Bona Fide Nuts

Dallas’ Bonehead Club revels in a well-deserved reputation for contrariness.

As far as i’m concerned, this is the highlight of the fair,” confesses James McCullough, the security guard at the entrance to the State Fair of Texas. McCullough has just opened the gate to a 1957 vintage fire truck toting about forty or so members and guests of Dallas’ Bonehead Club, who have arrived to shut the fair down before it even begins. “The only thing is,” he says, pausing to scratch his head, “no one ever pays any attention to them.”

This comes as no surprise to the Boneheads, who have been going against the grain of Dallas society for 72 years. The all-male organization was founded in 1919 by some disgruntled business leaders who were fed up with luncheon clubs. As one story goes, after enduring one such assembly, a peeved businessman turned to his colleague and remarked, “I have heard that speech so many times I could recite it.” In an effort to debunk the eager-beaver business mentality, they decided to start a lunch club that had no purpose at all.

Original members were some of Dallas’ most purposeful citizens, including the president of Southern Methodist University, a former mayor, the postmaster, newspapermen, judges, lawyers, and merchants. Early on, the group met every Friday at noon at the Baker Hotel; then they moved to the Adolphus, until its high-toned remodeling in the early eighties. Now Boneheads gather at the Lakewood Country Club, where the small group of mostly retired businessmen do their best to deßate pomposity. Their motto is, “To learn more and more about less and less, until eventually we shall know everything about nothing.” To further that learned end, all members are designated “doctor” and are automatically made vice presidents to prevent anyone

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