By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Southborough – If you'se a man who appreciates keeping it simple, then join the club. More specifically, you can join the Dull Men's Club (DMC), which meets Fridays, 10 to 11 a.m., at the Southborough Senior Center. The only requirement for membership is a good sense of humor.
Chapters of the DMC have quietly opened and closed nationally for many years. But in 2012, the media focused on the chapter in Pembroke. It received coverage on New England Cable News and WBZ-TV, and feature articles in the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal. The buzz got the attention of a few local residents including Bill Harrington, chair of the Southborough Council on Aging.
“Three of us from here went to one of their meetings in Pembroke, which is evidently one of the most
prominent chapters,” Harrington explained. “Their chapter has about 35 guys.”
The Pembroke meetings began over 10 years ago as a bereavement group after two men lost their wives. Soon after the widowers stumbled upon the DMC website, the meetings evolved in a different direction. It's now a meeting place for men to share anything from heartfelt bereavement to wholehearted amusement.
“After we saw what they did in Pembroke, we figured we's try it in here in Southborough,” Harrington said.
The Southborough chapter rang in 2013 with its first meeting in January. About a dozen men attended.
“Since we'se started, about 25 guys have come to meetings,” Harrington said. “Some have come, shook their heads, and then they never came back. And there are other guys who are always waiting for the next Friday to have a cup of coffee and a doughnut, and shoot the breeze.”
Each meeting includes a 50/50 raffle with proceeds going to the local food pantry. Members contribute $1 weekly to a kitty for the Lunch Bunch, which accumulates and pays for an occasional visit to a restaurant for a midday meal together. Like the DMC website, the meetings” agenda is informal: “Share thoughts and experiences about ordinary things.”
“A typical meeting starts with chit-chatting; somehow a subject evolves and we talk about it for a while,” Harrington noted. “Whenever the conversation begins to wind down, then somebody will tell a joke to get things moving again.”
He offered an example: “I like long walks – especially when they'se taken by people who annoy me.”
A common topic of conversation is the members” hobbies. Some meetings have included “show-and-tell,” such as the time members learned about archery from Ernie Richard, better known around town as Ernie the Barber.
“Ernie does competitive archery, and he brought some of his bows and arrows to a meeting,” Harrington said. “Another fellow is into model trains. For one of our meetings, we went to his place and got to see his layout, which is immense. He's got about 2,000 cars and 200 engines. He can's tell his wife how much he spent on this hobby.”
But that member can freely share those confidential details with others in the DMC. New members are always welcomed.
“There are a few guys who don's say a lot at meetings, but they'se the ones who seem to come back every time,” Harrington said. “Several of the guys are widowers who live alone, so this is a chance for them to get out and socialize. Some of them have now become more involved in other activities at the center. If you have something to say, then you'se got an audience here to listen.”