Democratic Underground

The Lost Island of the Bubbaphobes
January 10, 2002
by birdman

It was back in the days around the start of the new millennium when my friend Jim and I used to sail our boat to interesting and exotic places that we encountered the most bizarre island with the strangest inhabitants that either of us had ever seen.

Although the island looked relatively normal the first thing you noticed about the residents was their perpetual glumness, particularly the males. They rarely smiled and spent much of their time listening to the radio. They never seemed to listen to music, however, and the programs that they preferred featured one male voice usually going on in monologue for some time, but then accepting phone calls from other male voices.

The island natives seemed to enjoy the broadcasts (at least as much as they enjoyed anything - very little seemed to make them happy but they would often nod in agreement while the radio was on.) After a few days I noticed that many of the natives also had computers which they typed into with some regularity but always with the same grimness and ill-temper that they brought to any other task.

It seemed so strange to us that they would have radios and computers but no televisions. When we asked where the TVs were some of the natives became very angry.

"No TV," they said, "TV belong to Bubba."

Bubba. Although I could not determine who Bubba was it was obvious that he occupied almost all the waking moments of the island residents. They didn't want to talk about him and yet I suspected when they were alone they spoke of almost nothing else. They would gather in small groups and you could hear audible mutterings of "Bubba, Bubba, Bubba." When you asked about Bubba they became fearful and mistrustful.

Jim and I tried to reassure them that we were friendly and that Bubba hadn't sent us to the island but it was to no avail.

"Bubba kill," one of them said, "We have list."

And yet I felt that if I were to ever understand the natives I would have to find out who Bubba was and maybe figure out why he had taken the TV sets.

For a while Jim and I assumed that Bubba lived in the hills above the small town that ringed the island. After several days of searching, however, it became quite obvious that nobody at all lived up there, least of all the fearsome Bubba.

A couple of weeks went by and Jim and I had all but despaired of finding out about Bubba and the strange islanders who so hated and feared him. But then the night before we were to leave the island we had a visitor. It was the wife of one of the natives. She said she had to talk to people from the outside world but was afraid that her husband would think she was betraying him to Friends of Bubba. The worst thing an islander could call you was an F.O.B.

"I'm so sick of Bubba. All the time Bubba," she said.

"But who the hell is Bubba?" we asked.

And she told us the strange tale of Bubba.

"Bubba used to be ruler. They hated Bubba here. Year after year they hated Bubba and year and year Bubba stay in power. They all try to get rid of Bubba. They listen to radio, type into computer, nothing work. Many times they think they finally have Bubba but Bubba always win, they always lose. Every month boatload of books come to island - hate Bubba books. They read books- they talk about Bubba - hate Bubba more, go back to radio, wait for more books."

"But where's Bubba now?" I asked.

"Bubba's retired." she sighed.

"He's retired and they're still acting like this. Are they all crazy?"

"All crazy. It's not like this in the rest of the world is it?"

Sadly we had to tell her that it wasn't.

The next day as we prepared to leave there was a huge uproar in the town. Revelers began running through the streets screaming "Bubba fault - Bubba fault!!" Jim grabbed one of the natives as he ran by and asked him what had happened.

"Dick Morris," the man said, "he suck ho toes but he turn on Bubba. He say Bubba no care enough about evildoers." With that he was gone, screaming and partying with the other Bubba-haters.

The native wife who had visited us the night before approached us again. "This happens about once a month," she said. They hear some story on the radio or see it on the computer and run around thinking that they finally got Bubba. A day or so from now they realize nobody cares and they get miserable again. The man who talk to you - that was my husband," she said. "Will you take me with you?"

"Yeah, hop on board," I said, "Let's go, we've got to get away from these losers."

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