Up & Coming Weekly

January 08, 2019

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1069166

Contents of this Issue


Page 12 of 32

12 UCW JANUARY 9-15, 2019 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Readers of Up & Coming Weekly have likely encountered Pitt Dickey's funny and some- times outlandish biweekly opinion column. He has a knack for combining Greek mythology, random factoids, quotes from old T.V. commer- cials, politics and social com- mentary in a way that leaves readers chuckling and, on occasion, slightly bewildered. Dickey is more than just a funny writer, though. He's an attorney who specializes in advocating for people in need of Social Security disability benefits. He became a partner with Smith, Dickey & Dempster P.A. in 1978 and has been working Social Security disability cases for more than 35 years. "ere's very little funny in disability," he said of his career. "ere are a lot of people that need help." While Dickey likes to poke fun at authority in his column, that strategy connects to a serious ideology. "(Authority bothers me) when it squishes the little people," he said. "e poor and the sick don't have that much of a lobbying ability like big pharma. "Representing people with Social Security dis- ability, basically I'm representing people who the government says are not sick enough to get disabil- ity benefits. "I say they are, and then we have a hearing, and the judge decides for us." In a seeming paradox, Pitt said he knew he wanted to be a law- yer as a child because he wanted to know what the rules were. As an adult, he said, he still believes in the importance of rules. "If we don't follow the rules, then it's whoever's strongest gets to eat the weak people. ese folks I represent in disability cases, they're at the end of their rope. ey have no money, and they have no insurance for the most part, unless they're mili- tary. And I can use the rules to help them." In 1996, Dickey was working both Social Security disability and family law cases, which he described as "the equivalent of being a legal proctologist." He needed an outlet, and he'd taken several English classes as an undergraduate student at the Univer- sity of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in the early '70s. Back to 1996. Dickey ran into Bill Bowman, who had recently become the new owner of Up & Com- ing Weekly, at Haymont Grill. Dickey asked if he could write a column for the paper. Dickey's only foray into published humorous writ- ing at that point was an opinion piece he'd written during his adolescent years at Seventy-First High School. e topic? e lunchroom. e entire edition of that school newspaper was recalled. "You can't poke fun at the school lunchroom," is what he learned. Back again to 1996. "(Bill) said sure, send one in, and I did. And the rest is history. "e column in Up & Coming Weekly allows me to poke at the powers that be. … You can't go out and make people do things, but if you point out that what they're doing is ridiculous, that might in some way change things. Authority doesn't like humor." Ultimately, he said, he also just genuinely enjoys entertaining people. e key to both his writing pro- cess and to understanding his articles, he said, is "the drinking of coffee. en everything makes sense." Since 1998, Dickey has also written a monthly column covering various need-to-know subjects for Social Security disability claimants. It appears online at www.seniormag.com and in several local publications. He's been married for more than 40 years to Lani Dickey, a longtime educator at FTCC who recently retired. "We met on the steps of the institute of government on the first day of law school (at UNC)," he said. "She was a Davidson and I was a Dickey, and we were lined up in alphabetical order. Isn't that beautiful? If she'd been a Smith, who knows?" The man behind the myths: Meet Pitt Dickey by LESLIE PYO PROFILE Pitt Dickey is much more than just a funny writer. LESLIE PYO, Assistant Editor. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcom- ingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. 19 th Annual Toast of the Town Wine, Beer & Spirits TASTING Silent Auction and Thursday, May 2, 2019 6PM to 10PM Cape Fear Botanical Garden 536 N. Eastern Boulevard, Fayetteville, NC 28301 Tickets are $75 per person in advance $100 per person at the door Fore more information, call: 910.485.0555 SAVE THE DATE!

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - January 08, 2019