I drove across the White River to the used-car lot and walked in midday on Bubba McCoy in the trailer office. He frantically lurched from the lumpy, ragged recliner to grab the remote and punch off the television.
"What were you watching--porn?" I asked.
"Sort of," Bubba said. "It was MSNBC."
He said he likes to watch Katy Tur because her utter contempt for Donald Trump is entertaining.
"I call it 'waiting for the F-word'," he said. "Believe me, I know people. It's my business to know people. And that word has been on the tip of her tongue in regard to Trump since 2016, and it's gonna break free any day now."
I told Bubba I'd driven over partly for a general chat but also to ask the politically timely question of whether he'd ever been in blackface.
"I don't think so, with the possible exception of 1982, which I don't remember on account of being drunk," he said.
The whole year?
"Yeah. My first wife had dumped me. I hadn't yet met the right missus. I can remember some things in '81. And I met the right missus in '83.
"But I got nothin' in-between. I've been told things, but I can't vouch for them. There's no criminal record that I've found, at least domestically."
I told Bubba that I was asking only because of the trouble in Virginia, a key swing state the Democrats are totally blowing.
"It's the Democrats' own fault they've got Donald Trump," he said. "They've gotten to where they claim all this politically correct business, but I'm telling you, there's not anybody who hasn't done something in their life that this liberal base today would consider unforgivable. And you are certainly no exception."
I didn't say I was. Don't start with me. I came in peace.
I agreed with Bubba, telling him that The New York Times had an article the other day calling the announced Democratic presidential candidates a "sorry" lot. It was a play on words for the apologies they were finding it necessary to make for having been alive in the past.
Bubba said the only Democrats who seem genuine are Joe Biden, who is too old, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is too young.
"But I'll tell you what's gonna happen with her. She's gonna get old enough to be president about the time the country gets socialist enough to let her have it.
"Fortunately, I'll be on the big car lot in the sky by then."
I said Bubba's eternal resting place might hinge on what happened in the lost year of 1982.
"I'm countin' on the statute of limitations or the principle of forgiveness. But I'm pretty sure I never said in '82 or any other time that I was a Native American. I mean, seriously. Where do you Democrats get these people?"
I told him I didn't have anything to do with it. I'm no Democrat. I'm a columnist who tells the truth and therefore often resembles a Democrat.
He told me I suffer from the same condition by which Katy Tur mesmerizes him. They call it "Trump Derangement Syndrome."
"All that second-place president stuff you write--you gotta get over that. You've got six more years of this guy. I know Trump's a bad excuse for a person. But the results are decent, and the Democrats aren't gonna beat him with Pocahontases and 80-year-old men and socialists.
"And the Republicans in the Senate aren't gonna convict him. I don't care what he's done or how many times they impeach him.
"You and Katy Tur are both just going to have to reconcile yourselves to the reality that orange is the new normal."
I advised Bubba that he should keep in mind three names--Beto O'Rourke, Sherrod Brown and Amy Klobuchar.
"Beto's got about eight chances in 10 to turn out a flake," he said. "And I never heard of the other two."
That's the genius, I told him. If you've never heard of them, then there's nothing embarrassing that is known about them, although, as I spoke, a story was breaking in Washington that Klobuchar is mean to her staff.
I explained that John Doe would be president if he'd been on the ballot for Democrats instead of Hillary Clinton. The same goes for Jane Doe, let me hasten to add.
"Speaking of that," Bubba said, "I saw that letter in the paper saying you ought to run because you're as clueless as the rest of them."
I told Bubba I'd never been so flattered. I told him I have an obligation to the country to consider it. I suggested that he ought to be my running mate.
"Brummett-McCoy--the B-M America needs," he said. "It might catch on."
I told him maybe we could get booked on Katy Tur.
"Now you're talkin'," he said.
John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at email@example.com. Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.
Editorial on 02/10/2019
Print Headline: JOHN BRUMMETT: Bubba and the missing year