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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Legend Of Bub Kucharuk - And, Delivering The Jack Of Spades

BK, who I met in college, was the most unlikely of superhero characters. A simple guy from nowheresville Ohio - thrown in with mainly the smart ass folks from the Cleveland suburbs - at OU in the fall of 1970. The university itself, just re-opening after the spring riots shut it for good, - after the Kent State shootings in the spring. The whole lot of us - all freshmen - were tossed together as the folks who wanted to live in the all freshman dorm - while skating on our student deferment. And, except for our RA's - we all started equal. 

Equally non-hip that was,  as the first question put to the group of us by our dorm RA was `who has gotten high' - and only 3 or 4 of 29 raised their hands. By the spring of that next year - that figure had changed, to 27/29 - and the high times were upon us all; and, the escalation of the partying in the 1970's was at hand. By fall of 71, his name was widely known as Bub, and he was already seemingly in a different category from everyone else when it came to `the party' side of things.  Why BUB and not his real name? 

The BUB was his acquisition of the nickname within the opening weeks at OU by a future mayor in Ohio - who mocked his own pronunciation of his name. The future mayor would say -- in a mocking tone after speaking with Bub - "my name is BUB KuCHARuk, my name is BUB KuCHARuk". Somehow, it stuck as everyone grasped at remembering names in the opening weeks of college. And, somehow, Bub's coke thick lenses of glasses, and being a bit portly,  gave him an aurora that fit the name even more aptly - almost, but not quite, a goofy Mr. Magoo type character.

But, Bub was hardly bumbling - and slowly was building a growing legend worthy of the old rum running crowd of days gone by. Running, in succession, a series of the ultimate party houses in a university town KNOWN for being an ultimate party school. Literally being partially responsible - and, as he said at one point - `I'm gonna have this whole town coughing' - while smiling with pride. And, for several years, coughing with blurry red eyes became the calling card of many a young man waking to the scent and flavor of imported smoke from South America. Indeed, the reach of Bub by these long gone days was well outside just the tentacles of Athens O.

By then, the legendary stories were already a ripe bunch. Including the balls the size of grapefruits when simply bringing carry-on's stuffed with party material was the methodology in the simple `before the demand' days. But, the demand for Bub's legend and legendary product would only grow in leaps and bounds - and suitcases onto jet liners would hardly do - as the legend needed to grow beyond the Athens county boundary.

There would be stories of Playboy playmate BJ's upon arrival at the opulent Florida center - before the long run back to feed the students demands. Talks and stories of sailboats and secret offload strategies - with stories of a growing fleet. During this time - the ultimate party man filled his shoes mightily - with legends of reimbursement to those that would `walk him around' when things got too close to the edge of life.  Everything above done while gathering a diploma from the University; and before gathering a persona non grata declaration from the city - for unrelated matters - even while the city thought they knew elsewise. (As the authorities searched for a mysterious legend called bubinisy - details as to why not included - and will remain a mystery to others.) The persona-non-grata tag only enhanced the legend.

With the court order in hand, the whole party moved elsewhere, and became more reclusive and exclusive. But, nonetheless, the legend was well into full swing with excesses beyond anything reasonable; including garbage bags of greenbacks and more. And, indoor bales of hay to the ceiling - before it began to all crash downward.

Then, and forever after, the only legendary highlights came from what could be read in the newspapers, - of the war with the new rum-runners - and a lifestyle that involved duplicate luxury cars, authorities breaking in doors, and erratic driving on interstates - with denials of knowledge of valuables on board. .......... Before his disappearance - and what was assumed, for decades,  to be perhaps an early ending.

But, that was not the exact case - despite a very long multi decade disappearance suggestive of an underground reason - outed only when the internet provided a new touch-base of information placement.

Well, it turned out that indeed, since his end was before being 60 years of age - that his was an early ending. But, not that early; and from what can be gathered via the news accounts, - not without a final twist to the story...... It turned out that Bub was a shop owner in a town similar to and not too far from Athens, O. It seemed the legend had become the towns headshop owner; and BUB,  - was targeted, perhaps, for one final fall - and, that targeting perhaps attributed to his ultimate demise. The legend of Bub had finally passed - most of his stories not retold or even known. Such as the ultimate wacky party at 40 Moore which explored the slippery slope of stonedness. 

Now, a few years has passed - his family with NO contact with anyone who knew of Bub's glory days of legend - stories that will probably never be told again except for this one final time. And the story is delivered today for only one reason .................................... - while playing a game of Texas Hold'em (Bub loved a good card game of guts) - this author flopped a four card, both ends open, straight flush possibility on the first hand of a recent tournament - in the 25 seconds or so between cards and bets - the holder of the 7-8-9-10 of spades, myself, - turned to the ethereal and beckoned the spirit of Bub to `deliver' on the NEXT card, to show that he was still bringing fulfillment to his legion of fans; and the - Jack of Spades - was the next card.

Of course, the names and labels of this story have been slightly changed to protect the innocent - and perhaps the story is just a legend, - the legend of Bub. 
================
(BTW, the next two hands in the Texas Hold'em tournament even more fulfilled the presence of Bub - but, that is another story.)
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