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Bubba McCoy was startled from a nap when I walked into his trailer office at the car lot.

He convulsed from a deep descent into the ragged recliner, and he snorted.

He said he hadn't been asleep. I said I'd just heard him snort. He said I must have been dreaming. I said, no, he was the one more apt to have just been dreaming.

Bubba said he knew I was coming and had been expecting me. I asked how he could have known considering that I hadn't known until a few hours before.

He said I always come over on the week before Labor Day. He said it's because I have to produce an extra column, for the ensuing Tuesday, on account of being off Monday.

I said that wasn't it at all--that, instead, Labor Day weekend provided the optimum occasion to avail myself of his rural wisdom, since it was the opening of the Razorback football season and the traditional kickoff of the general election campaign season.

He said it's only campaign season every other year. I was momentarily stymied.

I gathered that Bubba was sufficiently conscious to take a question and I asked him to assess Donald Trump.

"Same old, same old," he said. "I got up the other morning and he was refusing to fly the flag at half-staff for McCain, and then he was doing a trade deal with Mexico that was probably going to bully Canada into going along, and that was sending the stock market up a couple of hundred points, which I could sure enough use right now because the pickups ain't movin' for some reason."

What, pray tell, did Bubba believe to be the meaning of the events he had juxtaposed?

"It's that Trump's a sorry excuse for a human but a pretty good president.

"I know you don't want to hear that second part."

To the contrary, I told him I only wanted to hear the truth according to Bubba, because I valued it. In that vein, I wondered if he thought Trump would get re-elected.

"He might, and he might not."

Really? That's all he had?

"No, I also got this: It don't matter whether he wins or loses. The country's gonna run itself through the usual cycles, up and down and in-between. And, either way, I'm going to sit here every afternoon switching this remote from CNN to Fox to ESPN and waitin' on somebody to walk in needing a used car."

And napping.

"No sir. One more time: I was not asleep. I heard everything Wolf Blitzer was sayin' right up 'til the time you didn't bother knockin'."

I said I wondered how he could hear Wolf Blitzer when the TV was set to ESPN. Bubba was momentarily stymied.

But about the Razorbacks and this new Chad Morris era: Was Bubba headed to Fayetteville for the weekend?

"Are you kidding? It'd be about as easy for me to drive to a Penn State game."

So, he now attends only the lone Little Rock game?

"I'm done with that, too. I don't want to get shot. Or trampled. Either one."

Here was Bubba's Razorback football assessment, refined over seven decades of fanhood: "Arkansas is going to go 4-8 or 8-5 or something in between, this year and every year. That's just its permanent range in the modern college football world--second-tier, never pushing to first tier, sometimes falling to third tier.

"It's because they don't get the tip-top recruits. When you line up against Alabama and Auburn and Georgia and them, their receivers will be a little taller and faster than your defenders, and that ain't good. And their defensive linemen will be a lot faster and a little stronger than your offensive linemen, and that's real bad for your quarterback.

"The coach don't matter. Some years he'll go 8-5 and we'll give him a raise and a fat buyout clause we'll regret the next year when he goes 4-8.

"The best thing would be to go 6-6 every year. That'll get us a road trip over the holidays to Memphis or Shreveport, which is all we really require anymore."

I wondered why Bubba put the optimum record at 8-5, never 9-4.

"It's because 8-4 is the best we can ever do in the regular season, and that'll get us a good bowl game against a good team, and we'll get the wrong idea that we're good, and we'll lose the bowl game.

"Now, if we go 7-5, we'll get a lamer bowl game with a weaker opponent and we'll have a little something to prove, and we'll win that."

I told Bubba I believed he had achieved profound insight on UA football.

"On Trump, too," he said.

What was it sleepy Bubba had said? That Trump was a horrible excuse for a human but a pretty effective president?

I'm doubting that's possible in the final analysis.


John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.

Editorial on 09/02/2018

Print Headline: Bubba holds forth

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