a York or Ira David Wood?
WNFIV: We've been here since the beginning, 1770. So that's eight generations. I’m not related to Joel Lane, thank God. I’m not related to the York family, but I tried to ask Smedes to adopt me the first time Dad and Mom tried to legally disown me, when I was nine. Ira David Wood III was born in Rocky Mount and raised in Enfield, so no, I’m not related to him.
RPS: And what is it that you do exactly?
WNFIV: Work for Dad at a financial services, real estate, insurance empire. I'm not allowed to meet with clients though. So I just take my friends to lunch, expense it, and tell everyone I'm closing deals. Crushing it. Duh dot com.
RPS: What makes "ITB" so darn special?
WNFIV: Knowing that simply being born and raised inside of a road surrounding Raleigh makes you better than others. Being ITB allows us to live in a bubble, detached from what some call "reality." Being able to attend Broughton is also a huge reason ITB is so special.
RPS: Is it really more a state of mind? Or is it really just that freaking awesome?
WNFIV: It’s both. If you ever have to leave, you naturally carry the ITB state of mind with you, which allows you to judge others and look down on them for not being from Raleigh.
RPS: Do any of the ladies in your family NOT have double names? And if so, how has your family dealt with that shame?
WNFIV: No. Everyone has a double name. Some choose to just go by a single middle name, or “Mom”.
RPS: When is your book coming out, and does it have a title?
WNFIV: Within the next two to three months, either my autobiography, titled Saved by the Beltline or my guide to ITB, titled, How To Be ITB: A Guide To Living Your Life Knowing You're Better Than Everyone, will be finished. Seriously. I promise.
After watching Season 5 of Gossip Girl, specifically the episode arc where Dan Humphrey angers everyone close to him after writing a book about his life and the people in it, I had some second thoughts about publishing an ITB book. What would my friends and family think? Then I remembered that my friends and I are friends because we have to be. While we all constantly talk about each other behind our backs and plot to ruin each other's lives, we still have to be friends because we're all ITB. So I can basically say whatever I want about them and they can just deal with it. And my family already hates me, so it's not like I can do more damage.
(Editor's Note: Before asking the next question, WNFIV stopped me and said, "Can you ask me a question that starts like, 'Many consider you to be the voice of a generation...' and then I'll interrupt you and pretend to be humble and say, 'Oh, wow, really? They say that? That's a little much, but go on....' and then you keep asking me whatever question is next?" I told him that we'd just stick with the questions I had.)
RPS: OK, some Inside the Beltline superlatives. Best ITB neighborhood (and why)?
WNFIV: It's a tie between Cameron Park, due to its proximity to Broughton and Cameron Village, and Country Club Hills, due to its proximity to the Club. Second place goes to Five Points, due to its proximity to The Point and Churchill’s.
RPS: Best restaurant?
WNFIV: I'll go with Second Empire because it's what some consider "expensive," which allows me to remain in my ITB bubble, free from commoners, while eating my grilled premium black angus ribeye. There are a lot of other good ITB restaurants, but they haven’t been around long enough and they're always full of insufferable hipsters and "foodies" taking pictures of their food for their 18 followers on Instagram to see.
RPS: Best bar?
WNFIV: Crowley’s. Where everybody knows your name, and doesn’t care that you’re 12 years old.
RPS: Best way to get out of a DWI?
WNFIV: Look at the cop and say, “My name is _______. You know who my Dad is. I’ll be leaving now.” Then drive off.
RPS: Best late-night meal?
WNFIV: Snoopy’s. Hotbox Pizza (because the owners went to Broughton).
RPS: Best elementary school?
RPS: Why, in your mind, is Broughton so much superior to Enloe -- though both are, technically, ITB?
WNFIV: This isn’t something “in my mind.” Broughton is, was, and always will be superior to Enloe. Just being located ITB isn’t enough to put Enloe on our level. Now, if we’re comparing Enloe to OTB schools such as Leesville and Millbrook, then Enloe is obviously our ally. We need them for their guns and their disregard for the law when the ITB vs. OTB war starts.
RPS: Who is the greatest ITB celebrity of all time?
WNFIV: You're interviewing him. No, I'm just kidding. Actually, I'm not. But don't put this part in the interview.
RPS: Greatest athlete?
WNFIV: Pistol Pete is the greatest athlete, but Webb Simpson is the most ITB athlete. Pistol Pete averaged 44.2 points during his college career, WITHOUT a three-point line. (Would've been 57 with it). Pistol Pete did more to change the way the game is played than any other player in the history of the world.
Webb does a better job of representing ITB since golf is a much more ITB sport than basketball. I also commend Webb for not participating in any of these ridiculous "Golf Boys" videos that are making a mockery of the tradition of the game.
Jesse Williams - Two-time Olympic high jumper. 2011 World Champion
Jeremy Shelley - single-handedly won the BCS National Championship for Alabama in 2011. Won another this year.
RPS: And does Webb Simpson even count anymore since he has made his home in Charlotte?
WNFIV: Of course, Webb counts. Have you seen his banner in Broughton’s Holliday gym? Legend.
RPS: Why are The Connells the greatest musicians in the history of mankind and the songwriters that all past and future songwriters should be judged against?
WNFIV: Because they went to Broughton and grew up in Cameron Park.
RPS: David Sedaris. Yea or Nay?
WNFIV: Yea. I'll let it slide that he went to Sanderson, but only because he's sold millions of books.
RPS: What is the quintessential ITB drink of choice?
WNFIV: Liquor, from Dad’s liquor cabinet.
RPS: What is the quintessential ITBer vacation spot? And is it a tad hypocritical to even long for anywhere OTB?
WNFIV: Vacations make coming back ITB even more rewarding. Some acceptable ITB vacation spots are: Atlantic Beach, Wilmington, Lake Gaston, Charleston, Europe, Blowing Rock, and Figure 8. It's also acceptable to go to elite tropical resorts where servants, or "employees," do everything for you.
RPS: What's a more hardcore ITB hobby? Deep sea fishing or trust fund livin'?
WNFIV: Neither are hobbies, they are lifestyles. However, I don't do much deep sea fishing since Dad banned me from his boat when I was six years old because I wore my Reebok Pumps and got marks all over the port or bow or whatever it's called. I never bothered learning boating terms after that.
RPS: OK, let's do some comparisons. Which do you prefer and why: Brooks Brothers or Vineyard Vines?
WNFIV: Brooks Brothers because it was founded almost 200 years ago. Vineyard Vines was founded in 1998, making it the Cary of clothing.
RPS: The Point or Crowleys?
WNFIV: Crowley’s. The Point has been infested with too many commoners lately. Crowley's will always be the heart, or liver I guess, of ITB.
RPS: iPhone or Droid?
WNFIV: iPhone (the newest one).
RPS: Monograms on the back of cars: For it, or agin' it?
WNFIV: I consulted with my ITB panel and got this response "Monograms for cars are awful! Please do not approve that!!! It's like a car tramp stamp." So, I'm against it.
RPS: OK, some quick word association. Say the first thing that comes to your mind ... Cameron Village?
WNFIV: Blackout (RIP Felson's).
RPS: North Hills?
WNFIV: Take Lassiter Mill to get there. I’m working with (sending daily e-mail reminders to) City Councilman Bonner Gaylord to annex North Hills to ITB.
RPS: "The Club?"
WNFIV: Second home. They raised me during the summer because Mom didn't want to deal with me and I never had a babysitter that lasted for more than three days.
RPS: Pete Maravich?
WNFIV: Greatest basketball player of all time .
RPS: John Edwards?
RPS: Red Dragon?
WNFIV: Sunday night, over-the-counter anxiety/hangover cure. Ten minute.
RPS: The Rialto?
WNFIV: Liberal propaganda.
RPS: Peace College?
WNFIV: Mrs. degree, best ITB History professor .
RPS: Meredith College?
WNFIV: Mrs. degree.
RPS: Gov. McCrory?
WNFIV: Go back to Charlotte .
RPS: Clay Aiken?
WNFIV: Second place .
RPS: Scotty McCreery?
WNFIV: Garner, Bojangles.
WNFIV: Murder, crime, violence, danger.
WNFIV: The capital of South Carolina.
RPS: What would you change about ITB?
WNFIV: There are a lot of things that need to be changed. I lay them out in my ITB renovation plan in my book. Example: Turn the Trailwood of Tears and Western Boulevard of Broken Dreams area into an ITB landfill. Displace all of the gel heads and commoners that live in those shanties on Trailwood and move them to Durham. This will make it more difficult for them to access the Gelwood South area, which will force Solas and Mirage to go out of business because no self-respecting ITB resident would set foot in them.
RPS: If you HAD to live somewhere else, where would it be? And why?
WNFIV: I wouldn't. My life would be over. If you put a gun to my head and made me choose, I’d be glad that you had the right to own that gun and put it to my head, then I’d say maybe D.C. because they have a beltline that they call the “beltway.” I’d feel at home at Smith Point with all the bathroom activities and pretentiousness. But like I said, only if you had a gun to my head.
RPS: And, finally, what advice would you say to those of us who were not fortunate enough to have been born into or grow up ITB?
WNFIV: I’m sorry.
RPS: That's all?
WNFIV: Yeah, I'm really sorry.
We want to thank WNFIV for taking time away from The Club to take part in this little discussion. As always, you can follow him on Twitter @WNFIV. Or visit his website at http://www.itbinsider.com/ .
(Image from of the Official Website of the BHS Class of 1968)