It’s All Relative: Count Bubba and The King

Welcome to Wednesday’s Blue Light Special. Today’s post is a mixed bag.

See, I wanted to talk to you guys about perception, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. The reason I wanted to talk about perception is that I spend a lot of time thinking about it.

I think about how my perception has changed over the years and how it affects the way I think now. I think about how perception influences my likes and dislikes.

The Importance of Perception

The concept of perception plays into the theme of my upcoming novel, Forever Road. I didn’t even realize I was writing about perception until umpteenth draft.

Then, it hit me that we collect baggage as we journey through life. That baggage becomes the lens of our perception. It colors the way we make sense of the world around us. And, if we allow ourselves to grow, it changes with time and perspective.

Here’s my example.

Count Bubba of East Texas

Where I grew up, we had local celebrity of sorts who called himself Count Bubba, Good Buddy of Darkness. Count Bubba’s vampire suit consisted of denim overalls, a cape, and plastic fangs.

In the 1980s, Count Bubba hosted Horror Classics for KTRE-TV on Friday nights after the news. The movies were mostly black and white films from the 30s and 40s. Count Bubba was hysterical.

Here’s one of his performances:

Yes, it’s cheesy. In that first part, he knocked one of his fangs off and just kept right on talking like it never happened.

But to a little East Texas girl who only got one channel on TV, Count Bubba was cool. My husband, who is seven years my senior, also remembers Count Bubba’s Friday nights fondly.

One incident we both remember is the time Count Bubba promised to air Creature From the Black Lagoon in 3-D. All you had to do to enjoy the “3-D” was pick up a pair of special 3-D glasses at the 7-eleven. I will never forget watching Creature From the Black Lagoon while wearing my fancy 3-D glasses from 7-eleven.

Recently, my husband pointed out that the movie was not real, true 3-D.  It wasn’t like what you see at the Imax.

But I pointed out to my husband, at that time and place in our lives and within our realm of experience, that was 3-D.

How Things Change…And Don’t

My childhood enjoyment of Count Bubba’s Friday night antics versus what would entertain me now is a perfect illustration of how perception changes with perspective. Now, I’m a little more aware of what I liked about Count Bubba.

Rather than explaining what that is, I’ll show you something similar that makes me smile now.

Meet Jim “The King” Brown. Here’s his webpage.

Jim performs covers of songs–in Elvis voice–that would surprise you.  Some of his covers include

  • “Come As You Are” (Nirvana)
  • “Whole Lotta Rosie” (AC/DC)
  • “Song to the Siren” (Tim Buckley)
  • “Sweet Home Alabama” (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
  • “Good Vibrations” (The Beach Boys)
  • “Whole Lotta Love” (Led Zeppelin)
  • “Hard to Handle” (The Black Crows)
  • “Suicide Blonde” (INXS)

Check out Jim’s music on Sound Cloud or MySpace. He also has a You Tube Channel, but it does not work in the US.

Jim “The King” Brown is an Irish Elvis impersonator who covers songs by bands like Nirvana and Led Zeppelin. Something about him reminds me of the magic of Count Bubba on Friday nights in East Texas.

That brings me to my awesome sense of the absurd, my love of Southern Gothics, and Flannery O’Connor’s concept of the grotesque. But I’ll talk about all that some other time…after you’ve had some time to digest this bout of weirdness.

The Blue Light Special

This is not so much me selling a product but is more me selling the idea of analyzing perception and perspective.

I’ve always enjoyed Pearl Jam. One of my favorite songs of theirs is “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.” One of the lines in the song says,

“I changed by not changing at all”

I think about that a lot. I like to think I’ve grown and changed over the years, but have I really? Or, though gaining perspective, have I simply learned to distill the elements that shepherd my perception and use that knowledge to refine my tastes and thoughts?


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